Born and raised in El Cerro, the vibrant heart of Havana, Cuba, where Afro-Cuban music and culture is ubiquitous. Raised by a family of dancers and musicians, Rolando’s inspiration is never far from these art forms.
In the early 1990s, Rolando left Cuba for a new beginning in Sweden, following in the footsteps of his brother, Raúl Lara. He immediately started performing with his brother, who had firmly established himself as one the premier players in the Latin music community in Scandinavia. The Lara brothers, often perform together with their own bands, and with many other musicians including El Rey Shangó, Timba Odara, Son Entero and Raúl Lara y sus Soneros.
Initially a self-taught percussionist, Rolando completed his Bachelors Degree at age 36 from the Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Gothenburg. In 2004, while studying at the Academy of Music, Lara was awarded honorable recognition and cultural grant by the city of Gothenburg. Rolando continues exploring and developing Cuban music in Northern Europe, bringing diversity and innovation to his projects including Timba Odara (Afro-Cuban Jazz) and Habaneros (Traditional Son).
As a young boy in Cuba, Rolando enjoyed listening to traditional orchestras perform various Afro-Cuban styles of music including Danzón, Mambo, Cha-Cha-Cha and Boleros. After many years away from his native land, Rolando returned to Cuba to research traditional music of Cuban orchestras and big bands, which were led by such great composers as Ernesto Lecuona, Bebo Valdés and Adolfo Guzman. This was the beginning of his project, El Rey Shangó Superior.
Rolando is, without any doubt, a leading advocate of the Afro-Cuban culture. He has expanded the vocabulary of Afro-Cuban music with his arrangements and performances, which feature a wide range of Cuban music styles like Afro-Cuban Folklore, Timba and Afro-Cuban Jazz. In 2013, Rolando had the honor of being part of Raúl Lara y Sus Soneros Grammy Award nomination for Best Tropical Latin Album category.
Rolando’s musical character is timeless and groundbreaking, and he strives to maintain the roots of the Afro-Cuban rhythms in all his productions. The result is a confluence between the traditional and the contemporary while highlighting his own original style.