Orlando “Maraca” Valle
Born in Havana to a family of musicians, Orlando “Maraca” Valle started playing the flute at ten and studied at the Higher Institute of Art of Havana. By 1988 was asked to join Cuba’s famous Irakere (founded by Chucho Valdés) where he served as flutist, keyboardist, and arranger. With six years of international fame with Irakere under his belt, Maraca launched his solo career in 1994 withPasaporte, which featured collaborations with noted Cuban percussionists Tata Güines and Miguel “Angá” Díaz. He has since earned a national reputation not only as a master flutist but also as a writer and arranger. His current album represents, perhaps, his most adventurous foray as a composer and shows one of the world’s most important Latin Jazz composers at the top of his game.
Maraca’s skills are hard-wont through years of touring and collaborations with the world’s best. After decades building an international name for himself in prestigious Cuban and Latin ensembles, his Grammy-nominated 2003 solo release Tremenda Rumba reached Top 15 on Billboard’s Tropical album chart in the U.S. meanwhile his masterpiece album Descarga Total! is one of Cuba’s best-selling album ever. He’s performed in 41 countries including festivals (Aspen, Montreux, Montreal, Vancouver, Istanbul, North Sea, Paris, Nice, Marciac, Lugano, Antibes-Juan-les-Pins, Vitoria) and top international venues like the Hollywood Bowl of Los Angeles, the Kennedy Center in Washington , the House of Music in Moscow, and the Athens’ Opera House; he appears regularly at top jazz spots like Yoshi’s and Jazz Alley. Maraca has been awarded “best recording in Cuba” both in 2006 and in 2009 by CUBADISCO’s national contest, and his Pasaporte release won ‘Album of the Year’ by EGREM (Cuba’s oldest record label and competition).
Meanwhile, Maraca has lent his arranging and composing skills to the likes of Cesaria Evora, Leonid Agutin, Cubanismo, the Afro-Cuban all –stars, Orlando Poleo, Nora, Amadito Valdès, Yumuri and Monique Seka.
Maraca has just finished to record two new albums: a latin jazz one (Todo o Nada ) and a Cuban dancing music one (Suspendan los comentarios) which songs are beginning to be in the public’s preference.
Maraca keeps on collaborating with some of the world’s best musicians sharing the stage as special guest of pop Russian star Leonid Agutin, jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and guitarist Al di Meola. With the latter, he recently performed at the Jazz à Vienne Festival in France, where famed Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba also participated.