Interview: Dorance Lorza

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Colombian born  Dorance Lorza  started out as a musician, arranger, composer and producer, working with the the biggest names in Colombian salsa music.

He formed the band Sexteto Cafe who were pioneers of the worldwide “salsa con vibes” revival of the late 1990s, they were one of the first bands in Europe to favour the small combo salsa sound of 1960s/1970s bands like Joe Cuba Sextet/ New Swing Sextet/Pete Terrace Combo rather than that of the more common big brass-heavy salsa orchestras of the day.

Over the years, they have featured at many prestigious salsa congresses and jazz festivals . They’ve released 5 albums to date and  had numerous tracks licensed to best-selling compilations such as “Beginners Guide To Salsa” and “The Rough Guide To Salsa Dance”, which has brought them to a worldwide audience.   All the albums have featured strong original material alongside new arrangements by Lorza of classic salsa.

In 2014 they won the Lukas Awards for the Latino UK Awards Category and in 2015 were the winner of Latin Musician of The Year.

‘Summer Salsa Special’  promises to be a vibrant night of tropical rhythmns and dancing.  We caught up with  band leader Dorance Lorza ahead of next week’s show.

Was your childhood full of sunshine and salsa music ?
I was born in Cali “The Capital of salsa ” so I was exposed to salsa music from a very early age..

When did you first pick up an instrument?
My first instrument was a guitar at around 12 years old and then i went on to study music at Univalle University

What made you  favour the vibrophone over the rock guitar ?
I started playing the vibraphone when I was  20 years old, it was my desire to follow the traditions of the artists i was  listening to in my youth such as Joe Cuba Sextet, Bobby Montes, Tito Puente, Luis Ramirez etc.

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You’ve worked with many of the biggest names in Colombian Salsa.  Was it hard to enter the Colombian music industry?
I entered the industry by chance I was in the right place at the right time.  I  received an offer in 1990 to produce a record for one of the main record labels.

What are the best musical experiences you’ve had both in the UK and Colombia?
Having the opportunity of producing records in Colombia in the 1990’s was great and of course to come to the UK and continue developing the Sexteto Cafe sound.  I’ve played at numerous salsa congresses and jazz festivals which has helped me find my Place on the London Latin scene. 

There is a huge resurgance in bands releasing new vinyl and young people building up collections of old vinyl.    What were your reasons for releasing the album Latin D n A  on vinyl  ?
We were invited to perform at the Cali Feria in 2013, Cali is famous for its salsa collector fairs so having this opportunity to perform was the main reason for me to release on the vinyl format.

You’ve released 7 albums and received  awards for your contribution to Latin Music both in the Uk and Colombia.   Whats next for you and the band?
Right now we are in the final stages of our new production which is ‘Vol 2 of the 15 years celebration’ which i hope to release at the end of the summer and launch it in Cali.

Tickets for Friday 20 May are available here.

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