The past, present and future - including band bios and more


Originally formed in 1991, by Boying Geronimo and now headed by his son, Raphael Geronimo, RUMBA CALZADA has been a favorite with Vancouver's Latin Jazz and Salsa enthusiasts for over 15 years.

Rumba Calzada's Vol.3 CD has been nominated for various awards including a 2002 Westcoast Music Award, a 2002 Canadian Independent Music Award, and a 2002 Juno Award. The band performs a powerful blend of Latin Jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms that are...

"Guaranteed to move your feet and reach your soul". - Latin Beat Magazine, Los Angeles

Their latest CD, Album 4, was nominated for a 2008 Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding World Recording of the Year.

In 2008, Rumba Calzada performed at the Miri International Jazz Festival in Sarawak, Malaysia, representing Canada, and was voted as the"crowd favorite" to return for 2009.

"Canadian Based Rumba Calzada brought the house down with their eclectic mix of Latin, Salsa and Afro-Cuban rhythms." -Adam Lee, Music-Room- (Asia)

- Percussionist, Composer, Instructor

Vancouver's interest and enthusiasm for Afro-Latin music can be linked directly to a handful of dedicated artists. Raphael Geronimo has been an integral part of the Vancouver Latin and Jazz scene for more than ten years, performing, teaching, writing and directing for many of the city's best-loved groups. Third generation in a family of professional musicians and dancers, he committed himself at age seventeen to serious musical studies under the direction of his father Boying Geronimo, and made his professional debut one year later.
Continuing his training he studied in Cuba at the Laboratorio Internacional de Folklore en la Habana and in New York City at the Harbour Center of Performing Arts. Raphael continues to lead and direct the band, Rumba Calzada.

Some hilights of his career include performances with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Philharmonic, Windsor Symphony, Montreal Jazz Festival with Oscar Lopez, and Vancouver International Jazz Festival with Rumba Calzada. Raphael has performed with award winner Poncho Sanchez, Sal Cracchiolo and the Juno nominee Chris Tarry Collective. Other groups he has performed and recorded with include Crash, Alma Libre, Meta 4 Collective, Vince Mai, Gay Delorem, Millenium Project and Soul Stream. Raphael has become known for a vibrant and original sound, which energizes any group he is associated with.


Miguelito Valdes carries a rich history of performing with many of Cuba's top performers, including the Cabaret Tropicana Orquesta, Pablo Milanes, Isaac Delgado, Mayito Rivera, Klimax and has participated in award-winning recordings such as "La Rumba Soy Yo", which won a Latin Grammy in 2001. In 2000, he began playing with Omara Portuondo (Diva singer of the Buena Vista Social Club) and traveled around the world for 6 years. He has also played with important jazz musicians abroad, including Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock, John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, Wayne Shorter, and many others. Upon his arrival to Vancouver in March 2006, Miguelito Valdes noted that Vancouver, and in fact Canada, was being deprived of the joy that true traditional Cuban music is. For this reason he decided to bring his love for music to an already vibrant Vancouver latin music scene.

ALLAN JOHNSTON - Ampeg Baby Bass, Composer

Bassist / Composer Allan Johnston has played with many of Vancouver's finest Latin and Jazz groups, including Rumba Calzada, Orquestra La Clave, Orquestra Goma Dura, Alma Libre, Shango Ashe, Xarabanda, his own acclaimed septet Zapato Negro, and many others. He has also had the privilege of playing bass behind some of the legends of Latin Music, including NY Salsa legend and Fania All-Star Larry Harlow (with Seattle's Nueva Era), Grammy winner Lalo Rodriguez (with Orq. La Clave), Cuban piano wizard Ernan Lopez-Nussa (winner of the 2002 Cubadisco award for Latin Jazz), Johnny Rivera (with La Clave), and Los Munequitos de Mantazas (with Shango Ashe). He has traveled extensively throughout the Latin world developing his style, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and New York.

ROLO PREZA - Percussion

Vocalist and percussionist, Rolo was born in El Salvador. where he began his performing career at the age of 12, as a Latin American folk ballet dancer, and later as a teacher in this art. His career as a musician began in Mexico where he played with a number of different groups from 1981-1992, such as Nequepio, Guazapa, Yobocamba I-Ta, Caliente and others. Living in Vancouver since 1992, his passionate percussion work and personality has made him an integral part of many Vancouver bands such as: Rumba Calzada, KinLalat, Vancouver Latin Connection, Kuscapuni, Songo Son, Sumalao and lots more. He studied percussion in Mexico under Cuban, Roberto Vizcaino. Rolo has played and toured throughout North America, Mexico and Europe..


Louis Mastroianni is an active freelance musician based in the Greater Vancouver area for the past twenty-five years. As a pianist, arranger and composer. Louis has performed and recorded with a variety of artists including the Cuaban Folkloric group Los Muniequitos de Matanzas; Grammy Award winner Poncho Sanchez; Juno Nominees jazz vocalist groups, Orquestra Goma Dura, Shango Ashe, Alma Libre, Zapato Negro, and Xarabanda. Louis' education background includes attending the Capilano Commercial Music program and a full scholarship to the Banff School of Fine Arts, where he studied with bassist Dave Holland, pianist Don Thompson, guitarist John Abercrombie, alto saxaphonist Lee Konitz, and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. Louis also traveled to Havana, Cuba to persue studies in Afro-Cuban music. In Havana, Louis studied with pianist Emilio Morales, Congero Anga, and Tres player Papi.

NICK APIVOR - Percussionist, Keyboardist

Nick Apivor, originally from Zimbabwe, Africa, has played with many of Vancouver's groups such as The Victoria Symphony, NOW Orchestra, Rumba Calzada, Ache Brasil, Out of the Woods, Gypsalero, SWARM, Percussionworks, Digital Guise, and more. Nick also has a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria, and has studied at P.A.S.I.C, S.F.U, and Vancouver Community College. Nick has studied Afro-Cuban percussion with Sal Ferreras, South Indian classical percussion with Trichy Sankaran, Frame drumming with Glen Velez, and African Drumming with Modesto Amagago. He has also been a part of nominations such as the West Coast Music Awards with Ache Brasil for "Best Live Act" and the Juno awards with Rumba Calzada for "World Music Album of the Year". Even getting to be a musical part of TV shows "Tell-a-Tale Town", "Breakfast Show", and "Vicki Gabereau".

ROD MURRAY - Trombone

Rod Murray, born in Summerland, BC has been a freelance musician for the last 20 years with a variety of styles and still playing. He has been a part of the bands Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra, Hard Rubber Orchestra, Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation (VEJI), NOW Orchestra, Rumba Calzada, Ugetsu Project, and the Bruce Freedman Quartet. Rod has also played with bands such as Eddie Daniels, Kenny Wheeler, Slide Hampton, Johnny Rivera, George Lewis, Don Thompson, and lots more. He has even recorded with the NOW orchestra, VEJI, Yes, and Sam Roberts. Rod received his education in Antigonish, Nova Scotia at St. Francis Xavier University studying Jazz. He also studied in Edmonton, Alberta at Grant McEwan Community College receiving a diploma for Music Performance.


Rumba Calzada

RAPHAEL GERONIMO - Percussionist, Timbales, Vocals



ROLANDO PREZA - Congas/Vocalist


NICHOLAS APIVOR - Vibraphone/Multi-instrumentalist

ROD MURRAY - Trombone


Vancouver Impressions: Pinoy-Led Latin Band Makes Waves
by Mel Tobias (Planet Philippines)

Raphael (Rabbie) Geronimo, British Columbia’s leading percussionist and leader of the popular Latin band RUMBA CALZADA, recently released his 4th CD. It’s simply titled Rumba Calzada Album 4. There are 10 original songs with seven composed by Rabbie, who is no longer referred to as Boying Geronimo’s talented young son. If you recall, Boying was an accomplished and well-known musician and dancer both in the Philippines and Canada. He suffered a heart attack while performing at a leading Makati hotel in Manila. He died in June 1985. CLICK TO READ WHOLE REVIEW

Rumba Calzada – Album 4 (Warner)
by Cal Koat (World Beat Canada)

One could assume that for Rumba Calzada, an album title is not as important as acknowledging this particular point in the journey. The previous three albums from these Vancouver stalwarts on the Latin music scene have also received simple, numerical designations. It makes more sense when you consider that the band is continuing a legacy of Latin rhythms that goes back three generations to percussionist/leader Raphael Geronimo's grandfather. CLICK TO READ WHOLE REVIEW



"This one stays in the CD player. A classic."
(, New York)

"Rumba Calzada now leads in the nuevo fusion Latin music movement and picked up a few award nominations along the way."
(The Philippine Star, Manila)

"... guaranteed to move your feet and reach your soul."
(Latin Beat Magazine, Los Angeles)

"If great things are worth waiting for then this soulful almost mesmerizing , project proves it."
(, New York)

"...a world class Latin Band."
(The Province, Vancouver, B.C.)

"The contagious sound is novel, contemporary, distinctive and perfect for either passive listening or active dancing."
(Planet Philippines, Manila)

"... it is more than refreshing to hear the deeply swinging, yet subter, approach offered by Rumba Calzada, arguably one of Canada's finest Latin bands."
(, New York)

"...another four star effort from one of our city's finest."
(Worldbeat, Canada)

"...labelled as Latin jazz, but the group leaps over that generic term by virtue of some clever arranging..."
(The Province, Vancouver, B.C.)