Bo Razón is a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, writer, television director, and educator whose skill sets have brought him to work with and perform at several global institutions of art and culture such as the British Council, the Goethe Institute, the Alliance Francaise (Paris), Instituto Cervantes, and the National Commission for Culture & the Arts (Manila).
Bo Razón was born in the Philippines with Malay, Polynesian, Cuban, Portuguese, & Irish strains coursing through his DNA. He was exposed to music at a very early age as his parents both came from musical families and played instruments themselves. Discovering his paternal great-grandmother was from Havana, Bo headed to Cuba in the 1990’s to immerse in the music and folklore of the island. Bo plays several instruments from many diverse global cultures and he has performed in settings and venues in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Equally fascinated by traditional music of indigenous cultures all over the world and by modern and contemporary music genres, Bo Razón seeks ways in which the two may coalesce organically. He first picked up the guitar in early high school and then moved to Baltimore where he honed his Blues chops, diving headlong into Rock shortly thereafter. He then moved to San Francisco and was briefly exposed to Jazz while living in a house full of Jazz musicians in Marin County. While in the Bay Area, he started playing Latin music and learned how to play other stringed instruments from other cultures, expanding into Afro-Latin percussion, primarily Cuban & Brazilian. A Bay Area resident for many years, Bo was fortunate enough to meet and perform with Latin Jazz and Cuban music legends Francisco Aguabella and Armando Peraza, as well as with local Bay Area Latin & Caribbean music artists like John Santos, Michael Spiro, Rebecca Mauleon, Karl Perazzo, Greg Landau, Jeff Narell, to name a few. As a core member of San Francisco’s premiere worldbeat band, Big City, he headlined at Berkley’s Greek Theater, the Kabuki, Wolfgang, the I-Beam, and the Great American Music Hall, sharing the stage with a spectrum of notable artists such as Herbie Hancock, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ornette Coleman, X, Fishbone, Primus, Nona Hendryx, General Public, and many more. He has also performed at the prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Asia Society Concert Theatre in New York, and at the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. In addition, Bo has played in world music festivals in Barcelona and Madrid, and in jazz festivals in San Jose and Hollywood, California. In the late 1990’s, Bo went to Cuba to attend Master Classes and Workshops on Cuban music at the National School for the Arts there. He also conducted field research on Afro-Cuban folklore and music under the auspices of the Anthropological Society of Cuba in Matanzas, the repository of African culture in Cuba. Bo has also performed and collaborated with master musicians and cultural artists from Jamaica, Cuba, Brazil, the Philippines, India, Nepal, Trinidad-Tobago, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and other African and Caribbean countries.
In the intervening years, Bo has immersed himself in the music of the gong cultures of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, apprenticing under the late Danongan Kalanduyan, a master traditional artist of the Maguindanaoan Kulintang culture. Moreover, he has been engaged in the Afro-Caribbean musical spectrum, in the musical mother lode of West Africa, in the rich diversity of Brazilian music, in Iberian musical expressions, in electronic and experimental formats, and in more North American Blues and Jazz.
It is within this rich and varied background that Bo Razón brings us his EP album called “The Saronay Sessions”, a blend of musical elements from North America, the Middle East, West Africa, Cuba, and the Philippines, due for digital release in May 2019.