Raymer Olalde

Raymer Olalde


Raymer Olalde was born in Remedios, Cuba, a small town in the Villa Clara province. He developed a passion for music very early in life playing on plates, pots and pans all over the house. Raymer comes from a musical family; his dad and uncle are professional trumpet players that had him listening to all sorts of genresranging from classical to popular music. His first musical memories are accompanying his dad and uncle in the popular parrandas, musical carnivals native to his town. Since a very early age, he would grab a big drum and go all over town as part of La Conga.

At the age of nine he went away from home to "Escuela Vocacional de Arte" in Santa Clara where he began to study percussion. He studied there for five years and from there he went to "Escuela Nacional de Arte" in Havana for four years where he graduated with a degree in Percussion. This degree included mastery of all percussion instruments including: Timbales, Congas, Drums, Minor Percussion Instruments (bongos, maracas, guiro, clave, etc) and Symphonic Percussion (Xylophone, Tympani, Marimba, Vibraphone). Although the school's curriculum was based on classical music, teachers and students introduced Raymer to other styles of music such as Popular Cuban Music, Jazz, Hip Hop and Latin American music. After graduating, Raymer remained at the school as part of the faculty teaching for five years. During these years he also worked professionally with popular bands such as "Septeto Mi Son", Sabrosura Viva, Quinteto Diapason, Habana Ensemble and Manolin el Medico de la Salsa. 

In September of 1999 Raymer moved to the United States and established himself in Miami where he continued his career as a professional percussionist. He soon became one of the most popular percussionists in Miami working with artists such as Celia Cruz, Cachao, Rey Ruiz, Willy Chirino, Marisela Verena, Luis Enrique, Hector Tricoche, Luis Bofil, Jose Conde, Isaac Delgado, Paulo FG, Leslie Cartaya and Enrique Iglesias. He is a founding member of Grammy Nominated band Tiempo Libre and recorded congas on their first CD called Timbiando. Raymer also had the honor of recording for the Latin Grammy Award Winner CD Fuzionando by Oscar de Leon.

In July of 2003 Raymer joined producer Steve Roitstein and singer/songwriter Leslie Cartaya in their idea to create a musical group that would mix Afrocuban music with American Funk. Cartaya and Roitstein asked fellow musicians Raymer Olalde, Philbert Armenteros and Ed Calle to join them in this musical trip. Together, they came up with the record "This is Afrocuban Funk" catalogued by The New York Post as "Cuban music for the new generation". Later in 2013 they released Palo! Live what won them a Latin Grammy Nomination for Best Tropical Contemporary Album, a Grammy Nomination Best Tropical Record of the year and an Emmy win for the soundtrack of the documentary Miami Boheme. Today PALO! is one of the must popular groups in Miami, and their success has taken the group to national and international tours.

After many years of experience playing with Palo! and other artists Raymer decided to come up with his own project. He asked great bass player and friend Edward Magdariaga to join him in creating a new group that would mix Cuban “son” with more modern rhythms such as hiphop, pop, rap and many other and they joined forces with Joaquin “El Kid” Diaz on Voice, Janier Lopez on Tres, Rafael Perez on Congas and Osvaldo Fleites on Trumpet. From this idea Sonlokos was born and their debut Album “Locos Por El Son” released in July 2015 was nominated for the Latin Grammys as Best Tropical Traditional Album of the year. Sonlokos released their second Album “Sonlokos En La Calle” in 2022 and have been actively promoting it with live concerts andmedia presentations.

Raymer keeps playing and recording all over the world and he is currently working on a new music video production for Sonlokos. He is also an active member of the Celia Cruz Allstars band that preserves the legacy of the great Queen of Salsa and that tours the world performing her music.

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