Ignacio Nachito Herrera and I visited on The DM Zone before his most recent Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) performance. It was a lively discussion ranging from music to politics. And, it includes a private sampling and explanation of his newest project. The unique MIM concert was only Nachito Herrera, the piano … and simply wonderful.
Herrera stunned Cuban audiences at the age of twelve when he performed Rachmaninoff’s Concerto no. 2 with the Havana Symphony Orchestra. Widely considered a child prodigy, at 15, Rubén González (of Buena Vista Social Club and Afro-Cuban All Stars fame) took Herrera under his wing to teach him traditional Cuban styles.
When I asked Nachito Herrera about his Rachmaninoff performance, he explained that in Cuba, the government programs always began musical teaching with the classics. Learning the classics before moving on to other styles was a point we both agreed upon, as my dancing background began with ballet and my singing career with opera.
When asked about the news of Cuba, Herrera enthusiastically agrees with the decision to ‘normalize’ relations with the United States. But mostly, we discussed his latest project. It is a new CD taking the classics say a piece by Bach or Beethoven and moving it through his stylized use of the rhythms and beat of Cuban music.
Watch the video as he played for The DM Zone, a sample of this melding of classics and “Nachito” Cuban Magic!
Later that evening, listening to Nachito Herrera’s performance for the MIM audience, I had to agree with Tom Surrowicz, Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), whom I quoted during the interview. Nachito Herrera is “Explosive. Crowd pleasing. Rhythmically intense. Romantic. Dynamic. Jaw-droppingly good.” See if you don’t agree too!