Biography

Elmer Ferrer is a Cuban-Canadian multi-awarded guitarist, music composer, producer and session musician, known for exceptional guitar and musicianship skills as one of the strongest voices in modern guitar music, as much as for being one of the most versatile and prolific session musicians ever from the legendary high-quality music producing island. 

Born in 1973 in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Elmer first started to play guitar at age 11 and graduated from Classical Guitar at the National School of Arts in Havana at age 18. One year after graduating he became a teacher of Electric Guitar at the very same National School of Arts.  By this time, Elmer’s professional career as a composer and guitarist had already kick off, while on his second last year as a student, Elmer joined Estado de Animo, one of Cuba’s most celebrated jazz fusion bands at the time, which featured some of the greatest musicians of that young generation (Descemer Bueno, Roberto Carcasses, Ruy Lopez-Nussa and Elmer Ferrer) and in addition, was the accompanying band for one of Cuba’s most beloved songwriters, Santiago Feliu – with whom Elmer continued to record and tour internationally extensively through the years. 

Ferrer launched his solo career in 2002, winning Best New Album of Year and a nomination as Best Jazz Album of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2003 with his first release Metropoli. His original instrumental Los Gatos de Alf, included in this CD, was Honorable Mention in the Jazz category at the International Songwriting Competition ISC 2006. Elmer was also one of three artists featured in Jazz Cuba Today, the first Jazz DVD made in Cuba, winner Best DVD of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2006. Elmer’s solo projects (the Elmer Ferrer Band, the Elmer Ferrer Trio and the Elmer Ferrer Jazz Project) feature Ferrer’s original music -a revolutionary, advanced take on the mix of Cuban, Latin, Jazz, Rock, Blues and World music, and have headlined international music festivals across the globe since 2005. Elmer has also performed Guitar Workshops and Master Classes at international festivals and events in multiple continents. 

Elmer has recorded over 150 CDs including two Latin Grammy nominee and several award-winning albums, and has performed live with world superstar artists like Zucchero, Juan Formell & Los Van Van, Chucho Valdes and Sting. Ferrer’s work as a session musician is a journey through remarkable collaborations with international stars from all sorts of musical genres, with highlights such as being guest artist on three recordings by the Grammy winner Cuban super group Juan Formell & Los Van Van, recording guitars on Grammy Nominee album Erase que Se Era by another Cuba and Latin-America’s favourite singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, and recording and touring with Italian superstar Zucchero -including performances at Nokia Theatre LA with Don Was and Randy Jackson and at Madison Square Garden with Giovannotti and Sting amongst other world-famous artists, as part of the Zucchero & La Session Cubana Americana Tour in 2104. 

Ferrer has also recorded a number of movie soundtracks, including recording guitars for the winner Best Score Goya Award film Habana Blues, recording the guitar of music legend singer Benny More for the movie El Benny with Cuban Grammy nominee producer Juan Manuel Ceruto, and being a featured artist in the Wim Wenders production Musica Cubana The Next Generation. Ferrer has also recorded with legendary producers Mike Clink, Don Was, Blake Mills and Bob Ezrin, and has produced multiple awarded music recordings himself, including his own. 

From his home and studio based in Toronto, Ferrer continues to tour and record with some of the most significant music talent around. Recent work includes recording and performing with Canadian icon fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy -with whom Elmer has been touring since 2015. Elmer is also the guitarist for Mark Kelso & the Jazz Exiles and the Larnell Lewis Band and recorded guitars on the first release by the drummer of three-time Grammy Award winning band Snarky Puppy -Larnell’s 2018 release In the Moment. He also frequently works with Canadian musician and film maker Les Stroud Survivorman”, recording guitars for the 2018 release Bittern Lake and performing in the US & Canada multiple times since 2015. 

Elmer is currently recording his 4th solo CD, an all instrumental album featuring performances by master drummers Larnell Lewis and Kiki Ferrer, bass monsters Rich Brown, Alain Perez, Marc Rogers and Roberto Riveron, virtuoso harmonica player Roni Eytan and acclaimed Celtic fiddlers Natalie MacMaster & Donnel Leahy among others.

AWARDS and NOMINATIONS

Awards and Nominations - Soloist / Composer: 

  • Metropoli | Elmer Ferrer (Unicornio, 2002): Winner Best New Album of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2003; Nominee Best Jazz Album of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2003. 
  • Jazz Cuba Today (Live DVD) | Roberto Carcasses, Alexander Brown and Elmer Ferrer (Unicornio, 2005): Winner Best DVD of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2006. 
  • Los Gatos de Alf | Elmer Ferrer: Honorable Mention Best Jazz Song of the Year International Songwriting Competition (ISC), 2006. 
  • Andante | Cesar Lopez & Habana Ensemble (Bis Music, 2005): Winner Best Jazz Album of the Year Cubadisco 2006; includes Elmer’s original composition Kelembe. 
  • Estado de Animo (CD & DVD) | Estado de Animo (Roberto Carcasses, Descemer Bueno, Elmer Ferrer & Ruy Lopez-Nussa (Colibri, 2014): Nominee Best Jazz Album of the Year and Best Musical Documentary Cubadisco Awards 2015; includes two original compositions by Elmer (El Mueble de Bebita and Sin Nombre).

Awards and nominations - Music Production / Arrangements: 

  • 37 songs - Homage to Noel Nicola | Various Artists (SGAE/Ojala, 2007): Special Award Cubadisco 2008. Elmer credits: Music arrangement and acoustic guitarist for Nube, Agua, Ala y Brisa. 
  • De Cero | Diego Gutierrez (Unicornio, 2006): Winner Best Trova-Pop-Rock Album of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2007. Elmer credits: Music arrangement, Music Production and Electric & Acoustic Guitar recording. 
  • Mi Generacion | Tesis de Menta (Egrem, 2006): Nominee Best Pop-Rock Album of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2007. Elmer credits: Music arrangement, Music Production and Electric Guitar recording. 
  • Jazz Cuba Today | Alexander Brown, Roberto Carcasses and Elmer Ferrer (Unicornio, 2005): Winner Best DVD of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2006. Elmer credits: composer, music arrangement, music producer and guitarist Elmer Ferrer Band segment (Fango Dance, Aurin, E-Blues, “Satch”arina”). 
  • Metropoli | Elmer Ferrer (Unicornio, 2002): Winner Best New Album of the Year, Nominee Best Jazz Album of The Year Cubadisco Awards 2003. Elmer credits: composer, music arrangements, music producer and guitarist (electric & acoustic).  

Awards and nominations – Movie soundtrack recordings: 

  • Habana Blues. Director: Benito Zambrana. Winner Goya Award for Best Original Score, 2006. 
  • El Benny. Director: Jorge Luis Sanchez. Winner Grand Coral First Prize Havana International Film Festival 2006. Nominations: Best Film Cartagena Film Festival 2007, Golden Leopard Locarno International Film Festival 2006, Best Latin-American Film Mar del Plata Film Festival 2007. 
  • Musica Cubana La Nueva Generacion (a Wim Wenders Production; Director: German Kral). Nominee Best Documentary, International Jury São Paulo International Film Festival Awards 2004.

Awards and nominations – recording guitarist (acoustic / electric): 

  • In the Moment | Larnell Lewis (Larnell Lewis, 2018): Nominee Jazz Album of the Year: Solo, Juno Awards 2019.
  • Ayre: Live | Miriam Khalil (Against the Grain Records, 2018): Nominee Classical Album of The Year, Vocal/Choral, Juno Awards 2019. 
  • Estado de Animo (CD & DVD) | Estado de Animo (Roberto Carcasses, Descemer Bueno, Elmer Ferrer & Ruy Lopez-Nussa (Colibri, 2014): Nominee Best Jazz Album of the Year; Nominee Best Musical Documentary of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2015. 
  • Walk to the Sea | David Buchbinder & Odessa/Havana (Tzadi. 2013): Winner Juno Awards 2014, World Music Album of the Year. 
  • Aquí el que baila gana El Concierto (CD & DVD) | Juan Formell & Los Van Van (CD & Live Show DVD; Planet /Egrem, 2007): Winner in five categories including the Grand Prize Cubadisco 2009. 
  • Se Feliz | Fernando Alvarez y Descemer Bueno (Egrem, 2008): Nominee Best Song Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2009. 
  • Solo tu y yo | Giraldo Piloto & Klímax (Bis Music, 2008): Nominee Best Popular Music Album of the Year; Winner Best Recording of the Year Cubadisco 2009. 
  • Lo que quiero es fiesta | Orlando Valle "Maraca" (Ahí-namá Music, 2008): Nominee Best Popular Music Album of the Year Cubadisco 2009. 
  • Lo que tu querias | Gardi (Bis Music, 2008): Nominee Best Popular Music Album of the Year Cubadisco 2009. 
  • Obatalá estoy aquí | Mayra Caridad Valdés (Colibrí, 2007): Winner Best Vocal Album of the Year; Nominee Best Fusion Album of the Year Cubadisco 2008. 
  • Dayramir & Habana Entrance | Dayramir González (Colibrí, 2008): Nominee Best Jazz Album of the Year Cubadisco 2008. 
  • Érase que se era | Silvio Rodríguez (Ojalá/Sony BMG, 2006): Nominee Best Singer-Songwriter Album of the Year, Latin Grammy Awards 2007. 
  • Andante | Cesar Lopez & Habana Ensemble (Bis Music, 2005): Winner Best Jazz Album of the Year Cubadisco 2006. 
  • La Isla Milagrosa | William Vivanco (Egrem, 2006): Winner Best Fusion Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2007. 
  • A Diario | Telmary Díaz (Bis Music, 2006): Winner Best Rap Dance-Hip Hop Album of the Year Cubadisco 2007. 
  • Soy yo | Orlando Valle "Maraca" (Ahí-namá Music, 2005): Nominee Best Salsa Album of the Year; Winner Best Recording of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2006. 
  • Chapeando | Juan Formell & Los Van Van (Unicornio, 2004): Nominee Best Contemporary Tropical Album Latin Grammy Awards 2005. 
  • En vivo Santiago Feliú (Unicornio, 2005): Nominee Best Trova Album, Cubadisco 2006. 
  • Goza pepillo | Interactivo (BIS Music, 2005): Winner Grand Prize Best Overall Album of the Year Cubadisco Awards 2006. 
  • Ilusión Paulo FG (Bis Music, 2005): Winner Best Song Album of the Year Cubadisco 2006. 
  • Yo te invito a caminar conmigo | Anabell López (Unicornio, 2005): Nominee Best Pop-Fusion Album of the Year Cubadisco 2006. 
  • Raza | Gerardo Alfonso (Bis Music, 2005): Winner Best Trova-Pop-Rock Album of the Year Cubadisco 2006. 
  • Sax Soul | Germán Velasco (Colibrí, 2005): Nominee Best Jazz Album and Best Instrumental Album of the Year Cubadisco 2006. 
  • Trovador | Amaury Pérez (Unicornio, 2003): Nominee Best Song Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2004. 
  • Yusa | Yusa (TUMI Music, 2002): Winner Best Fusion Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2003. 
  • Metropoli | Elmer Ferrer (Unicornio, 2002): Winner Best New Album of the Year and Nominee Best Jazz Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2003. 
  • Sin Julieta | Santiago Feliú (Unicornio, 2003): Nominee Best Trova Pop-Rock Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2004.  
  • Entre otros | Noel Nicola & Santiago Feliú (Unicornio, 2003): Nominee Best Song Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2004. 
  • Brain Storm | Habana Sax (Egrem, 2002): Nominee Best Jazz Album of the Year Cubadisco 2003. 
  • Futuro Inmediato | Santiago Feliú (BIS Music, 1999): Winner Best Rock Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2000. 
  • Tiene que ver Roberto Fonseca (Egrem, 1998): Winner Best Jazz Album of the Year, Cubadisco 1999. 
  • Jazz Timbero | Bobby Carcassés (TUMI Music, 1998): Nominee in five categories including Best Album of the Year, Cubadisco 1999.

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