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- WOMEX 2010
Percussionist, composer and educator, Carlos “Go Go” Gomez, has performed and recorded with a variable list of the biggest recording artists of our time. Throughout his career he has played along side such luminaries as Tito Puente, Pharaoh Sanders, Eartha Kitt, Arturo Sandoval, Gipsy Kings, Jose Feliciano and Grupo Afro-Cuba de Matanzas, as well as contemporary mega stars Mariah Carey and Sade. Gomez’s virtuosity is heard in the sheer range of his rhythmic influences and musical styles that he plays. From Afro-Cuban bata, jazz and rock and roll, to Persian pop, Nigerian high life and New Age electronica; Gomez’s hallmark is diversity and experimentation. Currently, he juggles a busy schedule of live performances, recording sessions, film scoring, and running his imprint label, Kidlat Records.
Born and raised in the Bronx, to Puerto Rican and Cuban parents, Gomez’s early influences included not only the Cuban standards and tangos played by his parents, but also the sounds of his neighborhood in the 1970s; including funk, rhythm and blues, psychedelic rock, and Nuyorican salsa. At the age of 16, he became a founding member of the groundbreaking Latin crossover group, Seguida. Dubbed the “The Sons of Santana” by the Village Voice, the group joined the legendary Fania Records roster and successfully embarked on a heavy recording and touring schedule. As a City College of New York student of ethnomusicology by day and full blown professional musician by night, Carlos “Go Go” Gomez ended the decade having fulfilled his childhood dream.
A yeaning to deepen his spiritual studies brought Gomez to the West Coast in the late 1970s. The next 20 years proved fast paced and full of creative opportunities. The following highlights the breadth of his musical experiences. He played jazz with Bobby Hutcherson, John Handy, Rodney Franklin, Babatunde Lea, Jules Broussard and Manhattan Transfer; salsa and Latin jazz with Pete and Coke Escovedo, Sheila E. and Conjunto Cesedes; and world music with O.J. Ekemode, Nigerian All-Stars and the Batucaje Brazilian Dance Troupe, to name but a few. Gomez toured and recorded with Con Funk Shun for many years. He served as Laura Branigan’s percussionist and musical director for eight years. His recordings included albums for Narada Michael Walden, Grateful Dead drummer, Mickey Hart, and most notably, Arturo Sandoval’s Grammy award winning album titled, Danzon/Dance. Gomez also ventured into different media. He made numerous television appearances, as well as commercial and film performances. His A-Go-Go-Gomez Band made a cameo appearance in the 1991 feature motion picture, Fires Within. Several of the group’s songs were included on the film’s soundtrack on Fania Records. During these years, Gomez balanced his fast paced life by traveling the world extensively, honing his martial arts skills and immersing himself in the study of traditional African and Eastern religions.
He received advanced certifications in percussion from the prestigious University of Matanzas, Cuba and the Instituto Folklorico National De Cuba. Intrigued by the connection between spirituality and music, Gomez’s life work is devoted to bridging cultures and seeking commonalities. He brings this synergistic sensibility to the classroom, where for 30 years Gomez has taught his students the art of drumming as a path to personal, artistic and spiritual development. In 1979 he established the first Afro-Cuban studies in song, drum and dance at the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. His most recent post was at Queens College of the City University of New York where he taught Afro-Cuban percussion and music. He has lectured extensively, nationally and internationally, on topic including percussion, Afro-Cuban drumming, and Ifa and Santeria religions.
Carlos’ newest ventures continue his experimentation with new technologies. After recording a series of dance remixes with Francois K of Wave Music, David Morales of Def Jam records and Jay Denes of Naked Music, Gomez launched his independent label, Kidlat Records. In 2005 he released a solo album titled, Homenaje Al Asmatico, and is currently working on a new solo album that is being described as Electronic and Acoustic World Trance Grooves.He maintains a vigorous schedule of live performances throughout the tri-state area, private teaching, and studio work.