The recipient of a Latin Awards Canada trophy in 2016 and a Félix award in 2010, Carlos Placeres clearly sets the tone for Cuban music in Québec. A singer-songwriter for 30 years, he performed in Vancouver in 2010, representing Québec at the Olympic Winter Games, and has performed opening acts for some of the top Cuban artists.
Self-taught, he learned to play the guitar at age 10 while growing up in the suburbs of Havana, and then learned piano, percussions and bass. A versatile artist, he draws inspiration from ancient African rhythms and from modern jazz. In addition to the very popular Cuban salsa, he masters more traditional genres: trova, bolero and son. And he gets people dancing with his music, conveyed on a positive wave.
With his keen interest in ethnomusicology, he settled in Montréal in 1996 and conducted research at the Université de Montréal on the Arab-Andalusian origins of Cuban music. This work gave rise in 2003 to his first album, A Los Ancestros, nominated for a Félix award in the “best world music album” category. As an ethnomusicologist, he gave a series of talks and shows on the African, Arab-Andalusian and European roots of Cuban music and on the influence of modern jazz and funk genres.
As an independent artist, he created the album Puro Café (2010), winner of a Félix award, and later Fiesta de Placeres (2016), which won a Latin Awards Canada trophy. Television viewers in Québec have undoubtedly heard his music when watching the series “Omertà, la loi du silence,” for which he composed the soundtrack with former Uzeb member Michel Cusson. He was also chosen by the audience of the musical show “Belle et Bum” as best artist.
Carlos Placeres (whose surname means “pleasures” in Spanish) believes in the therapeutic values of music and dance, and he performs regularly at hospitals as an active member of the Société des arts en milieu de santé, an organization that presents concerts at health care institutions. A regular at the Montréal Jazz Festival and at the Francofolies de Montréal, he has performed opening acts at the shows of Cuban artists such as Omara Portuondo and the Afro Cuban All Stars as well as for Pink Martini.
This Cuban-Canadian artist, currently preparing his fourth album in Cuba, sustains the Afro-Cuban flame and its musical traditions in Canada, paying tribute to all his ancestors in shows that put us back on our feet. As one of his songs says, music is medicine for the soul.