Son Cubano is one of the most popular musical styles in Cuba, and Kiki Valera is one of its foremost exponents. Over the last century, this style of traditional Cuban music has contributed to many other genres of music including Jazz, Cha Cha Cha, Mambo, Salsa, Songo and Timba. Son Cubano is the music that made the Buena Vista Social Club worldwide stars in the late 1990s, but Kiki Valera comes from a family of musicians whose involvement with Son Cubano pre-dates the BVSC by decades.
Kiki Valera is the oldest son of the famous La Familia Valera Miranda, a multi-generational traditional music group from Santiago de Cuba. Since the 19th century, La Familia Valera Miranda has played a significant role in Cuban culture by collecting and preserving the deep-rooted traditions of the legendary Sierra Maestra mountain region. Their debut album, ANTOLOGÍA INTEGRAL DEL SON, released in 1982, helped initiate the explosion of interest in traditional Cuban music.
Like most of his family, Kiki is a virtuoso. A multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, sound engineer and producer, he’s best known as one of the world’s greatest players of the Cuban Cuatro, a mid-size guitar with 8 strings grouped in sets of two.
Kiki picked up the Cuban tres under the guidance of his father Felix when he was a child. He later attended one of the most prestigious music schools in Cuba, the Conservatorio Esteban Salas, in Santiago de Cuba. By age 15 was touring internationally.
During his years as an electronic engineering student, Kiki co-founded the Cuban group Septeto Turquino. In the early 90s, he played Cuatro & keyboards in the popular orchestra Los Karachi. By the mid-90s, Kiki was busy recording and touring with La Familia Valera Miranda across Europe and the rest of the world.
Kiki continues to direct, compose, arrange and perform internationally. He also performs and teaches in Seattle, Washington where he contributes to the vibrant music scene of the Pacific Northwest. His current project features several other internationally acclaimed recording artists including Coco Freeman (former lead singer of Adalberto Alvarez y su Son and NG La Banda), vocalist Carlos Cascante (3-time Grammy® Award winning vocalist of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra), trompetista Alexis Baró (Cubanismo and Omara Portuondo) and bongocero Pedro Vargas (Barbarito Torres band).