One issue for Chavez is the dominance of certain styles of music from certain countries in the media. He says, “The styles and countries that are portrayed through the media are mainly Cuba, Mexico and sometimes Brazil but most people don’t know much about the music of Colombia, Bolivia or Panama. Why? Cuba and Mexico are closer to America so they have access to the radio or TV but Panama or Guatemala are very far away from those centres of broadcasting and recording.”
He adds, “Everything is geared toward entertainment but not all the music from Latin America is for dancing. There is sad music, there is serious music, there is spiritual music and it doesn’t have to make you jump and dance and laugh every time. Musicians also have to reflect reality.”
Educating people about music is something in which Chavez strongly believes. He says, “We teach and we do lots of seminars and educational concerts. I do percussion workshops in most of the schools of the Toronto District school board, I go to Ottawa, Montréal and Kingston and I teach. The piano player is always teaching piano and he’s a percussionist too so we do drum workshops together.”
Chavez continues, “The educational aspect is very important, maybe the most important aspect of our band because if we educate the new generation in the future you will find knowledgeable people. We don’t want to just play and get a cheque at the end of the month. It’s our mandate to be committed to education.”
One of Chavez’ main inspirations is the children he teaches. He says, “They’re always teaching me something new. I'm inspired by their curiosity, their way of handling the instruments and the questions they have.”
Listening to a wide variety of music also helps inspire Chavez. He points out, “I listen to lots of Latin American music like Isaac Delgado from Cuba, rock bands from Mexico and Venezuela, music from India and I’m constantly listening to Greek music which is my secret passion.”
Finally Chavez practices on his instruments daily. He says, “Every day I practice my conga drums or or my flamenco exercises to be in tune with the traditions."