For more information on Daniel's album release, SAN RAFAEL 560, please visit Sabor Records web site at:

Welcome to the Daniel de los Reyes Q&A

Hi Daniel! Wow!! I saw you perform with Stevie at the House of Blues in Los Angeles recently. Your bongo solo blew me away. What was it like for you to perform with Stevie? Have you followed her music over the years like the rest of us? Do you have plans to play with Stevie on her next tour? That would be really neat because you were absolutely great.
Performing with Stevie Nicks was a fantastic experience for me. I can not think of a better way to begin the new century. I have admired Stevie as a musician and listened to her music for many years so to get the chance to perform with her was an incredible thrill for me. Every performance with Stevie was absolutely great. However, I would have to say that the concert on New Years Eve in Las Vegas was the best and also the most memorable for me. Since one of the places I grew up in is Las Vegas, I still have family living there and they were able to attend the concert that night along with other friends and relatives who joined us. So looking at my family off the side of the stage, performing with the great and wonderful musicians that Stevie tours with, and, of course, seeing Stevie Nicks in front of me singing and "kicking _ _ _!" made it an unforgrettable night. What more can I say. And add to that the fact that we brought in the new century together!! It would definately be a privilege for me to perform with Stevie Nicks again in the future.

I saw the reviews for Stevie's millenium concerts on the "NicksFix" page and your bongo solo is mentioned repeatedly. I was wondering if the bongos are your favorite percussion instrument to play?
I think what you are trying to ask me is if the congas are my favorite percussion instrument to play. The bongos are small and on Stevie's show I did not get to play them very much. So to answer your question, yes, congas are my favorite instrument to play. Although most percussion instruments are very physical instruments, some are much more than others. The congas are at the top of the list. They demand technique, a lot of endurance, and they make you sweat. It is a great workout!

If the opportunity were to arise again, would you consider another world tour in the near future, or are you enjoying having the chance to do a variety of gigs for now?
I am always open to exploring different career options. I love traveling around the world because it gives me the opportunity to see and hear a variety of things that I would otherwise not be exposed to. I have been very fortunate in my career to have been able to travel all over the world. So I guess to answer your question, I enjoy performing with a variety of musicians in a wide range of settings like I am right now. But of course I would definately consider a longer tour if the opportunity presented itself and the timing fit in with my current schedule.

I have read that there are two sisters in the de los Reyes family, but I've never heard much about them. Since your father and older brother are both in the music field and Kamar is a professional actor who also has an interest in music, are either of your sisters musicians or involved in the music field in any way?
I am blessed with a large family. Besides my brothers, I also have two very wonderful sisters. My youngest sister recently gave birth to her third child and between all of my siblings, I have lots of nieces and nephews. Neither one of my sisters have chosen to be involved in the music industry. I can tell you that they have lots of musical rhythm in their blood though. They both love to dance!!

Hi Daniel! I went to your web site. I see that you have performed with a lot of people besides Stevie Nicks. What was it like to play at the Taj Mahal? Do you want to go back to India someday?
It was an incredible experience for me to perform at the Taj Mahal. The people in India gave all of the musicians a very warm reception which means a lot when you are away from home for long periods of time. I would most definately love to go back to India someday. The next time I visit, I would like to explore different parts of the country because the music varies greatly from the north to the south. I would also like to go trekking up the Himalayas. And of course, I would be very excited to see the humble, caring, and giving friends that I made while I was over there.

My wife and I are Yanni fans and own the "Tribute" video. Our 4-year-old son is usually in the room and watches it with us in bits and pieces since he has a short attention span. He is fascinated while watching Joel Taylor play the drums and you playing the congas. I believe I read somewhere that you also play the drumset as well as a variety of percussion instruments. What advice do you have to begin my son's musical instruction? He has had none yet but is banging on everything in sight. What age do you think is appropriate to begin the drums? Thank you for any information you can offer us and for doing this Q&A session. I never dreamed I would be able to ask you first-hand for advice. We enjoy your performances with Yanni very much. You possess incredible talent and any suggestions you can share with us would be helpful.
I personally started to play drums at the age of two so it is never too early. However, I did not begin formal lessons until I was around ten. The important thing to remember is "is the child having fun?" You have to make sure that the child falls in love with playing and is enjoying themselves. Sometimes when you are too strict at such an early age, it is too much and then the child ends up pulling away from the instrument. So my suggestion is to just let them enjoy it. Let them watch videos of different bands and different drummers. Videos are great because the child gets to see drummers in action. You will find that they will tell you immediately who they like and don't like. There are currently many great videos on the market that you can purchase for your son. There is one really great video by Jeff Porcaro that children really love but it is a little hard to find. I don't know the title off the top of my head but it is definately worth the effort to try to find it. I wish you and your son many enjoyable hours of drumming if that should be his desire. Good luck!

Hi Danny! Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents and taking the time to answer questions. I was wondering now that your much awaited for CD "San Rafael 560" has been released, what are your next set of goals that you would like to achieve? Also with your busy schedule, I was curious when you want to take a break from it all, what do you like to do? Thank for your answers and your time.
Well, that is a good question. As far as goals I have concerning the "San Rafael 560" project, there are two things that I am working on. The first is to get a good distribution deal that will place the "San Rafael 560" album in stores in the United States and also abroad. The second goal that is in the planning stages is to take the San Rafael 560 group and perform in some of the major cities across the United States such as San Francisco, Miami, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. That will be very exciting and I am looking forward to that very much. To answer your question about what I like to do to take a break from it all, my favorite thing would be to take off outdoors and get close to nature. Some examples would be I like to go horseback riding in the Rockies or escape to the warm waters of the Caribbean.

Hi Daniel! First of all, thanks for keeping all your fans up to date with updates from Sabor Records. I knew about this Q&A and saw you perform with Jennifer Lopez on "Saturday Night Live" last week because of that. So THANKS!! You were really incredible on SNL. I don't know who was more fun to watch--you or Jennifer Lopez!! My question is during one of the songs you were using a drumstick in one hand and your other hand was playing a conga. Wow. How do you do that? Isn't it hard to keep different rhythms going with different parts of your body? I read once that you also play things with your feet at the same time too. I guess what I want to know is how much practice does it take to play so many rhythms and instruments at once? I really hope you play with Stevie Nicks again and maybe this time I can get there to see the concert! Of course you'd have to come to Michigan!
Thank you so much for the compliment. Playing one instrument with one hand or doing one rhythm with one hand and a second rhythm with the other hand is not hard at all. It is a bit tricky at first just like anything you attempt that is unfamiliar to you but once you do it enough times, it becomes very natural. The key is to start slowly using very basic techniques and then little by little get more complex.

Hey Daniel! Great job at the House of Blues concerts with Stevie. I saw you in Anaheim and you "knocked my socks off" with your solo. Are you going to be touring with Stevie or any other performer in the southern California area in the near future where I can catch you in action again?
Well on February 11, I am playing with Stevie in San Francisco for the NBA All Stars but by the time you read this, that date will probably be past. As far as future tours, of course if Stevie asked me to do a tour with her, I would love to do it. I think she is wonderful to work with. It would be a great honor.

Hello Daniel. I know you play percussion and drums (and you are GREAT by the way) but I wondered what other instrument, if any, were you drawn to as a child? What other instrument do enjoy listening to? And since you have played with a wide range of artists over the years, who would you like to work with that you have not yet? Thanks.
Growing up in a home surrounded by drums of all types, I was always fascinated by them. My mother tells me that I was instinctively drawn to the drums as early as two years old. I guess if I would ever consider learning any other musical instrument seriously, I mean to pursue professionally, I would have say it would be the bass. To answer your question about what artist I would like to work with in the future, that is an impossible list to create. It would be endless!!

Hi Daniel! Recently saw you on "Saturday Night Live" with Jennifer Lopez. Great performance! When you play with someone, such as Jennifer or Stevie, on a song for an album, and they go on tour or perform live, is your live performance with them arranged beforehand when it's recorded or does it depend on your schedule at the time?
Thank you for your kind words about my performance on "Saturday Night Live". The live performance is not arranged ahead of time. The great thing about percussion is that you can add and improvise if you do it gracefully.

Hi Danny! Have you ever had the opportunity to work with Marc Anthony? Reason that I ask is because my husband and I just saw his HBO Special and we said: "Where is Danny? It would be so much fun to see Danny and all his wonderful talents with Marc Anthony!!!!" Thank you for taking the time to answer questions from your fans. You're the BEST!
Thank you for the compliment. No, I have not had the opportunity to work with Marc Anthony. I think he is so great and he is one of my favorites. I would LOVE to get the chance to work with him in the future.

Hi Danny! I was privileged to see you perform with Yanni on the TRIBUTE tour and I have to tell you that as much as I love Yanni, you really added a lot to his music. You were great! I know you play a wide variety of percussion instruments so my question may be silly but here goes. I was wondering if you were stranded on a desert island for say one month with no other people and only food and water, what instrument would you chose to take with you? Imagine that you can't bring along anything else but the food, water, and one percussion instrument. Which one would you take and why would you choose that instrument? Well I hope this question gets your brain cells working! Thanks in advance for indulging my unusual question.
Thank you for the interesting question. As far as what instrument I would bring with me, it would depend on whether I am going to carry everything to my destination by myself or if I am going to get some help and then be left alone. If I have some help, I can tell you that it would definately be the congas because they are my favorite percussion instrument to play. Also I can play them for long periods of time and that would help me to keep my hands up. What I mean by that is it would enable me to keep my hands strong while I am on this desert island for a month. LOL Now if I do not have help, it would have to be the bongos. They are small hand drums and easy to carry. So I guess with or without help, by bringing either congas or bongos I could get a good workout!!

I've been listening to San Rafael 560 for a couple of weeks now and I've got to say "It's Great!" You certainly have captured the feeling of that era. What a wonderful tribute to your grandfather. It must have been a true labor of love and a lot of fun. You played from the heart on this. My favorite song is Yo Soy El Son Cubano. I think it's important also, where you teach, that students see you go to the next level of your career. What a wonderful inspiration for them to set goals. Congratulations and best of luck with this and future projects. Hope to see you again in the Boston area. My question--Have you worked with Santana? Am I correct in saying your father did on Black Magic Woman?
Thank you for your kind words to me. You are correct in saying that SAN RAFAEL 560 was a true labor of love for everyone involved. We had a great time playing the music I grew up with. I am glad that you like it. To answer your question, no, I have never personally worked with Santana. However I know both Carlos Santana and his percussionist. They are some of my good friends and I have a great deal of respect for them. Maybe you are thinking of my brother who worked with Santana. My brother, Walfredo Jr., worked for Santana for three years I believe and performed on a couple of albums and a video with them. I think. Don't quote me on that. LOL My father, Walfredo Sr., had an opportunity a long time ago to possibly work with Santana but at the time he wanted to stay in town to raise the family. As for Boston, I am not sure. We are scheduling dates for the San Rafael 560 group to perform in the major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami, etc. in the next six months. Maybe I will see you in Boston. You never know!!! If so, feel free to say hi.

How did you go about collecting all the songs you do on your album, SAN RAFAEL 560? Did you hear these songs in your family while growing up and do some of them have their roots in Cuban folk songs?
I heard most of the songs on SAN RAFAEL 560 being played on the record player when I was a young child. The only one that I did not hear until I was older was "Corral Falso." That is a song my grandfather's brother, Emilio de los Reyes, wrote in honor of his home town. I fell in love with the song and felt it would be appropriate to put on the album that pays tribute to my Cuban roots. It is a very special song to me.

Hi Daniel! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. I had the privilege of hearing you play at the House of Blues with Stevie Nicks. What an incredible performance and truly a night where the energy of the audience resonated with the music. But I'm wondering if there have ever been those nights when you are playing your heart out on stage and you're left wondering if maybe the audience is humming the Oscar Mayer jingle to themselves? You know, just not there! And if so, how do you keep up your energy and focus?
At all of the House of Blues concerts I did with Stevie, the audiences were really really great. They were very attentive and knew all her songs by heart and sang along. They had incredible energy. As for me keeping my focus and energy, that is easy to do if you truly love what you are doing. When I am performing with any artist, I do it because my music is my passion. And if the audience gets enjoyment from watching and listening to me play . . . well . . . that is a bonus!!

Will there be a music video in the future for SAN RAFAEL 560?
I definately hope to do a video on the San Rafael 560 project in the future. Right now there are so many other things going on all at once that a video will be a ways down the road I'm afraid. But I would love to do a video of a live performance of the San Rafael 560 group with interviews about the family and shots of Cuba.

Have you ever considered doing an instructional/educational video on percussion, the different instruments involved and how they are used? It seems that there are so many different "toys" to play with when it comes to percussion. I'd love to know how they work and what you, as a percussionist, think of each one when it comes to your particular style. Any plans to do a video?
Well, I think that it is a good idea to do a teaching video on percussion because everyone has different techniques and different styles of playing the various instruments. At the moment, however, the market for educational percussion videos is flooded and it would probably be best to do an all around video that would incorporate not just percussion education, but the history of the music and live performances as well. That is definately something to think about for the future and would be interesting and fun for me to do. So you never know!!

I heard in another interview that you were trying to set up some gigs for San Rafael 560 in some major cities. Is Indianapolis going to be on that list of cities and when do you think this tour would happen?
Having traveled extensively throughout out the United States over the years, I have performed in Indianapolis on several occasions and enjoyed it very much. In the future, Indianapolis will definately be on the tour schedule. At the moment, the cities I have in mind are New York, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles. I hope to have plans finalized within the next six months or so for these cities.

I saw you play with Yanni and loved it. Do you have any plans in touring with Yanni again?
At the moment, I do not have any definate plans to tour with Yanni. Since I play with a wide variety of artists all the time as well as my group, San Rafael 560, the timing of any tour I consider needs to fit in with my current schedule. However, I always seriously consider any tour opportunity that presents itself.

Hi Daniel! I was wondering if you ever give private drum and/or percussion lessons. And if so, how can I contact you about this in the future. I am an amateur drummer right now dabbling in percussion and would like to improve my techniques and add more instruments. You are the best I have seen and would be honored to learn from you. Thanks.
Thank you for your interest and the nice compliment. With my current schedule, sometimes it is hard to give lessons on an regular basis due to a lot of traveling. However, if you are serious, you can contact me at Sabor Records because I am in touch with the staff there. So you can e-mail me at: for more information as to when I may be in your area to give you a lesson. Thank you again for your interest.
Closing Statement:

I want to thank everyone for your great questions for me during this Q&A session. I really enjoyed talking with all of you! I also want to thank Bc, the creator of this website, for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I really appreciate all of your support and always love to hear from you. You can e-mail me at Sabor Records web site at: I am currently doing an extensive tour with Don Henley so maybe I will see you in your town! You never know! Thank you again for everything and God bless you all!! --Daniel de los Reyes