Viento de Agua is an original Latin dance band with a groundbreaking new sound. The term itself refers to a Puerto Rican phrase used to describe the damp and humid air that precedes a heavy rainstorm. The traditional Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms, Bomba & Plena, are combined with other Afro-Caribbean rhythms and jazz to create a fresh contemporary style. The result of this fusion is an explosive sound that both seduces the most skilled dancer and stimulates the most sophisticated listener.Hector “tito” Matos, the director of Viento de Agua, explains the concept: “Our purpose is to disseminate our original and creative way of performing these ancestral rhythms not only to our Latino audience but to the rest of the world music audience. Viento de Agua is ready to assume, with Bomba & Plena, the role that Juan Luis Guerra’s 4-40 and Carlos Vives played with merengues, cumbias and ballenatos, all folk-popular genres that they broke into the mainstream”.This ensemble was conceived and created in New York City in the fall of 1997. Percussionist and singer Héctor “tito” Matos, a native of Santurce, Puerto Rico came up with the idea that master musicians Ricardo Pons and Alberto Toro helped materialize.They recruited some of the best musicians in New York’s musical scene to play the aggressive arrangements: drummer Bobby Sanabria, pianist Desmar Guevarra, bassist Waldo Chávez, trombone player Joe Fiedler were part of the original band. During the fall of 1998, Viento de Agua presented their first production under the Qbadisc Label, De Puerto Rico al Mundo, a recording that was ranked top ten by The New York Times’ Peter Watrous and Latin Beat Magazine as well as many other publications. In 2001, Viento de Agua had thier first solo concert at a sold-out Hostos Center for the Performing Arts. In 2000 its members were awarded the Sunshine Award for best Hispanic Caribbean production. Viento de Agua performed in many important stages, including: WolfTraps Jazz Festival, MassMoca Jazz Fest, Lincoln Center’s Outdoors, Lincoln Center’s MidSummer Nights, Celebrate Brooklyn, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Smithsonian’s Folkways Festival. After returning to his native Puerto Rico in 2004, director Tito Matos restructured the band, incorporating some of the island’s up-and-coming musicians to the project. For 2009 the group plans to travel to perform to the United States and Europe as well as the released of their 3rd album, second with the whole ensemble entitled “Fruta Madura” that debut the music scene last December.
Hector “tito” Matos Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 15, 1968. The oldest son of Hector Matos and Hilda Otero, since his childhood Tito learned to play plena thanks to a pandereta given to him as a Three Kings gift by his grandfather Felipe. Even though, Tito knows the rhythmic rudiments of the Plena and Bomba, is in the requinto, hand-held drum that improvises, where Tito found recognition as one of the best requinto’s players of its generation. Its professional career starts at young age with Los Sapos del Caño, a group of pleneros with a revolutionary edge and directed by Juan “llonsi” Martinez. At the same time, Tito became a member of Los Pleneros del Almendro, and bomba group Agueybana. Tito was also a member of Los Pleneros del Coqui, and Los Pleneros del Pueblo, one of the most explosive and experimental percussive ensemble ever of the genre. Later on he became a requinto player for the legendary group, Los Pleneros de la 23 Abajo, a logical step for this plenero in his ebullition and maturity process. With Roberto Cipreni and his Pleneros de la 23 Abajo, Tito travels extendedly including to the 1992 World Expo in Seville, Spain. With is requinto on hand, Tito has had the opportunity to perform with artists such as; Franco de Vita, Lunna, Pandora, and Lucesita Benitez just to mention a few. Furthermore, Tito recorded in Yolandita Monge’s CD “Mi Encuentro” and in master percussionist Anthony Carrillo’s CD “Mis Raices”. In 1994, Tito moves to New York City to finish his college degree at NYU and later on at CCNY. He becomes a member of Los Pleneros de la 21, recorded in their CD “Somos Boricuas”, and traveled all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and Australia. Moreover, Tito participates as a lead singer and percussionist in there latest’s recording and 2006 Grammy nominated album, Para Todos Ustedes. In 1997, Tito creates Viento de Agua, a group in which he works as a singer, percussionist, composer, arranger, and director. The creative work that Viento de Agua recorded in its first CD “De Puerto Rico al Mundo” gave Tito and his group instant recognition as one of the Top Ten recordings of 1998 in the Peter Watrous’s New York Times column as well as a 2000 Sunshine Award for best Tropical Album. While in NYC, he also performed as a guest artist in Eddie Palmieri’s Grammy Award production “El Rumbero del Piano”, in David Sanchez’s “Obsesion” and “Melaza” productions, and in “Para todos Ustedes” the latest album of Los Pleneros de la 21, all Grammy Award Nominees. Tito also recorded in William Cepeda’s “My Roots and Beyond” and “Afroboricua” as well as in Ralph Irizarri’s Timbalaye CD, and Miguel Zenon’s debut album “Ceremonial”. He also performed at the first ever Ricky Martin’s TV Special and Ricky’s Latest Grammy winner MTV Unplugged DVD and at the Gloria Estefan and Celine Dion @ Radio City Music Hall Special. Moreover, Tito was featured in Popular Bank’s TV Special “Raices”. In New York, he was also signed by Lp, Latin Percussion, as the first plenero in the company artist’s catalog. During his career, Tito has performed on concerts and festivals in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Rep., Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Austria, Canada, Mexico, Australia, many cities in the United States. Moreover, Tito reunited veterans’ practitioners of Bomba and Plena to created Viento de Agua Unplugged, the all-percussive version of the group. The concept receives instant recognition and great reviews, proof of that is the recording of its first album “Materia Prima” produced by prestigious Smithsonian Institute’s label, Folkways Recordings.After 10 years in NYC, Tito returns to his Santurce with a BA in Landscape Architecture and a huge collection of panderetas (hand-held drums traditional of Plena). Tito and fellow plenero Richard Martinez started Los Plenazos Callejeros, a streer-corner improvised celebration of La Plena in where pleneros from all over the island and different generations meet to keep alive the tradition for the only purpose of playing and having a good time. During his entire life, Tito has dedicated himself to learn and teach Bomba & Plena giving lectures, and workshops all over the world; art that he polished with anthropologist Ramón López, PhD. David González and master percusionist Juan Gutiérrez de Los Pleneros de la 21. As recent as in 2009, Tito participates in the recording and performances of “Esta Plena”, the latest production of Jazz alto sax virtuoso, Miguel Zenon, which just received 2 Grammy Award nominations. In addition, Tito & Viento de Agua just released their latest recording entitled “Fruta Madura”, a recording that is already being considered as a classic of Puerto Rican popular music. Tito continues his workshops, plenazos and is also working on an archive of plena songs with the final purpose of publishing a Plena songbook, all to help in the promotion, preservation, and dissemination of the genre that he loves, La Plena.