In a Mexican groove | Sunday Observer

In a Mexican groove

Roberto Blanco.  Pic Ranjith Asanka
Roberto Blanco. Pic Ranjith Asanka

In town and making piano grooves is the interesting pianist Roberto Blanco who hails from Mexico City and is currently at Musicmatters, passing his knowledge on to the training of staff and holding workshops too, for their benefit.

Today musicians from Panama, Cuba and Mexico enjoy popularity in the global music industry and Roberto Blanco we hope will be on that same platform one day giving music lovers a permanent taste of his piano artistry.

This is the first time a pianist from Mexico is with us here in Sri Lanka, so how come you turned out to be a pianist and not a saxophonist or a percussionist?

“I learnt to play the piano from my mother. She was a classical music pianist. My father played the trumpet and he played for a long time in an orchestra. I learnt to play the drums, the violin and trumpet when I was young. But it was the piano that held my interest. My sister she is the violinist in the family. Our Dad made me study classical piano from Nadia Stankovich, a classical music teacher from Serbia and jazz from Antonio Bravo a professor in music in Mexico.”

You have acquired an elegant way of communicating your music to the audience who were your influences?

“In piano it was Bobby Timmons while I was influenced by Larry Young and his organ artistry.

Of course there were a string of other influences like Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Lennie Tristano, Dave McKenna and Sun Ra. But the need for formal study in music made me enroll myself at the University of Arts and Sciences of Chiapas and I passed out as a Professor. I worked for five years and through Brian Allen the trombonist, I was introduced to Sumudi Sureweera and here I am in Sri Lanka. As I told you earlier I am for a short time attached to Musicmatters, teaching staff. Sri Lankans have a natural disposition towards music. But however I have told them that you learn more by listening to other musicians especially those who have earned a name for themselves.”

When you get back to Mexico City, quite naturally you will be involved with music. What will it be?

“I will be performing at nightclubs and festivals and I’m looking forward to it.”

In the meantime Roberto has released two CDs which prove his piano artistry as exciting. The first is a Trio performance of Blanch (Roberto) on piano, Cupich on bass and Nandayapa – drums. Five of the tracks were composed by Roberto. They are Ballad, Herb, Psylimbo and Se hiza la sueca. They are extended compositions yet his skill and dexterity cannot be denied. The jazz tune “You and the Night and the Music” is also included on the CD. The other CD titled Jazz sur Plays Monk and features Roberto Blanco on organ. The CDs are worth a listen.

Here’s wishing you Roberto the best in music for the future.