Date(s) - 05/19/2016
Doors at 7:30pm
Three unique sounds, three talents and three personalities are the core of this group that presents one of the most original and revolutionary concepts in the world of Tropical music.
Ripiao Kingz, from the streets of New York, showcase a unique sonic experience that transcends borders and has captured the audience thanks to their contagious sound, fun lyrics and beats that will make you dance. This is how the típico urbano genre was born.
A fusion of the traditional rhythms of the Dominican Republic hasn’t been their only mission. Ripiao Kingz’s goal was from the beginning to maintain their traditional folkloric sounds, while adapting it and moving it to superior level so it can infect everyone the same way it has the people of the Dominican Republic.
In their Manhattan studios, family parties in the Bronx and dances in Queens or Harlem, has help mold the original sounds of this group.
Each member of the Ripiao Kingz has their own story, musical journey, influences, school and specialty. This is why the combination of Fernando “Fercho La Voz” Guzmán, Edwin Torres and Ray “Chino” Díaz have achieved an original sound that is different from their colleagues in the city. The Ripiao Kingz has come to occupy their own place in the Latin music industry.
Ray “Chino” Díaz continued with the tradition his father and grandfather taught him during his childhood, how to play the tambora and Dominican güira. During birthdays, baptisms and family reunions, “Chino” began to apply everything he taught himself to those rhythms. His brothers had very different musical tastes like The Beatles or Elvis, some of his first influences but he was seduced by the many sounds of New York. The sounds of Run DMC, Sugar Hill Gang, LL Cool J, the jazz of John Coltrane, the Latin fusion sounds of Tito Puente or Chick Corea, Donna Summer’s album, the salsa sounds of Fania All Stars, Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon or Rubén Blades allured him. With that as his base, his curiosity for traditional percussion and folklore blossomed. He decided to study piano in order to obtain a complete education and appreciation for music. Aside from his admiration for Latino icons like Tito Puente motivated him to look for a style that would combine the Latin sound with modern elements. That goal led him to explore sounds, fusions and at the same time perfect his percussion techniques and the güira, which is the perfect ingredient for those original tropical rhythms of Dominican music.
While he continued his education, he combined his time participating in other musical projects, but always with the intention of creating his own musical group. Finally Ripiao Kingz fulfilled that dream, the one of creating an original sound based on traditional music that could be taken to new heights with the addition of new and well-constructed musical arrangements and harmonies.
The second member of this project is Edwin Torres. He was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Long Island at the age of 3. His grandfather played an important role in his appreciation of music. While his friends listened to other genres or learned traditional instruments, Edwin was taught by his grand father how to play the accordion. It was a special connection between him, his past and his country. From an early age he was seduced by the sounds of traditional merengue, and took advantage of every one of his trips to the island to further cement his love for that style of music. A synonym of joy, flavor and of his Dominican Republic, the accordion was a permanent link to his culture. As he grew and deals with wit the problem of not finding formal accordion classes, he decided to try his hand at the violin and the saxophone, it was a short romance that was broken up by the accordion. While at school he listened to Jay Z and Biggie Smalls, merengue never left his life and was part of his musical and cultural DNA. When he finished high school he began to study to become an auto mechanic. He also became a part of some local groups. It was a call by “Chino,” who played in a band with his uncle, that brought him back to his destiny, music. Along with “Chino” they enrolled in piano classes and decided that music was no longer a hobby, it was their profession.
A new voice was added to this duo. It was the voice needed to complete this group of talented artists and above all else, friends.
Fernando “Fercho La Voz” Guzmán was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up en Brooklyn. As a child his soundtrack was made up of songs by Juan Luis Guerra, Antony Santos, Fernandito Villalona, Boyz II Men, Luther Vandross and Frankie J. Trying to emulate the sounds of those powerful R&B voices, Fernando discovered his natural talent at just 5 years old. He began to participate in contests and children’s festivals. He was always one of the favorites of the audience. Bachata was his natural rhythm, but he always combined his sound with what he had learned and heard from the big voices of Motown and R&B. This is how he created his own style that was loved by all the audiences of his first groups. His adventure in the music industry was a little tough than most due to his other passion, baseball. He played second base for BMCC (Borough of Manhattan Community College), where he excelled. Unfortunately a shoulder injury forced him to retire from the sport. While it frustrated his baseball dream, it led him to take his musical journey very seriously.
This is how the amazing group came to be. Three talents with similar and at the same time different origins. Their diverse musical education has allowed them to create a unique sound. “Fercho”, Edwin and “Chino” explain that the first beat of each one of their songs invites people to dance, have a good time and have people forget their problems. Each song is an invitation to have fun and to transform every party or concert into a powerful musical experience.
Here’s a piece of advice, don’t forget to wear your most comfortable pair of shoes when you go the next Ripiao Kingz show.