We had the good fortune of connecting with Alberto Jamaica Larrotta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alberto, what do you want your legacy to be?
Hello everyone, I’m Alberto Jamaica Larrotta, a professional accordionist mostly known as “Beto Jamaica el Rey Vallenato”. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, on April the 3rd, 1965. I have 45 years of experience in the music business and I’m deeply grateful for having the opportunity to share with you my path and my views and expectations regarding my legacy.
About my musical brackgound, I’ve participated as a music producer, accordionist, singer, chorus member in many record productions, and I have travelled to more than 15 countries divulging the Vallenato music around the world. I’ve been awarded by governmental institutions and I’ve been a jury in folkloric festivals here in Colombia.
15 years ago, I was awarded as Rey Vallenato in the most important Vallenato folkloric competition in Colombia, and ever since I’ve been happy to say I’m one of the representatives of Vallenato in my country and abroad. That award was the result of persistence, I kept participating in that competition for 13 years until I finally made it. Wining was very challenging, not only because of the required musical knowledge and skills, but also because, often, people from that region, including previous winners, participate. Persisting regionalism was also an obstacle. I feel honored and proud that my participation was an inflection point in that competition, as I am one of the people who opened the doors for musicians from other regions to participate and win, just like I did.
I’ve worked so hard in order to succeed. Sadly, however, here in Colombia, many artists aren’t recognized as they should be. The music industry isn’t well financed and the pandemic made it even harder for everyone. Nevertheless, I’ve done my best, motivated by the love I have for the music I play, and for my accordion.
I’d like to leave a legacy that is full of meaningful teachings and knowledge in different means and fields. I’d like to hear about people who get inspired, who develop themselves personally and musically based on my own history and experiences. I’d like to be remembered as a humble, creative, and very dedicated person; as someone who believes in God; and as someone whose heart was always open for anyone.
I’d like to be remembered as musician who, despite of the difficulties, has brought joy into people’s hearts, someone who plays and spread the Vallenato music with passion and determination, someone who has succeeded following a dream.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an accordionist player, I have 45 years of experience in the music business, it’s been a very hard path, living from music isn’t an easy thing to do, however, I’ve found my own ways to make it sustainable . I’m the first “Rey Vallenato” (Vallenato’s representative) who comes from Bogota, the city I was born at, there’s still regionalism, it took me 13 years until I finally won, persistance was the key in this process. Something that has helped me a lot is creating networks, that’s paramount if you want to succeed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The city where I’m from, Bogota, has a diverse and interesting cultural offer. There are museums which talk about our own history, like the Colonial Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the National Museum, the Independence Museum. Besides, there’re theaters, concerts, festivals of almost every music genre, for example, the Jorge Elicer Gaitan Theater, the Teatro Libre and also, the Cinemateca Distrital, a place focused on the film industry. The best views landscapes could be appreciated from Monserrate, a church that’s on the top of a mountain (3100 meters high). There’re gastronomic areas, like Zona G, Zona T, La Macarena, Candelaria, etc. The city has many things to do every single day, it would take from 1 to 2 weeks to fully enjoy it.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
All the people who have believed in my and who have supported me in my artistic career: my family, my friends and colleagues