Rolando Lara

El Rey Shango Superior Orchestra



As a young boy Rolando used to go every Friday to the Central park of Havana and listen to the wind orchestras and Big band playing different Cuban stiles like Danzón, Mambo, Cha-Cha-Cha and Boleros. He was especially intrigued by the constellation of the Big bands and the beautifully subtle melodies combined with afro-Cuban rhytms.  

This would later become the inspiration and drive for the birth of one of the most important musical achievement in rolandos musciacl carrer. In response to how the fundamental cuban musical genres like Danzón, Pilón, Mozambique etc. was slowly being forgotten, composer and musician Rolando Lara created El Rey Shango Superior Orchestra.

El Rey Shangó Superior Orchestra is an important project with the goal of preserving the multifaceted development of Cuba’s vibrant musical heritage. The orchestra is composed of 24 musicians who perform outstanding arrangements from the early 20th century and beyond. Performing pieces written and composed by some of the greatest pioneers of Cuban popular music, the orchestra demonstrates through live performance what Cuban music is all about, illustrating the island’s cosmopolitan history, dynamic culture, and penchant for improvisation.

His aim was to reclaim and regain the tradition of orchestras and big bands. To once again revive its soul that has influenced and concurred worldwide.

Orchestra El Rey Shango Superior reinvigorates the aftermath of an Afro Cuban legacy, taking you on a musical journey to where it all began.



Rolando Lara is a percussionist, composer and bandleader performing and advocating the Afro-Cuban music and culture for now more than two decades.He has expanded the vocabulary of the Cuban music scene by arranging and playing a wide range of different stiles like Afro-Cuban Jazz, Timba, Rumba, Mambo, Pilón and many more. This has enabled Rolando to create music and projects with a dynamic and rich combination of rhythms forms and sonorities. 

As the leading percussionist of American Grammy group Raúl Lara y Sus Soneros he now thrives to continue international collaborations with other musicians and artists alongside his own projects.

Born in the vibrant city of Havana to a family of musicians and dancers the exposure of the diverse and vivid Cuban music was always close, inspiring and molding a young Rolando to later in life choose the natural path as a musician.

In the early 1990s Lara followed the footsteps of his brother Raúl Lara and left Cuba for Sweden. The Lara brothers have a solid platform in Scandinavia and have accomplished an exciting and high quality body of work. Rolando has during his years in Sweden continued to performe, explore and develop the scene of Cuban music by bringing diversity and innovation to his bands and projects El Rey Shango Superior Orchestra, Timba Odara, and Habaneros.






Photographer: Reneé de Càrdenas