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Roberto Luis Sanchez (A.K.A. Cuban Conga Man) is a Cuban-born percussionist living in south Florida and temporarily working in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Roberto specializes in Latin Percussion Instruments, including conga drums, timbales and assortment of additional Cuban and Brazilian "toys"! He first heard, fell in love with, and began playing conga drums when he was only eight years old in his native neighborhood of Lawton in Havana, Cuba. His uncle Luis ("El Chori") and his super-talented and ambidextrous cousin cousin Osvaldo were his first instructors. They would take a bus all the way from the Municipality of Regla to Roberto's neighborhood in Lawton to teach him how to play the popular Afro-Cuban rhythms and other traditional beats. Many have influenced his playing style, but none like the great ones such as Mongo Santamaria and Ray Barreto.
Roberto's tasty approach to music has been rewarded by being able to play with some of the best Latin Jazz and Jazz bands that have included amazing musicians/pianists such as Jorge Dalto (George Benson/Tito Puente), Dale Powers (Sister Sledge); and Howard Levy (Bela Fleck and Flecktones). As an original member of Chicago's Chevere Percussion Ensemble (now called Chevere de Chicago), Roberto and three other fellow percussionists (Alejo Poveda, Adam Rudolph, and Geraldo de Oliveira) founded an avant-garde musical ensemble based on an infusion of African, Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian rhythms with Jazz. Chevere's members made the resulting band an early experiment in rhythms and the band into a household name in the Chicago land area for the past forty years.
Roberto's inspiration comes from a love and passion not only from the rich musical heritage of Cuba, but he was fortunate to meet and play with some of Brazil's best Brazilian Jazz musicians, including the great pianist Manfredo Fest (Concord Picante recording artist/Sergio Mendes’ Bossa Rio band) and excellent vibrophonist Breno Sauer (Made in Brasil Band). Roberto was a member of the Chicago Musicians Union for many years and he is currently a member of the Tri-state Musicians' Union Chapter of the American Federation of Musicians in the City of Chattanooga, TN.
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