In Cuba, the Valdés name signifies dedication to good music. Carlos Alfonso and Ele Valdés created the Cuban ethno-rock band Sintesis and their sons M and X perpetuate the family tradition.
X Alfonso Valdés (X is pronounced equis in Spanish), the elder and better known of the brothers, spent 17 years as arranger, composer and keyboard player in Sintesis before going solo.
With a string of CDs and videos already released, X sat with Cubaplus recently to reflect on his gratitude, goals and dreams.
Born in 1972, he clearly acknowledges the importance of his family. "From my family comes everything I've learned. They always support me in everything. After I became a member of Sintesis, I had the chance to compose for a real disc for the first time."
The Alfonso household also includes dance as artistic manifestation. Susana Po us, X's wife, is a contemporary dancer with the Danza Abierta company.
"My daughters are divided," X laughs. "The small one likes dancing and the other likes music. She is in a choir and studies piano." Clearly his two daughters seem to be following the family legacy.
X Alfonso is a versatile creator: a musician who composes and interprets but also directs his video clips and mixes elements of dance, theater and painting. "I like art, not only music" he explains. That diverse perspective toward artistic production has made him a singular artist.
"Writing because of a feeling is not the same as doing it through a sensation you see graphically, danced or performed by a theater actor. That opens you much more so you can see a word in many forms."
A World, A Work The dissolution of national frontiers, the emigrant, the media's propaganda of the world and egotism all appear in X's songs and videos. All the concerns about today's challenges, of a global human being, are mixed with rhythms from different cultures and tendencies.
The neighborhood is another of the spaces to which he directs his songs. "I have been in many neighborhoods in many countries of the world and a problem in the neighborhood is like a portrait of the country."
X's personal challenge as an artist is "to do something original, which is quite difficult." The basis of his hits, among which is the soundtrack of the popular and must-see Cuban-Spanish film Habana Blues, is his dedication.
"I believe in working every day, in believing in what you do, in all kinds of research: social, musical, cultural, so as to make a superior project."