Rick Reyes – Latin Musician:
Rick Reyes is a troubadour, a songwriter, producer, and a storyteller performer. Although born in Bridgeport CT, Reyes grew up in the countryside of his parents’ native Puerto Rico. It was here, listening to traditional Puerto Rican folk music, that Reyes forged his love of Jibaro – a music of the people full of wistful melodies and steeped in longing. At 13, Reyes and his family returned to Bridgeport. Feeling like an outsider, homesick, unable to speak English, and experiencing racism for the first time, he started to write as a creative outlet. He kept journals of his thoughts, impressions, and observations. His father bought him a guitar and he taught himself to play. When Reyes took one of his poems and set it to music his lifelong journey as a songwriter began.
Reyes wrote about the struggles of his parents and the latino community. He wrote about the poor. The song he considers his first, Vida Diferente, written in 1987, captures a sense of possibility, but its optimistic rhythm is juxtaposed with lyrics that convey the frustrations of poverty. This pairing of pain and optimism reveals a tension that appears often in Reyes’ work. His words acknowledge the harsh realities of daily life, but his music won’t give in to them. It optimistically arches toward the possibility of a better future. His songwriting today continues in these and similar themes of social justice, freedom, equality, self awakening, ambition, the environment, acceptance, and tolerance. Reyes creates music that has a traditional Puerto Rican flavor but is also open and receptive to other sounds from around the cosmos, blending classic American rock, salsa, merengue, and latin jazz, among others.
To date, Reyes has created and plays in three bands: the Cosmic Jibaros, a band with a unique Bridgeport sound combining a mixture of rock, Puerto Rican roots, and socially-conscious songs; The Pasofino Social Club, which is a nod to the Latin bands of yesterday; and Novela sin Tiempo, an all acoustic group with a latin and world-music flavor. Released in 2013, Novela Sin Tiempo (Timeless Story) is also the name of his solo album, a collection of songs that tell a story of struggle and determination, of daring to dream, and of the courage it takes to step into the unknown.
His latest production is called the Puerto Rican Song Book. The show celebrates the contributions of Puerto Rican singer songwriters to the world of music. The repertoire allows Reyes to educate the listener with insights about the Puerto Rican people and history of what continues to be the oldest colony in the world.