Composer and singer.
Born in Havana on April 11, 1963. At the beginning of the 70´s he started to study music. In 1977 he began to play battery in some rock bands organized at his school and composed his first songs. In 1980 he joined the Nueva Trova Movement and began to perform in theaters and small halls in Havana and in other Cuban provinces.
In 1983 he started a 5 year course on Performance at the Theater Faculty at the Instituto Superior de Arte de Cuba (ISA, Higher Institute of Art), where he graduated as an actor. Three years later he made a long artistic tour through Spain, invited by the Cuban cantautor Silvio Rodríguez. Also in 1986 he performed together with Mercedes Sosa and León Gieco, from Argentina, at the Karl Marx Theater, in Havana,. In 1987 he created his own band with musicians from the National School of Art and ISA and began combining the song with elements of pop and rock music.
In the 80´s, tog ether with some other singers-composers (cantautores), Carlos Varela created a new space in the Cuban cultural panorama, called Novísima Trova both by the audience and the critics.
In 1989 he gave a great concert at the renowned Sala Chaplin (Chaplin Hall) in Havana, where he sang for the first time the songs included in his first record, Jalisco Park.
Since then, a great number of new concerts took place in crowded halls of the capital. In 1990 he became the first artist of his generation capable of overcrowding the Karl Marx Theater, for three consecutive nights, surpassing the capacity of 5000 people every night. At the same time, as a result of the increasing international popularity of his music, Varela gave concerts in Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, performing together with Joaquín Sabina, Antonio Flores and often with Silvio Rodríguez and Pablo Milanés. From his second record Carlos Varela en vivo, made in 1991, David Byrne took the version of Guillermo Tell, perhaps Varela´s most emblematic and disseminated song, to include it in the phonogram "Clásicos de la Música Cubana". The following year he recorded his third CD, Monedas al aire, and "Robinson", a video clip based on that record, was promoted for a whole year by the Latin Division of the American MTV chain.
In November 1995, in Barcelona, Varela was granted the Ondas Prize awarded to the best Latin Artist Revelation and at the awarding ceremony he shared the stage with guitarist Knopfler, Celine Dion, Sabina and Ketama. In the 90´s, Varela performed once more in some international scenarios usually visited by him, and was also successful in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Madison, Miami and Brussels.
In 1998, the Spanish singer Miguel Bosé included the theme Muros, by Carlos Varela, in his record Once maneras de ponerse el sombrero. In 1999 that song was also included in Bosé´s album, Grandes Exitos. That same year, Varela was awarded the most outstanding prize of Cuban discography, the Cubadisco Prize, for his CD Monedas al aire, and was honored with the National Culture Medal.
His artistic career is constantly ascending. A great number of national and international concerts, his large discography and the audience's preference for his music and the lyrics of his songs reaffirms the fact that Carlos Varela is one of the most genuine heirs of the Cuban Nueva Trova and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Novísima Trova.
"With Carlos Varela a classic was born for classic is only what remains. And what remains does not bore, and that which allows freedom of creation of individual and different inner worlds is not boring"
A contemporary classic, a Cuban that tells daily stories about his country in a subtle and dainty way that penetrates the universal soul. A Cuban that in a realistic or metaphoric way faces his country´s problems, though always returning to his people, thinking of a better future for everyone". Nacho Sáenz de Tejada.