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Meet Oscar Quilca Barcelli

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oscar Quilca Barcelli.

Oscar, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a professional drummer from Peru. I started my musical studies in Peru in 2014. After one year I went to Brazil to study music for two years. In 2016 I got accepted into Berklee College of Music with a scholarship of 60% and also I got three scholarships from the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation. In my time in Berklee, I got the chance to play and work with incredible and GRAMMY winners musicians such as Oscar Stagnaro, Dee dee Bridgewater, Claudio Ragazzi, Nando Michelin and many more.

In 2017 I got invited to perform at the Jazz Education Network Festival in New Orleans. I got the share stage with remarkable musicians such as Victor Wooten, Randy Brecker, Ed Calle, Sean Jones and many more. In 2019 I got the biggest chance of my career in music. I got invited to play at the Gala of the Latin GRAMMY with Sofia Carson, honoring the Latin Person of The Year, Juanes. I shared the stage with Rosalia, Juan Luis Guerra, Morat, Alejandro Sanz, Ozuna, Juanes, Orianthi, Mon Laferte, Fito Paez, Sebastian Yatra, Jesse & Joy and many more. Also, I was part of the ceremony of the 20th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards. I was presented by Ricky Martin as an ambassador from the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation and also I gave the GRAMMY to Alejandro Sanz in the category of Record of The Year. Currently, I’m working in my own project which combines the Afro Peruvian traditional music with Jazz.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has been very hard. I have failed more times than I have achieved something and I think that’s the way it should be. I have tried many times and fall many times but in the end is very satisfactory when after a lot of effort, things start coming up. The competition of musicians is very hard, everybody is very good in their areas and always there’s this fear of not being good enough to have a successful career.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I have two different projects. One of them is based in the Afro Peruvian Music with Jazz. I have had performed with this project many times in high profile venues. In this project, I try to take some Jazz standards and arrange them into Afro Peruvian styles such as Festejo, Lando, Vals and more. This is very challenging and not too many musicians have experiment with this. Lately, I’ve been incorporating also Brazilian music into this project and is going very well.

I believe that the sound of this project is unique because it takes influences from different parts of the world and the mixture makes it a unique style, rarely heard and very innovative. My other project is about the tradition of the Peruvian music. I started this project with Claudia Medina, a saxophone player from Peru. We were planning this project many months ago and we decided to make it real this last two months. We arrange and perform classic Peruvian songs. We have big plans for next year which involves recordings, concerts and some new compositions.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I wouldn’t change anything. I believe that all the mistakes I’ve done so far taught me many different lessons that are very important for me. I think that I am in the right place of my career and I wouldn’t change anything so far. Music takes you to places you never planned or expected and you just have to let yourself go.

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