Victor Hugo Salsa Band
Victor Hugo – the revolutionary renaissance man!
The Salsa revolutionary, Victor Hugo was born over 150 years after his French namesake in Caracas, Venezuela to Maria Luisa Toro, actress, jazz singer, and well-known soap star. With such a famous name, how could he fail to succeed? Our Latino renaissance man grew up to became a singer, songwriter, producer, director, and photographer as his love of Venezuelan, Puerto Rican and Cuban music inspired him to sing and compose his own music
A teenage Victor starred and directed musical productions including Gospel, Hair, and Jesus Christ Superstar. He went on to compose and direct his own musicals Vimazoluleka and Pascall.
After graduating from Universidad Central de Venezuela in the unusual combination of Biology and Performing Arts he moved to London at the tender age of 18. A scholarship from the Venezuelan government gave him the enviable opportunity to study filmmaking and continue his musical career in London. His first band was King Salsa, which he co-founded with percussionist Robin Jones. Victor Hugo & La Clave was his next band and one of the original Salsa bands in the UK with Jim Lemessurier, another London percussionist who collaborated with the new Salsa project.
The Palmieri Factor
Victor’s big break came when he performed with piano virtuoso Charlie Palmieri in London. Palmieri asked Victor to replace Hector Lavoe on a short European tour. This kick started Victor‘s Salsa singing career in Europe. Sadly, Charlie passed away soon after, but not before inspiring and encouraging Victor to pursue a career in salsa music. With turbulent political change in Venezuela, and withdrawal of his film making scholarship, Victor continued to pursue his dream of becoming the premiere European Latino artist from his London base. His multi-talents also saw him working as a professional photographer where he organised shoots for major artists such as Pink Floyd and other LP percussion protégées. He formed his own Latin pop band No Way Jose and released Tequila on Island Records. A huge hit across Europe it went top 40 in over twenty European and American countries. The Latin Thing released later on Faze Records also entered high into the charts. Despite Victor’s commercial success with Latin related pop music he always longed to sing Salsa and reformed his group, Victor Hugo con Picante. This huge Salsa extravaganza went on the road with over 25 people – musicians and dancers - joining Victor on stage.
Victor recorded his first solo album Oye Latino with his band Picante. Another album entitled Tropicalisimo featured master percussionist Alex Sarria from Cali Colombia. It was only after a chance encounter with Grupo Niche that things really begin to take off.
Concerts across Europe have seen Victor performing with chart-topping artists The Corrs, Ricky Martin, Ronan Keating and Beverley Knight. He has also shared stages with a whose who of Salsa legends: Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Oscar D’Leon, El Canario, Palmieri, Grupo Niche, Gabino Pampini, Son de Cali, David Pabone, Pedro Conga and Tito Nieves. Even international royalty have not escaped Victor’s South American pizzazz! Royal Brits such as HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Prince Andrew have got lost in Victor’s music. These ‘by appointment’ performances have taken Victor into the Royal Palace of Amman in Jordan, Westminster Cathedral and London’s landmark St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Victor’s international reputation was secured in April 2005 with the release of the album Salsa Pa’America which featured Kike Harvey on the track Viva la Salsa. It won Best Salsa Album while the song Havanera from the album won Best Salsa Song at the 2006 JPF music awards in the USA. Victor was also nominated for Best Latin Artist in the UK in 2005. the same year he landed an exclusive deal in Asia after a successful tour of Hong Kong and Singapore. Band Home