Verny Varela

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Arranger, composer, singer and flautist, Colombian Verny Varela, a celebrated artistic voice in the Washington D.C. area, is a three-time Wammie nominee, the award given by the Washington Area Music Association. He has worked as a singer, composer and arranger for several artists among which is the world celebrated trip-hop, acid jazz and electronica band, Thievery Corporation, for whom he wrote and sang on the albums The Richest Man in Babylon (2002), The Cosmic Game (2005) and Radio Retaliation (2008).

In 1997, Varela was Gabino Pampini’s orchestra leader and later played for Tito Gomez’ orchestra with whom he toured Europe and North America. He recorded in 2002 with the Broadway Orchestra of New York on their 40th anniversary album. He released his first album, Amar de Nuevo (Love Again) in 2004, followed by Gracias (Thank You) in 2006; album which he fully composed and musically arranged. In 2012 he released his third album, Evolucion (Evolved). Varela has also recorded a bachata and a fusion album. 

2016 kicks off with the release the single “Vive el Momento” (Live the Moment), co-produced by GRAMMY nominees, Luis Bonillas and Luisito Quintero, who also played on percussion. A song inspired by the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, “Vive el Momento” is a musical arrangement by Verny Varela where the influence of his different social contexts reveal a style that fuses street music and his academic world. It was recorded at Sky Light Studios by engineer Guido Diaz, Latin GRAMMY winner as Best Salsa Album for Celia Cruz’ La Negra Tiene Tumbao. Music collaborations include bassist Ruben Rodriguez, best known for having contributed to New York’s modern salsa sound in his work with Sergio George and who has recorded over 250 albums with artists Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Ruben Blades, Isaac Delgado and Marc Anthony; as well Cuban Axel Tosca on piano.

His musical style carries a multitude of genres that have taken him to venues such as the Lincoln Memorial, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Museums, the Embassies of Colombia, Italy, France and Panama in Washington, DC, as well as the III World Salsa Festival in Lima, Peru, the Petronio Alvarez Festival and the Feria de La Caña de Azucar (Sugarcane Fair) in Cali, Colombia, among others. Currently, Verny Varela teaches in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Howard University and is pursuing his doctorate in African studies.