The Venezuelan recording artist, Valentino Thompson was born in Caracas, into a well traveled Caribbean family which speaks French, English and Spanish. As a young boy living in Grenada during the troubled times, in 1979 Valentino witnessed the ugly coup de tete and subsequent overthrow of the socialist Prime Minister. With the small country devolving into disarray the Thompsons fled the Caribbean for the safer streets of New York City.
As a boy in the Bronx Valentino’s ears were wide open to the pioneers of hip hop working out this new sound on street corners just blocks away from the big light from the golden age of salsa, led by a host of unique, once in a lifetime geniuses singing in the small clubs, halls and bars near his family’s apartment. Valentino’s boyhood was filled with graffiti, break dancing, bell bottom pants, afros and specially the Fania All-Stars, Cheo Feliciano, Tito Hector, Lavoe Bridge, Adalberto Santiago, Pete Conde Rodriguez, and Jose Bello. During this formative time Valentino was able to synthesize the many sights and sounds in the epicenter of New York City’s urban movement with the traditional rhythms and cultures he’d been suckled on byway of his family travels up and down and around the seldom seen parts of the Caribbean, North, South, and Central Americas. These days, Valentino distinguishes this unusual upbringing for his fluid free flow between the seemingly dissimilar genres of salsa, hip-hop and reggae one finds in his driving, ecclectic music.
Though a music fan forever, like a lotta folks, Valentino never tried to sing outside the shower, but one day, miraculously, almost without realizing, he’d suddenly found, he’d spent a whole hot afternoon rehearsing Company, a Caracas reggae band. After only five days of preparation in his family home of Zion, Valentino was up on stage recording a live album in front of thousands.
Valentino has his ear to the ground for all the twists of the drum scenes and turns of the traditional culture round the little explored sonic scene of Venezuela. With firm family roots in his native country, Valentino has been back living in Venezuela since 1996 rolling round nationally and internationally recording and performing.