When I first decided to get the band together, it was a discussion I had with Iain Templeton, better known for being the drummer in Shack and also playing with the likes of The La’s and Pete Wylie.

It was 1986 and we were young and hopeful and full of faith in how good we were gonna be. We formed TIEMPO LIBRE with the original line up of: Me - (guitar, vocals, congas), Iain Templeton (drums, vocals), Oscar Carrasco (my bro - guitar, vocals, perc), Ren Parry (bass), Ronnie Williams (saxophone, percussion, bvs) and Phil Luckett (trumpet, percussion)

I was first approached by Brain Chin who asked me to come see the band perform - I enjoyed the vibe and jazz-funk feel and joined them pretty quickly. The main people where Brian Chin and Tommy Smith and we soon settled into a line up that included, Cliff Watson on Bass and Lionel Duke on drums, both now play with the Christians. I joined Mello in the late 90s and stayed with them till it fizzled out, having played major gigs throughout the UK, in Universities, Colleges, Clubs and festivals.

I was working with Amanda Quigley for a while and we played several gigs and recorded a number of tracks, her with her beautiful voice and multi-instrumentality (saxophone, accordion, percussion), me with my South American reggae style guitar and trad. rhythms, a love of writing and alternative Latin sounds.

Soon her partner Mick Hurst joined us on drums and percussion and we quickly fell into a nice sound.

The need for a booming bass soon became apparent and so Amanda approached a wonderful Scottish double bass player, Tommy Mills who lived in Wales. Radio Chango was born. A band that brought together very different musicians with the love for a different sound. The music belonged to the world music spectrum. Not so much a compilation of songs as a musical journey that began in Santiago, Chile and crossed many borders. Combining global sounds such as tango, township and Latin, heavy on rhythm with sparkling of jazz and urban Radio Chango produced a distinct style of Urban World Music. In many ways, Radio Chango is closer to my mood than anything else I have done and my journey follows on from here.

We played everywhere in Liverpool and then the UK - we produced a few singles and became known as the musicians band - Playing a cross between Latin, funk, reggae and Latin Rock - with protest lyrics and an uncompromising stand - We were watched by many an A&R man who loved us but we wouldn’t change the way we did things, we were uncompromising and too heavy apparently also they didn’t get us - who was the singer, who was the leader - we were in it together - I should’ve known I wasn’t destined for pop stardom then. Yet Tiempo Libre has left me with some of my best memories of how I like a band to be.


I have performed with many bands and set ups and have collaborated with many musicians and musical organisations. The people that stand out the most in my musical journey are firstly my family. If I have to pick my biggest inspiration I would not hesitate - Mi Mama; from an early age my mother’s voice captivated me. She sang an incredible repertoire of songs - from songs of the New Song Movement by great Latin American composers such as Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, Pablo Puebla and Silvio Rodriguez to great Tango songs such as Caminito (sung by Carlos Gardel).

My father always accompanied her on his guitar. Always trying to keep up with her amazing ability to remember songs. I learnt my first set of chords from my Abuela Juana. Then there was my older brother Oscar - These were all my first musical teachers. I didn’t learn music at school in Chile and when we moved to England I was the “wrong type” to do music at school.

Others who have given me much food for thought or have inspired me are all those great Latin American artists - too many to mention and the diverse array of bands and artists from the UK such as The Beat, Joe Strummer, David Bowie, Adam Ant (those drums!), Macy Grey, and on and on. UB40s first album, Third World, Aswad’s first album, Elvis Costello...

Then there are those who don’t tend to get mentioned. Individuals who may think I have forgotten their input into my musical life - Iain Templeton, Amanda Quigley, Helen Flooks, Brian Chin, Ronney Williams, Ren Parry, Sarah Tobias, Suzanne Taylor, Phil Lucket, Eric, Giles Agis, David Bibb, Tommy Smith, Lionel Duke, Cliff Watson, Mick Hurst, Tommy Mills, Curtis Watt, Eugene Skeef, Thebe Lipere, Bheli Mseleku, Geoff Gordon, Madala, Pax Nindi, Bernardo Velasco - And I know I’ve missed many.


Human Rights Mural, Durban, South Africa - with Curtis Watt



tiempo, mello, chango, rebel...