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.
Leo Jesus got his start in popular music in 1990, at the age of eight in the carnaval bloco Come Lixo, based in the Saúde neighborhood in Salvador’s historical center. He has since trained as a percussionist at the Eletrocooperativa institute, the music school of the Federal University of Bahia and the Núcleo Moderno de Música. He has worked as a musician and educator in institutions such as the Fundação da criança e adolescente da Bahia (Bahian Foundation for children and adolescents), Quintaçi, Centro Projeto Axé, Caps Nzinga and Companhia do Sesc. In over ten years of experience in making music for Brazilian dance, Leo has worked with various choreographers such as Joaquim Lino, Lia Robatto, Mestre King, Vera Passos, Clyde Morgan, Rosangela Silvestre, Deni Neves e Zebrinha. He has worked with numerous artists and bands including Mariella Santiago, A Tapa Orquestra de Pandeiros e Quarteto Afro Jazz do maestro Bira Marques and Clecia Queiroz among others. In 2010 he received first place in the public competition at Fundação Cultural do Estado da Bahia (FUNCEB). At present Leo develops musical works for dance and theater in addition to teaching percussion classes.
Teve início na música popular no ano de 1990, aos oito anos de idade no bloco carnavalesco Come Lixo, situado no bairro da Saúde centro histórico de Salvador. O músico percussionista traz em sua formação o instituto Eletrocooperativa, Escola de música da Universidade Federal da Bahia e Núcleo Moderno de Música. Atuou como músico e arte educador em instituições a exemplo da Fundação da criança e adolescente da Bahia, Quintaçi, Centro Projeto Axé, Caps Nzinga e Companhia do Sesc. Com mais de dez anos de experiência em música focada para dança brasileria o músico trabalhou com diversos coreógrafos ao exemplo de: Joaquim Lino, Lia Robatto, Mestre King, Vera Passos, Clyde Morgan, Rosangela Silvestre, Deni Neves e Zebrinha. Participou do cenário musical com artistas e bandas a exemplo de: Mariella Santiago, A Tapa Orquestra de Pandeiros e Quarteto Afro Jazz do maestro Bira Marques, Clecia Queiroz, entre outros. No ano de 2010 foi o primeiro colocado no concurso público da Fundação Cultural do Estado da Bahia. Atualmente o músico desenvolve trilhas musicais para dança e teatro além de ministrar aulas de percussão.