Music has always been deeply rooted in his life. From the age of 5, his involvement in his already musical family was evident. Influences ranging from Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Air Supply to Jose Jose, Nat King Cole only scratched the surface to his ever expanding quest for musical knowledge and history. In 1994, Armando teamed up with 11 time Grammy® winner, mentor and Santana percussionist Karl Perazzo to form the award winning renowned salsa band Avance. Armando’s work and experience has had him take on different projects; working with and collaborating with the likes of Sheila E, Carlos Santana, George Benson, Al Jerreau, Tony Lindsay, WAR, Luis Miguel, and Prince Royce.
In 2012, Armando took part in the recording and production of the Pacific Mambo Orchestra (PMO). Pleasantly surprised, the album won the 2013 Grammy® for Best Tropical Album beating out the likes of Marc Anthony and Carlos Vives. Armando officially joined PMO in 2014 as lead singer of the group. Through it all, being a father and husband remained constant, with the Grammy® win fueling the inspiration and drive to what would eventually be the makings of his first solo project. 10 years in the making, the project named CORDOBA will finally be making its debut! Fusing rock, pop, and R&B while injecting the tropical rhythms of vallenato, salsa, and reggae.
Christelle Durandy fuses Afro-Caribbean, jazz and other polyrhythmic sounds in a provocative exploration of the African diaspora’s diffuse and powerful musical energy – a multicultural complexity Christelle herself embodies, having been raised in France by a mother from Reunion Island and a father from Guadeloupe.
Christelle currently fronts her Afro-Caribbean ensemble Sanktet (a play on the French phrase “cinq têtes” or “five heads”) as well as the Grammy-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra. She contributes her talents as writer, arranger and performer to the all-female World-Latin music collective Cocomama. Her vocals have been featured on diverse projects with such luminaries as John Santos, Paula West, George Mesterhaze, Jon Faddis, Pedrito Martinez, Baptiste Trotignon, Toshi Reagon, Allison Miller, Luis Enrique, Paul Carlon Octet, LaFrae Sci, Camille Thurman, Edward Perez, Ran Blake, John Benitez, Max Pollak RumbaTap, Ricky Ford and Ze Big Band, La India, Camille A. Brown, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Meklit Hadero, Carlos “El Bola” Betancourt, and Millicent Jhonnie.
Ranging joyfully amongst forms as varied as Cuban son to Haitian kompa to traditional jazz, Christelle’s border-transcendent music is rooted in the diversity of her ethnic background. She began performing at the age of five, joining the family band as it toured France: her father sang and played percussion, specializing in Gwo Ka, the traditional music of Guadeloupe, while her mother introduced her to jazz, along with the music and activism of the broader African diaspora. Under her parents’ guidance, Christelle began developing the sophisticated musical skills that she later honed during her apprenticeship in Europe, Cuba, and the U.S.
Christelle draws upon this extensive education to connect with a variety of audiences, traditions and social issues. Her work explores and deepens a global conversation, moving fluently from the intricate clauses of contemporary jazz to the simplest, sincerest phrases of folk. This musical rigor, combined with her powerhouse vocals and fiercely passionate live performances, has garnered Christelle consistent critical praise whilst mesmerizing audiences worldwide.
Born in Peru Braulio Barrera started playing Peruvian folkloric music at age 5 on the Cajon, claves, bell Congas and Bongo. Once mastering the streets of Peru, he moved to L.A. to play with Chino Espinoza, Tabaco Eron, among many others in the Salsa scene. He’s been on endless recording playing percussion and as lead vocals.
Currently, Braulio plays with Pacific Mambo Orchestra and Montuno Swing weekly. You can hear Braulios percussion and Lead Vocals on a brand New Track by Montuno Swing written and Produced by Christian Tumalan: Renta de Tula.