Helsinki-based percussionist Ricardo Padilla (b. Talcahuano, Chile 1971) is a true World Music Chameleon, feeling equally at home playing African rhythms with Arnold Chiwalala, Rameau and Bach with the Finnish Baroque Orchestra or Mikis Theodorakis with Arja Saijonmaa.
Ricardo started his early musical explorations playing music from his native Chile as well as other South American countries with guitar and other stringed instruments as well as a multitude of wind instruments from the region - this being the foundation he draws upon when collaborating in production duties like the Meie Küla Laulud cd that won the Estonian Music Award for best Folk Album in 2012.
Percussion came his primary instrument while in his late teens he met Cuban percussion teacher and investigator Tomas Jimeno Diaz, who had a big role in instigating the enthusiasm for all thing percussive and polyrhythmic.
Ricardo started quickly ganing reputation playing with Salsa groups like Septeto Son and Julio Romero’s Ritmo Latino, Jere Laukkanen’s Afro Cuban Orchestra, Umo Jazz Orchestra and other latin and jazz ensembles.
In 1999 Ricardo met Finnish flamenco guitar great Raul Mannola, joining his flamenco jazz quintet as well as accompanying him and dancer Aylin Bayaz on more traditional flamenco projects. This partnership led to Ricardo becoming a first-call accompanist for flamenco projects in Finland. Around the same time started the collaboration with baroque harpist and conductor Andrew Laurence-King, playing mostly 17th and 18th century music from Spain and it’s American colonies, broadening Ricardo’s view on the cultural ties between old Spanish dances, flamenco and his own roots in South-American folk music.
Ricardo’s vast experience in a multitude of musical cultures led him to teaching ethnic percussion at the Sibelius-Academy’s Folk and Global Music departments. Recent recording projects include playing arabic rhythms for Egyptian Rock Star Ramy Essam’s upcoming album, Finnish medieval songs with the Utopia Chamber Choir, flamenco-jazz with the group Cuejero and the new album with Finnish pop star Samuli Edelmann, adding latin and flamenco flavours to his radio-friendly songs. Most of 2018 will be spent touring with Samuli and the gypsy band Orkestra Suora Lähetys, to honor the artist’s 50 years celebrations.