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Life & Work with Sergio Ramos

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sergio Ramos.

Hi Sergio, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I am a composer, guitarist, and singer born in Madrid, Spain. My musical preoccupations led me to learn to play the guitar at age 7. Since then, I have found in music the way of unleashing an entire universe of personal lyrics that took me at age 19 to get on the stage for the first time. My influences range from composers like Sabina, Pedro Guerra, Alejandro Sanz, Jason Mraz … to various styles of music such as foreign pop-rock, flamenco, Cuban son, Bossa, Cumbia…. Before arriving at Austin, I had the great pleasure to be invited to play in venues in Spain (the mythical Rincón del Arte Nuevo, Teatro Montacargas, Sala Lemon, Studio 29, CC Alfredo Kraus), Europe (Germany-Berlin, Polonia-Warsaw and France-Bordeaux), Colombia (Bogotá) and the United States.

I am now leading the amazing Latin Dukes! We are a 5-member Nuevo Flamenco, Rock, Salsa, Afro-Latin, Brazilian, funk hybrid sound band from Austin, Texas. The Latin Dukes transcend genres and languages. We create a global soundscape; blending influences from Brazil, Latin America, The Caribbean, Spain, the USA, and East Europe. Dynamic harmonies run like a current through textures of bass, guitar, mandolin, violin and percussion. With strong ties to Spanish traditions and through our multilingual compositions, we try to evoke the beauty of happiness and life through our music connection.

The Latin Dukes was created in 2015. The band was born during a jam session in November 2015. From that point on, we have been touring nationally and internationally, performing at music festivals, fundraisers, recording original music, and collaborating with other artists. We really enjoyed our self-managed tour in Spain.

But let me introduce you to the rest of the band, my friends, and amazing musicians. Percussionist Jorge de Armas was born in Havana, Cuba, and plays the cajon and congas. Chris La Cava was born in Massachusetts and plays bass. Andrew Noble from Richmond, Virginia plays the violin and mandolin. Roberto Moreno from El Indio, Texas to the voices and the percussion.

We have a host of original songs that we have put on our debut CD “Tus Miradas”, released in December 2017. In fact, one of our songs called “Bella” will become a short film with a music video. We are so excited to share our music with the world!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say that it has not been a smooth road for several reasons. First, I came to Austin with my family in 2014 to work as a bilingual teacher, a city totally unknown to me. It took me more than a year to adapt to its dynamics, its musical corners and to be able to start meeting musicians with whom to share concerns and start creating and improvising new songs.

On the other hand, in 2018, and for reasons related to my visa, I was forced to leave Austin for more than 2 years, which caused The Latin Dukes to remain on standby throughout that time. Fortunately, when I returned in 2020, we were able to get back together and enjoy ourselves again!

Lastly, our lives have been affected by the pandemic, with a special impact on public events. Live music disappeared completely for a long time and it was very hard, even though we understood the reasons and supported them. I want to take this opportunity to send my support to all the people who have lost a loved one during these hard months due to COVID. I composed and dedicated a song called “Solo” to all of them. Thanks to the common effort, we have been able to share our music live again.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
We are especially proud to be able to share with the public our creations, our concerns because, in reality, there is a little bit of us in each note. We started in Austin from scratch, when I arrived without knowing anyone. I spend more than one year getting to know musicians. Our beginnings were to play in Open Mics, to little by little begin to play gigs, the band grew in members and popularity, and now we have recorded our first album, we are working on the next one and we have been invited to play on television and national and international festivals. I am really proud of our growth.

How do you think about luck?
From my point of view, I don’t believe in luck as such, unless you win the lottery (which in my case has not happened). I think the harder you work, the luckier you get. For that reason we continue to work hard every week to improve our compositions, our skill with instruments, staging, social networks … in short, to have more luck.

On second thought, one thing I’ve been really lucky with is having the opportunity to come to live in Austin, a city that loves music and a wonderful audience. And of course, in being able to have gathered some incredible musicians who are even better people.

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