Arts & Entertainment Industry Forum: Alberto López

Afro-Cuban musician and producer Alberto López stops by for an interview with Dr. Jeff Albert (02/17/2014).

About Alberto López

Alberto López received his first music lessons as a child in a neighborhood music school in Medellín, Colombia. Upon his family’s move to the United States, he furthered his studies in piano and percussion at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA and The Juilliard School in New York City, respectively. During this time, Alberto also studied counterpoint, harmony, and orchestral conducting privately under Jacques-Louis Monod. While in New York, he came under the tutelage of Afro-Cuban drumming legend Felipe García Villamil, with whom he studied the drumming, and music, religious, and ceremonial aspects of various Afro-Cuban cultural and spiritual traditions. With a newfound passion in Afro-American music and faculture, Alberto traveled to Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Cuba to further develop his knowledge of the genre and culture.

A resident of Los Angeles since 1999, Mr. López has performed, recorded, composed, and/or produced music with artists such as Quetzal, Mstislav Rostropovich, Rubén Blades, Celia Cruz, Lee Ritenour, Stanley Clarke, LCD Soundsystem, The Brand New Heavies, The Dalai Lama, Juanes, and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, among others. He was part of the Oscar®-nominated soundtrack for the 20th Century FOX animated film Rio and in 2013 received a Grammy® Award (Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album) for his work on Imaginaries, an album by Quetzal released on the Smithsonian Folkways label.

In November 2004, Alberto founded Belú Music, a music production house and independent label, with the aim of developing and sharing the musical vision of artists around the world. His releases have generated praise from some prominent world music radio stations, including KCRW (Los Angeles), WGBH (Boston), and the BBC.

Mr. López has also been an active educator, teaching privately as well as lecturing and hosting workshops in schools and universities, including UCLA, SDSU, Occidental College, LAMA, Plaza de la Raza and community centers throughout California, Arizona, and Oregon. In 2010, he released Afro-Colombian Rhythms Method, Vol. 1 with Colombian master percussionist and gaitero Eduardo Martínez (Totó La Momposina, Petrona Martínez).

Currently, Alberto is working with Scott Wardinsky in the production of an instructional DVD/CD set of Afro-Cuban rhythms featuring Cuban masters Ramón “Sandy” Pérez and Lázaro Galarraga.