Music delivers a message of hope
From living on the streets in Cuba to performing music all over New Zealand, Yonier Cuevas Vega’s story is one of hope.
Yonier is Aiku MC, a Cuban reggaeton artist who grew up on the streets of Cuba from age nine.
Now based in Auckland city, 29-year-old Yonier wants to play his music all over the world and inspire others to achieve their goals.
‘‘I believe I can help people through my music.
‘‘I have a message and that is ‘yes you can do it no matter what has happened to you, you can do it’.
‘‘My music is my way to contribute to society and the beat of the universe.’’
Yonier, previously known as Jinetero MC, says when he thinks back on his experiences growing up on the streets of Cuba, a number of emotions come to mind.
‘‘I think of happiness, sadness, freedom, capitalism, corruption, and dictation, but what I remember most of Cuba and keep with me now is the music and the dance and the smiles on the faces.’’
His music mixes salsa and hip-hop rhythms with the Jamaican influences of reggae and dancehall and has been played on radios both nationally and internationally.
He can be heard on KFM on Tuesdays from 8pm till 10pm hosting the Musica Boom Boom show.
Yonier is being managed by Adee Keil, who previously managed groups such as Nesian Mystik, Adeaze and the Misfits of Science.
In New Zealand, he has performed reggaeton at wellknown music festivals such as Soundsplash, Splore, The Uprising, Rhythm and Vines, Phatt, and the Kuranda Roots Festival in Australia.
He describes his Afro Latin fusion reggaeton music as ‘‘one of a kind’’ and says he started the scene in New Zealand while working with Olmecha Supreme, an afro fusion hip-hop band.
‘‘We entered Battle of the Bands in 2007 and came third and that’s what kicked things off.’’
Arriving in New Zealand in 2004 with no English and no career, Yonier slowly got into the music scene in Wellington.
‘‘I was bored with no skills and homesick and so my friends suggested I played music to feel better.’’
Over a period of time Yonier started playing the percussion instrument the guior with his Latin friends.
Then he met Cosmo 163 from the hip-hop band The Foot Soldiers on the streets of Wellington.
He began to mentor Yonier freestyle and told him to go away and practice three songs.
‘‘If somebody really wants to chase their dreams, their passion really can become their reality even if you have a bad start,’’ Yonier says.
Yonier has an album coming out in November called Unity is Power which is a fusion of different sounds and a collaboration of different artists from New Zealand.
Important story: Cuban reggaeton artist Yonier Cuevas Vega is using his music to spread messages of hope.
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