Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 4th 2013 Contents A40
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Music artiste Claudio Jose Luces
Smith was born in Venezuela to
Trinidadian parents. Growing up
in both countries didn t only make
him bilingual, but also ignited a
passion within him for cultural
Earlier this year, Smith, who per-
forms under the name NaldinYo,
released his first single, Baila en La
He also launched his organisation
NaldinYo & the Latin Conexion
which will focus on building struc-
tured cultural exchange pro-
grammes between Venezuela and
T&T. Although Smith is the head-
line singer with the band Soca
Sabor, he released Baila en La Calle
Baila en La Calle is a "Latin
Soca" or "socalsa" according to
Smith. Socalsa is blended genre of
soca and salsa. Smith wants to use
his music to continue to forge ties
between Venezuela and T&T.
Smith plans to enter Baila en La
Calle in the 2014 Soca Monarch
competition and following the Car-
nival season he will release more
music including his own genre
"soca-rengue" which blends soca
In November, Smith, who also
works as a Spanish interpreter and
translator, travelled to Venezuela
to promote his new music. He vis-
ited seven states in Venezuela and
was interviewed on radio.
Smith said in a telephone inter-
view that he is on a "mission to
promote Trinbago soca in
Smith said he sees his work and
music as carrying on his parents
According to Smith, his mother
Claudia Smith won the first calypso
competition in Cuidad Guyana. His
mother, who he credits as his great-
est inspiration was also the lead
singer of a fusion band, The
Uptights. His father, Felix Jose Luces
Farias, was the musical arranger
and band leader for Steel Pan
Guyana, also based in Cuidad
Guyana, during the 1970s.
Another inspiration to Smith, is
Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz.
Smith said growing, listening and
dancing to her music left a lasting
impression on him.
Music is just one aspect of
Smith s cultural exchange plans.
His organisation has a list of pro-
posed programmes for 2014. Latin
Conexion is a network of people
based in T&T, the Caribbean and
Latin America. The organisation
will serve as a means to share infor-
mation about events and news in
these countries, as well as organise
The first project is a Latin Expo
scheduled for the National Acad-
emy for Performing Arts next year.
Smith is currently working with
the Argentinian Embassy in T&T
to host the event. The expo will
give space to embassies from Latin
American countries in T&T to
highlight their culture.
Smith is also planning on work-
ing with various Government min-
istries to develop Ven-TT, which
he describes as a structured cultural
exchange programme between
Venezuela and T&T. Although the
two countries do share certain
aspects of culture, Smith believes
there needs to be a more stringent,
detailed exchange happening
between the two countries.
"What we have now is not struc-
tured and done in a haphazard way.
I want to get the Government
involved where we can appreciate
our cultures and not drop off in a
few years based on the persons who
are involved," he said.
Ven-TT will include workshops,
concerts and school programmes
with musicians, dancers and artists
taking place in both T&T and
The Latin Conexion will also be
working with music producer
Simon Mendoza, keyboardist with
rapso group 3canal, to expand his
Latin radio programme in T&T.
Smith also said the cultural
exchange went beyond music.
"Venezuela is closer to Trinidad
than Tobago so having that co-
operation will work for us. We can
better understand each other in
times of crisis. It s a matter of will
power and personal goals. Learning
another language is like a life skill
and having that capacity and ability
could help save a life."
TAKING SOCA TO LATIN AMERICA
Claudio Jose Luces Smith aka NaldinYo, poses with radio personality Raul Martinez of Radio Azul 95.9FM after an
interview in Estado Vargas, La Guaira, Venezuela.
NaldinYo leads the way
To listen to Smith's music
you can visit his YouTube
Channel: Naldin Yo or find
him on Facebook under:
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