Drummer Emilio Valdés was born in Havana in 1966 into a musical family. He studied at the Guillermo Tomás Conservatory specializing in drums and percussion under Antonio Cortés, Marcos Varcalser, Guillermo Barreto, Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana, and the legendary Enrique Plá. Later he continued his education at the Amadeo Roldán School and the National Arts School. In 1993 Emilio left Cuba and went to Hamburg, Germany where he lived for 11 years. He traveled throughout Europe, working with Fun Factory (MTV-Europe), Radio and Television Orchestra, and Sergio Boré, with whom he recorded Tambores Urbanos. During his stay in Spain, Emilio taught drums and percussion at the Creative Music School (01’-03’). He was also invited to serve in drumming and percussion clinics by the Giovanni Hidalgo (02’), Max Roach (96’), Gregg Bisonette (02’), and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez (01’ – 03’). He toured extensively with the legendary Lonnie Liston Smith and Craig Handy.
During his five year stay in Madrid he performed with Flamenco artists Chano Dominguez, Perico Sambeat, Diego “El Cigala,” El Niño Jose, Potito, El Piraña, and Vicente Amigo (97’ Grammy Winner- Best New Artist). In Barcelona he accompanied Lalo Shifrin in the Symphony Orchestra. Emilio was a member of The Jerry Gonzalez Band and The Flamenco Pirates (01’), he worked with the Bebo Valdés Quartet and Chucho Valdés tours in (01’-02’), and with Irakere in 96’ and 97.’
Emilio Valdés currently lives in New York City where he teaches percussion. He has recently performed with the Bebo Valdes Big Band Featuring Diego Cigala, Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Big Band and the Chuchito Valdes Band, which had 2 Grammy Nominations. He was also under the leadership of Hector Melendez during his participation with the 9-11 Big Band. He was also a percussionist for the Mark Witfield Band and the USA Army Tour with Maria Acosta. He is the drummer specialist in the World Music and debuted his first album, “The Sweet Taste of Freedom.”