Santero comes from a long family tradition of Latin musicians and Sonidero sound system deejays. He was raised in the mountains, jungles and Atlantic coasts of Central America where he travelled extensively from Guatemala to Panama performing with his father’s Salsa & Cumbia bands. He came to the United States at a young age as a refugee escaping the political upheaval that was tearing Central America apart in the late 70’s and 80’s.
Once in the US, Santero immediately started the musical street hustle that would later define his style and sound. From the ghettos of New York and New Orleans to the barrios of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Santero refined his sonic palette and delivery by performing relentlessly in nightclubs, warehouses and on street corners. Drawing from such diverse musical influences as Reggae, Jazz, Punk, Funk and Hip-Hop, Santero incorporated his traditional Latin upbringing with these western music styles and developed his own brand of international fusion beats.
Eventually his constant touring and performing led him back to his roots in Latin America. After an extended stint of travelling and performing in Central America and the Caribbean, he found himself in Habana, Cuba. This would be a crucial turning point in his musical trajectory. While in Cuba, Santero was initiated as a priest in the Yoruba/Santeria religion. He was crowned as an avatar to the African deity Obatala, spirit of peace and light. From that point onwards, Santero dedicated his musical energy towards exposing a new generation of Latinos and Latin music lovers to the spiritual essence of the Pan-African Diaspora through club friendly rhythms and rhymes.
Santero’s El Hijo de Obatala (2009 City Hall Records) was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered & Latino USA. Santero’s sophomore effort made several critics’ top 10 lists for best album of 2009 in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Charts, SF Weekly & other publications. Santero won a 2009 SF Weekly Music Award and has been featured on many prominent music blogs. Debut release Arawaks & Maroons was named best new release of 2005 by Batanga Magazine.
Santero has performed or toured with such artists as Janelle Monae, Damian Marley, Lupe Fiasco, Femi Kuti, Punjabi MC, Ozomatli & Magic System among others. His most recent release EP, entitled Afrika (2014 Baylando Records), is an exploration of the impact African rhythms have had on the music of Latin America. Funky Afro-Beat drums, poly-rhythmic Couper Decaler dance beats & Angolan Kuduro styles blend with Latin percussion & call and response vocals. Santero reaches deep into his Latin roots & African diaspora sensibilities to bring together the best of two musical worlds in this utterly danceable & celebratory release.
SANTERO albums "El Hijo de Obatala" & "Arawaks & Maroons" in stores now in the US & Canada through City Hall Records. Also available in Japan through Music Camp Records and digitally worldwide on Round Whirled Music (iTunes, Amazon, Verizon, etc.). Tambores de Afrika/El Besito EP is available online through Baylando Records.