singer/songwriter Armando Peralta released his first album Este
Fuego (This Fire) in 1996working with a white hot and stellar assembly
of musicians out of the pop, Latin and Jazz worldsQuincy Jones
called Armando's song "Maria" a masterpiece. Bruce SwedienGrammy-winning
producer for Quincy Jones and most recently Jennifer Lopezwas so
impressed with Armando's album that the two became close friends
in 1999. Swedien is very keen to work with Armando's future album
projects. He came very close to producing Armando's new album "Silence"due
out September, 2006, but the timing didn't gel.
Peralta was 30 years old when Este Fuego hit the charts in Puerto
Rico and other Latin-style markets. It took five years to compose,
arrange and pre-produce in San Juan, Puerto Rico-Armando's home
at that time for eleven years. Armando was good friends with the
sizzling drummer Omar Hakimthey hung out at Armando's rain forest
home exchanging stories and riffs. Hakim appeared as a driving force
for the uniquely-crafted rhythms on the album. Giovanni Hidalgo,
the number one conga player in the world, joined in as friend and
performer. Steve Porcaro from Totoone of Armando's favorites bands
as a singer/guitarist in high school rock bandsplayed on the cd.
***Armando: who else played on este fuego that would be good to
to fall, 2005, in a recording studio in Manhattan, one of two that
Armando owns under his label: WorldPulse Music. Armando is remixing
the tracks from his first album and adding in new compositions to
create a full compliment of twelve tracks. He is releasing the new
production under the title, "Volver a Sentir," meaning
"to feel again." Armando defines it as an album that speaks
to a healing process of learning to deeply feel, both as individuals
and as communities. He is back with all his old friends and musician
demigods from the first incarnation of the sound that generated
a wave of critical acclaim and fans in the pop and Latin crossover
me," Armandowho is articulate in five languagessays in an
interview, "the Este Fuego album created a new genre of music.
As with many pop, Latin and Jazz musicians, Flamenco was a major
influence on me. I studied it while I was a student at the Musicians
Institute in Hollywood. And I was immersed in it with my musician
friends. I was living and playing right in the most cutting edge
music of Puerto Rico for a decade. So I wedded together the "Rumba
Flamenco" sound with the "Bomba" Puerto Rican sound.
It was fresh and rich and created this amazing mix of rhythms. Listeners
loved it, and loved the melodic romance and soul I put into the
songs with my voice."
was a breakout, polyrhythmic sound. Nobody had conceived of this
hybrid before. A year later Ricky Martin came out with a similar
sound on his La Vita Loca album. Ricky Martin's manager was asked
on a Puerto Rican radio show if Ricky had come up with the new hybrid
sound, which was enormously popular, and Ricky's manager said, "No,
it wasn't Ricky. It was Armando Peralta."
new remixing and adding more songs really captures my passion and
soul fire so to speak," he says. "It was a fire consuming
meto bring messages of deep love and spiritual connection,"
says Armando, now 39. He is also producing a small stable of new
gifted artists for the WorldPulse label. In his other entrepreneurial
pursuits, Armando is a successful consultant in hotel real estate
Fortune, the stratospheric saxophonist, who is playing on Armando's
"Silence" album, pays homage to Armando's skills: "Everyone
asks me to make the magic in their music. But your music has the
'Volver a Sentir' I'm bringing in all the original talent from the
first recording plus several more greats. And they're joining me
as my group for live performances next spring. I've been incredibly
fortunate to have been brought into this amazing circle of cross-cultural
virtuosos since I was in my early twenties as a runner for Puerto
Rico's top concert producer. We socialize together, have philanthropic
interests together, and drive down this incredible road of cutting
edge music together."
is releasing "Volver a Sentir" in early 2006 under his
own label, and is already booked with his group into several Manhattan
hot spots for the spring and early summer season. Like his fusion
of pop, Latin and jazz music, Armando carries a remarkable heritage
that blends his father's Argentine (grandfather was from Spain)
blood and his mother's aristocratic Russian blood from the Carpathian
mountain region of Russia. "There is a Russian prince somewhere
in my family tree, "Armando comments. "And I know all
the Russian princes who are established in the US, and we're working
together on several philanthropic projects for orphans."
the most pronounced, and famous, musical heritage in Armando's background
comes out of the coal-mining mountains of Pennsylvania. "My
favorite uncle was always very supportive of my music interest.
He told me we had a very well known songwriter in our familya cousin.
He actually worked in the coalmines in Broad Top, Pennsylvania,
where my mom and all my uncles where raised," recalls Armando.
The cousin's name was Vaughn Horton, country western legend out
of Broad Topelected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in
1971. Horton died in 1988, after a long and lauded career of writing
country western and popular song hits, recording with his brother
Roy, and producing records for RCA, Columbia and Decca. Armando
comments, "I wished I would have met him actually. As far as
his songs, I feel a lot of the same energy and depth and romanticism
in his musical concepts as mine."
Armando's heritage has given him the smoldering Mediterranean, dark
longish hair and gentle cherubic looks that appeal across many audiences.
"People often ask me if I am actually as kind as I look,"
he says with some modesty, as he recognizes that looks are helpful
in the entertainment world, but are third to talent and hard work.
"Well, actually I am a kind person. Or always try to be."
For performing, Armando is reaching back to the style of his Argentinian
roots ("My father was raised there with the Spanish bandoleer
legends."), Flamenco inspiration and the Russian style of stitched
embellishment. The result is Flamenco-style black pants with silver
embellishment over Flamenco boots, long and short black jackets
over white billowy shirts. "It's a neo-classical style, and
it speaks to my reaching to an audience where a man and woman share
a deep, feeling love. I want my music to rekindle the romantic heart
feels he reaches an international audience who appreciates singers
who personally know the realities of love, are intelligent and articulate,
and are also very caring. "A lot of really bright artists,
who are intellectually aware, have told me I have this gift for
creating a caring mood in women. It's also because I care about
them through my music."
Relaxing at his mixing console, Armando is putting some finishing
touches on a pre-production track for his entirely new, and he hopes
groundbreaking, album "Silence." "I moved to Manhattan
in 1999 and met a wonderful girl, fell in love and spent a year
and a half with her. She moved on after a period of psychological
difficulty. I reached out to her with self-sacrificing love and
care over a long period of timereally trying to help her. I still
love her deeply. I put all of my pathos over this time into a new
collection of songs for "Silence" that blend my Russian
and Latin roots." The result is a spine-tingling, candle-moody
and danceable collection that sometimes features string arrangements
out of the beautiful polyphonic traditions of Russia underneath
Latin and pop music structures and rhythms. "I express the
deep melancholy romantic sadness the great Russian composers felt.
I feel in some way I can bring that out in my own way through this
Armando on the "Silence" recording is another constellation
of hot luminaries: Steve Luthaker, guitarist from Toto; Toto keyboardist
Steve Porcrao; Spanish-style virtuoso guitarist Paco De Lucia; Gorje
Pardo, Flamenco flute player; Café deSilva (worked with Sergio
Mendes and Steve Winwood); bass player Fernando Saunders (formerly
with John McLaughlin's jazz fusion groups, now with Lou Reed); Will
Lee, David Letterman Show bassist; Omar Hakim and Giovanni Hidalgo
on percussion; Rick Wakeman, keyboardist from Yes.
***Armando, is there anybody I missed here?
is coming out in September, 2006, and we'll be playing as a concert
band in 2007. It should be phenomenal," says Armando. He sees
"Silence" as being very internationalall tracks sung
in Englishwith special language editions for foreign market countries.
is also bringing five new singing talents into production under
his label WorldPulse Artists. "Basically, what I am doing is
helping some really wonderful people that I've met along the way
and giving them a boost to audiences that should really enjoy their
talent and qualities. I am currently developing relationships with
various distributors." Among Armando's artists is Sibira, a
Russian singer with very dance-oriented pop music; Candice Pell,
a rock crossing-overinto Americana singer; John Weston, with the
honest song-writing skills of a young Bob Dylan in an Americana/rock
genre; Israeli singer Sharoni, a power pop artist-like Italian rock;
Krina Miquelin, a former top model from Brazil with an amazing deep
soul for writing and a stunning voicecombining bossa nova and pop
wth electronica; Demitri Razinsky, Estonian top pianist with a voice
like Josh Grobin; ErenaItaliansings like Jewel and writes for
the Latin market with production values similar to Cold Play.
of music, Armando's most philosophic interest is his philanthropic
projects to help the orphans of Russia. "I am working with
various Russian relief agencies, a UN connection, two archbishops
of the Russian Orthodox Church, and several of the Russian aristocracy
living in the US to raise funds for Russian orphans. I am establishing
a record label specifically to raise money for these orphans."
Armando also has a cherished long-range plan to build a community
in upper state New York for retired Russian Orthodox priests (married)
who would adopt Russian orphans and raise them in the US. He is
also the custodian and agent for Russian composer Rachmaninoff's
piano. Armando has permission to use the piano for benefit concerts
to raise funds for orphan programs.