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A Cuban music showman: Wil Campa

A Cuban music showman: Wil Campa

No one who sees him on the scene manages to decipher the real Wil Campa. On stage, there is the showman, the singer, the composer, the arranger and the whole of his orchestra La Gran Unión. Outside of it, the simple man, speaking softly, with few gestures and a gentleman of law. The Excelencias Group spoke with this multifaceted artist, who for some time now occupies the main preference lists of popular dance music.

He usually gets up very early, is a born casino dancer and came to this world under the sign of cancer. And those who prefer to believe the zodiac will then understand why this man loves discipline and is strict with his work. The man with green eyes and seductive smile has sneaked into the world of dance music. From Cuba and for the world, Wil Campa and La Gran Unión have arrived forever.

“There are no musicians in my family. I am from a small town in Pinar del Río called Las Martinas and with my friends I created rustic musical instruments, with materials such as pita thread, cane and others. I know how to heal the goat's leather to make the bongo and used to imitate great musicians like Oscar de León or Benny Moré. But all in a very natural way.”

This way, the musical desires of this man began, which is defined as restless, creative, sensitive and fanatic to make friends. He is always creating and that's what his life has been about. When he was in the Military Service, someone tells him that they were looking for a singer in an orchestra. And although he had never sung, he decides to take a risk and to everyone's fortune, until today it has worked out well. He studied the Canto Popular course at the Raúl Sánchez Overcoming Center for four years. And then, he joined several orchestras in Pinar del Río until he reached a peak in his career: integrating the Orlando Valle Maraca group.

“With it, I participated in the most important Jazz Festivals in the world, we sang in 38 countries, we made three albums and in 2002 we were nominated for a Grammy with the Tremenda Rumba phonogram.”

But Wil Campa wanted more. And 11 years ago, he decided to create his own orchestra. “I wanted to make my own orchestra. And I did it with the help of who represents me until today, the Revolution Internacional label. Thanks to them, we have performed in Canada, the United States, Europe and the French Music Festival. We have already made four albums and now we are engaged in the fifth. Our CD Everything is possible under the production of Bis Music was nominated in the category of popular dance music in the Cubadisco 2012.”

And since then, he hasn't stopped working. Each of their themes work and have been in the hit Parade of national and international playlists. Topics such as La Bambina, Mi filosofía, Me gustas tú, Qué me quiten lo bailao, Suelto y sin vacunar, La vida sigue, Si tú te vas or La noche, have positioned in such a way, that today they have to sing it in each of the places where they are presented. And the success lies not only in the composition or the melody, but in how they design the staging.

“It's an orchestra show. The same musicians do choreography of different styles. I have choreographies with baseball bats, masks, Arab costumes and drums. Every day we improve it and they work. During the day, I don't have many hours for me. I dedicate almost everything to the orchestra. I demand a lot of discipline and that the musicians also give themselves completely to the group.”

His fifth album, still in the process of recording, contains 11 tracks and is dedicated to Son, that genre so Cuban and that distinguishes us in the world. The phonogram, entitled The best view under the Egrem label, has the participation of other renowned musicians on the Island such as Haila María Mompié and Alexander Abreu.

He has had the joy of sharing with Cándido Fabré, the Original de Manzanillo, he loves the music of Benny Moré, he dances to the rhythm of Juan Formell and Los Van Van and in his repertoire, songs by the musician from Pinar del Rio, Polo Montañés can’t be missing. He bets on electronic merengue, urban music, but above all, on Cuban creations. He defines himself as an entrepreneurial and warrior peasant, so he has come to where he is today.

“I tell you that I am not going to stop. I have the desire and the strength to continue making. And for that, I have a group that accompanies me very well. Everything is based on discipline. Do things and do them well (...) I see myself as Compay Segundo, if life allows me and I reach that age: putting effort to everything and always defending Cuban music.”