José Hernando is a 20 year old self-taught accordionist, singer and guitarist born in London to Colombian parents. Growing up in a Colombian household, José Hernando fell in love with Vallenato, which he learned through watching clips on Youtube and video cassettes his father brought back from Colombia. José Hernando plays in a number of vallenato and cumbia folk bands in London and is also the musical director of Revolución Vallenata, a London based multi-cultural band celebrating the vallenato tradition. He dreams of popularising the genre in Europe through his own music. Last April, José Hernando took part in the renowned Vallenato Legend Festival (Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata), which for 45 years has gathered the best Colombian accordionists in a celebration of the genre in the city of Valledupar. The festival features a contest for the best interpreter or accordion, caja vallenata, guacharaca, as well as best song; and this year José Hernando was the first ever British Colombian to enter the competition and the first candidate in the festival's 45-year history to sing (part of one song) in English. There were 81 contestants in the amateur category and José Hernando made it to the quarter finals, attaining 17th place; an outstanding achievement for a self-taught accordion player born and raised in London. José Hernando has recently started a Guitar Degree at the Tech Music School in West London and has been chosen as the third protégé in the BBC World Routes Academy 2012. Together with his World Routes Academy mentor, the renowded accordion master Egidio Cuadrado, José Hernando will be making BBC Prom history by being the first Colombians to take centre stage at this year's festival (31st July 2012). For WOMAD, José Hernando has put together a unique collaboration with UK based Colombian singer Angelica Lopez who will show-case their unique interpretation of a rich musical Colombian landscape.
(Biography supplied by artist management 2012)