Mu­sic de­liv­ers a mes­sage of hope

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By ROSE FRENCH

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.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see videos of Yonier Cuevas Vega.

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