Salsa Escrita, the Salsa Column of Barquisimeto presents Henry Valladares

Salsa Escrita, the Salsa Column of Barquisimeto presents Henry Valladares

Henry Valladares is a brilliant, versatile and disciplined Venezuelan percussionist.

Our special guest this week is Henry Valladares, a brilliant, versatile and disciplined percussionist, born on October 22nd in Barquisimeto, Lara State, to a mother from Caracas and a father from Yaracuy.

Salsa Escrita, the Salsa Column of Barquisimeto presents Henry Valladares

Welcome Henry to Salsa Escrita and International Salsa Magazine, we would like to know how were your musical beginnings? Thank you Professor Carlos for your invitation to his read column.

My interest in music began at the age of 6 years old. From a very young age I listened to the salsa albums of the artists Héctor Lavoe, Willy Colón, Rubén Blades, Gran Combo, Sonora Ponceña and all those acetate albums of the moment that came from Caracas, thanks to my mother’s acquisition of them and in particular the album of José Mangual Jr. (Tribute to Chano Pozo) where at the end of the album there were some tracks where they taught the basic rhythms of salsa percussion (conga Milton Cardona, timbal Jimmy Sabater and the José Mangual Jr. bongo). That would be my first influence on percussion.

Salsa Escrita, the Salsa Column of Barquisimeto presents Henry Valladares

I remember that in those years there was a church very close to my house and I would listen to the drums and bagpipe drums and I wanted to play and I built my own drum, I did it with a paint keg and I stretched a piece of plastic with wicker thread (that was my first instrument hahaha).

Salsa Escrita, the Salsa Column of Barquisimeto presents Henry Valladares

Very good teacher Valladares and at what age do you start to acquire musical knowledge in a formal way? At the age of 8 I began my first percussion classes formally taught at the CEPAS cultural center in San Jacinto, with Professor Francisco Escalona on congas and for bongo with Professor Walter Yaguas. Later on I received training at the BIGOTT foundation (Afro-Venezuelan percussion) in the city of Caracas with Professor Jesús Paiva and music and rhythmic reading classes with Professor Jesús Blanco (Totoño), as well as different workshops and courses.

Salsa Escrita, the Salsa Column of Barquisimeto presents Henry Valladares

I remember one in particular dictated by the Caracas percussionist Wílmer Albornoz and the percussionist Pausides Jiménez, from Barquisimeto. I learned a lot there and at the Vicente Emilio Sojo Music Conservatory in Barquisimeto with professor Tonny González, without forgetting the videos that were made for the years 1996, 1997 and 1998 by the teachers Giovanni Hidalgo and José Luis Quintana (Changuito), who raised my level of knowledge in the conga, timbal and bongo.

A great part of the formation of a percussionist is by own investigation and the formation is never lost is continued learning every day. In what year do you begin to play at orchestral level? Professor Carlos, in 1994 I began to play at night with regional groups, playing in groups such as Orquesta la Playa, Nino y su orquesta, Orquesta Líder and with many of the city’s dance groups.

Salsa Escrita, the Salsa Column of Barquisimeto presents Henry Valladares

Have you accompanied national artists? Yes, my friend Colmenárez, I have accompanied artists such as Billo Caracas Boys, Wladimir Lozano, Néstor Rivero (former teenagers), Betsy Núñez (bolero player), Eli Méndez, Rafa Galindo, Verónica Rey, Memo Morales, Édgar Rodríguez (El Abuelo), Wílmer Lozano, Rodrigo Mendoza, Benjamín Rausseo (Conde del Guacharo), Fabián Santa María, among others.

Have you recorded? I have recorded in different musical productions and artists of different genres. From 2003 to date I am a percussionist and assistant to the musical direction of the Latinocaribbean Orchestra, belonging to the Maestro Antonio Carrillo Concert Band, a heritage of the state of Lara (135 years of its founding) making presentations in theaters and different places inside and outside the city.

I continue to study Afro-Caribbean instruments and give classes in person and online, also giving workshops.

In 2019 I celebrated my 25 year musical career with a very special workshop at the Barquisimeto Music Conservatory.

Henry, what are your next goals? To finish forming my Latin jazz group. Well Henry Valladares, for us it was an immense pleasure to have you in our salsa column praising your dedication and discipline in the Afro-Caribbean genre in the percussive part.

And on behalf of International Salsa Magazine, we congratulate you for your performance representing Barquisimeto. Thank you very much Professor Carlos for the invitation to live the percussion and continue supporting the musicians of Barquisimeto and all over Venezuela. What are your social networks? Email:; Facebook: Henry Valladares and Instagram: @valladarespercusion.

Salsa Events: (02-09-1958) Carlos Enrique Estremera Colón “El Cano Estremera”, “El Dueño del Soneo”, “El Embajador de Barrio Obrero”, a virtuoso sonero with outstanding performances with “La Mulenze”, “La Orquesta de Bobby Valentín”, “Unisex Band” and his own orchestra, was born in Barrio Obrero, Puerto Rico. (02-09-2003) dies in the Bronx, USA, Néstor Sánchez “El Albino Divino”, “Maestro de Soneros”. Excellent sonero who worked, among others, with “Orquesta la Protesta”, “El Conjunto Candela”, “Orquesta Harlow”, “Orquesta de Tito Puente” and “Orquesta de Bobby Valentín”. (05-09-1946) Pedro María Torcatt “Perucho Torcatt” was born in Carúpano, Venezuela. Extraordinary sonero and composer of the 60’s and early 70’s; Torcatt, made a career with “Los Dementes” of the maestro Ray Pérez and was our 1st national sonero for export.

Did you know: At first, what we call salsa today began as an everyday musical expression within the Latin neighborhoods of NY. It emerged during the first decades of the 20th century, at the end of the 1960s it began to be industrialized, and after that the name of salsa began to be used to recognize this particular metric that was, to a large extent, developed by Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians within New York City. And what is salsa made of? A fusion of Caribbean rhythms, such as: charanga, pachanga, mambo, cha, cha, jazz, among others.

Salsa lexicon: “Acere (asere)”: friend, partner. “Aché”: luck, good energy, good star, referring to wishing you success is said to have a lot of aché. “Ajiaco”: it is a kind of soup made with several types of food, meats and vegetables. Today it is known as “caldosa”. “Ajumarse”: to get drunk. Ajumao”, drunk and intoxicated: ajuma.

Radio: Program “Al Ritmo de la Salsa Escrita”, with Carlos Colmenárez and Alicio Silva by Gerencia 91.7 FM, Saturdays and Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m. Program “Por la Maceta Internacional” with Augusto Felibertt, through, Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m. Program “Archivo Caribeño”, with Gherson Maldonado, through Salsa Caribe 102.3 FM, Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m.

See you next time and let’s keep salting!