In Yoruba culture, Bakuleye is a magic wand that awakens a deity living under the Earth. As the band's creator and leader, Pedro Pablo Vargas says, "Bakuleye is the awakening of new ideas."
Perez Vargas was born in Santiago de Cuba on June 29, 1962, and is a descendent of the famous Cuban master Miguel Matamoros. His father, guitarist and composer Fernando Perez Griñan, along with his grandfather, Pastor Vargas Matamoros, were founders of the trova Santiaguera. During his youth, Pedro Pablo had many musical influences, such as the nueva trova, merengue, son montuno and guaracha. He was familiar with some of the best Cuban bands and their leaders, including NG La Banda and Jose Luis Cortes, Oriente Lopez and Afrocuba, and Juan Formell and Los Van Van.
In his first musical stints, Pedro Pablo worked as a sound engineer for the Raul Gomez and Mayra Caridad Valdez orchestras. Later, without leaving his work as an engineer, Miriam Bayard and Habanason offered him the opportunity to dance in their show, and Hector Treyes asked him to play percussion in his group. He toured with these groups to Peru, English Guyana, Central America, Mexico, Spain, and France.
Pedro Pablo has a special virtue, a sort of "hidden talent" as a composer of his own songs. Two of his songs have been recorded by other groups: "La Mala Hierba" by Tamayoy Tu Salsa AM and "El Panadero" by the French band Sabroson. When he was visiting Toulouse, a distinguished Frenchman heard his songs, and he was so impressed that he wondered why Pedro didn't have his own band to play his own music. When Pedro Pablo returned to Cuba, he was very excited with the idea of creating a band and he began to look for the key members. His dream came true when he found the fabulous pianist and arranger Ignacio Herrera, known as "Nachito." The newly formed group, Bakuleye was born in Havana at the Circulo Social Camilo Cienfuegos, on December 4, 1996, when they shared the stage with David Calzado and his Charanga Habanera.
Since then, in their short professional career, Bakuleye has performed in the most important dance halls of Cuba. Bakuleye has also shared the stage with such prestigious bands as Jose Luis Cortes and NG La Banda, Paulo F.G. and Bamboleo. As one of the most promising groups from Cuba, Bakuleye has received favorable press and television coverage. The Cuban music magazine Tropicana International has mentioned Bakuleye as one of the most successful groups. Bakuleye's participation in such programs as Rompiendo La Rutina and Mi Salsa has helped significantly in the promotion of their image and of their song Hazme Sentir.
The music of Bakuleye is a fusion of different musical rhythms such as Latin Jazz, boleros, ballads, bachata, and especially salsa. All these styles make this group an original and unique band. Bakuleye really is a dream come true and an "awakening of new ideas." Bakuleye's CD, Fiebre Del Ula Ula, was been released by Ahi-Nama. Courtesy Calabash Music