Ernesto Blanco: every new challenge is an opportunity to grow

By Sender Escobar

Without setting aside the essences in the guitar chords, energy and originality distinguish the rock made in Cuba that is intended to please all tastes and preferences. Ernesto Blanco is now committed to his new projects in these suis generis times for music.

You studied guitar in the Conservatory of Music Amadeo Roldan where you were the best graduated of your year. When did rock come into your life and when did you decide to initiate into this genre?

I graduated with the highest grades from classic guitar in the Conservatory of Music Amadeo Roldan, in 2004. However, rock was always around in my life because ever since I was a child, I used to listen to famous bands like Queens, Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Elvis and later on I played in some groups at school. We played rock, funk, blues, jazz, among others. Meanwhile, I continued studying classic guitar and my favorite composers: Debussy, Brouwr, Bach, Brahms and Lecuona. You could say that rock stayed for good in my life when my mother gave me an electric guitar when I was 11 years old, best gift ever.

When you played with your brother David, your work contributed a lot to the Cuban music, specially to the genre you both perform and in which you make different fusions. How did you come up with the idea of rescuing traditional songs and make them more appealing for the young audience?

My ultimate goal is to bring the today´s most representative musical genres into the Cuban music, specially the electronic music. I also want to follow the lead of Juan Formell (Van Van), Síntesis and Irakere who were the first musicians that mixed the electric guitar with the Cuban traditional music.

You once told me you considered that the purest expression of Cuban rock was the one performed by Sintesis. How was your experience as a member of this mythical group?

Sintesis undoubtedly paved the way for the development of the rock in Cuba, without failing to recognize the other bands’ credit, of course. They have it all in their albums, it was a privilege for me to work with them in several projects and tours. I am very fond of the Alfonso Valdes family.

The album Kilometro Cero was the starting point of Ernesto’s Blanco solo career, without putting aside your work with David and other projects. When did you know that it was time to go on your own?

Kilometro Cero, launched in 2010, was very especial to me. The album was nominated and awarded in the Cubadisco, Lucas and Cuerda Viva Festival that very same year in the category of pop rock. It was also very popular among the audience and marked a successful return after having spent the two previous years working on this album.

You are not only a singer, but also a music producer. How do you combine this part of your work with your personal projects?

I really enjoy combining my work with the band and the tours with the musical production of other groups. I also like to compose music for television series, soap operas, plays, and to assist students in their beginnings in the electric guitar. This is vital for my professional development; every challenge is an opportunity to grow as an artist. 

La Flota represented the convergence of a whole generation of artists who allowed the development of music to go beyond language as such. Tell me about this project? 

La Flota is a band composed by X Alfonso (bass and voice), my brother David (voice, guitar, keyboards), Yissi (drums) and me (voice and guitar). We decided to add more rock to our music and we played a lot between the years 2015 and 2017, especially in some international festivals. I love working with them, we had chemistry when we played together.

La imagen tiene un atributo ALT vacío; su nombre de archivo es la_flota_david_blanco_en_fac.jpg

When searching for new audiences, the constant renewal of your music is paramount. How do you deal with this, especially now that you´re beginning to make your own way into the Anglo-Saxon music? 

My first single in English, Don´t let it bring you down, was launched on July 1rst. The single was made in association with some Canadian producers and it was launched online in all digital platforms and in my web itself. Exploring the Anglo-Saxon music industry and its audience has turned out to be very interesting to me. Having played and shared experiences with musicians like The Jonas Brothers, Jon Bon Jovi, DNCE y Dominic Miller (guitarist of Sting) and The Dead Daisies, during the past four years, has been amazing. This experience made me want to record in other languages which represents a huge challenge.

What are the main challenges in such a complex musical industry?

Maintaining or surpassing the success that has been achieved is one of the greatest challenges in this career. You need to be constantly moving forward. We have to keep making music and delivering positive messages to the audience. There are many challenges laying ahead. 

I supposed that although you are making music in English, the Cuban rhythm will continue to be present in your work, is this so?

The essence of Cuban music will be always present in my work. Our music runs in my veins, it is there in every song, guitar solo or musical chord I ever compose.

What are you currently working on?

I keep currently promoting my new single Don’t Let it bring you down and I am also working on a new album. And, of course, in these days I am staying at home due to the health crisis we are facing all over the world. I am working on many projects, as usual, and recording lots of new stuff.I’m also working on my new single in association with La Reyna y la Real. It is a mix of hip hop, pop rock and electronic music and we want to share it in all digital platforms. We’ll shoot the promotional video once the single is finished. It was a great idea to work with them since we have good chemestry. I expect to launch a new single every three months.

Thank you very much

Best wishes for everyone and thanks for this interview.

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