‘Overflow’ is a no-messin’ record of punchy salsa married with gospel vocals and Latin-funk grooves. Showcasing a wealth of international influences and guest performers, it’s a super soulful set laden with tight brass trills. Unapologetically polished, it manages to retain a fiercely fresh and authentic sound. Highlights include a high octane salsafied version of Screaming Jay Hawkins’s ‘I Put a Spell on You’ (co-produced by Alex Wilson) and a renewal of Fred Hammond’s gospel classic ‘We’re Blessed’ led by Nicky Brown from the London Community Gospel Choir.
Many Latin fans will be aware of Edwin’s many successful years as conguero with European based Mercadonego who Edwin continues to tour with playing on Latin stages across the continent. Yet his career as a solo artist and touring musician is less well known. In 2012 he travelled the globe with Rodrigo & Gabriel as part of their ‘Cuban Orchestra’. In 2014 his band were named as ‘Best Latin Group’ at Glastonbury Festival and the same year they worked the crowd at Montreaux Jazz Festival – both shows were part of a tour to support his debut album ‘San Agustin’. He’s performed and recorded with a diverse set of world renowned artists including Adalberto Santiago, Africando, Gypsy Kings, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz and Malia yet its tight relationship with friend, mentor and long-time collaborator and world music composer, producer and pianist Alex Wilson that has been so integral to his transformation from immigrant session musician to European bandleader.
Born and raised in San Agustin, a working class province of Caracas in Venezuela, Edwin came from a poor but loving family, sharing a room with his many brothers and sisters. At the young age of 6, Edwin was encouraged by his parents to join the dance group ‘Grupo Madera’ by way of introduction from his Uncle (a professional dancer and choreographer). Showcasing Afro-Caribbean and Venezuelan culture through the medium of dance, Grupo Madera, with a youthful Edwin, travelled all over South America and Europe. At 14, by this time a fully-fledged member, Edwin made the life changing decision to play percussion.
He remained an important fixture of the group until the age of 18, but at this point he’d dedicated himself to the vocation of becoming a professional percussionist. He immediately moved to Paris where western musical influences coloured and enhanced his repertoire. He describes his years living in Paris as ‘inspirationally crucial’.
As well as his personal artistic pursuits, Edwin teaches percussion at the Conservatoire of Music in Geneva. From a student of dance in Venezuela to a teacher and mentor to young adults in Switzerland Edwin takes the view, “It is important to work with young people because you are planting seeds for the future”.