Jonathan Troncoso

Jonathan “JBlak” Troncoso, was born into a family of musicians (including grandfather Bienvenido Troncoso – the well-known composer) in Los Mina – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1982. Jonathan was inspired to be a musician at an early age by his father, Domingo Troncoso, a percussionist. At the age of five, he picked up his first instrument, “la tambora”, and amazed his family and neighbors. Jonathan’s ease and fluidity with the instrument had been learned observing his father, a professional musician. Shortly thereafter, Jonathan began playing guira and later, bongo. Versed early on in playing percussion for popular music such as merengue, bachata, and salsa, Jonathan began playing professionally as his father’s young protégé. His musical life changed and interests shifted when Jonathan moved to New York City in 1992, at the age of 10.

Displaced by the move to New York and fascinated by the presence of live percussion on New York City streets, Jonathan began training in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Dominican traditional percussion with Manolo Mota, his first teacher in a foreign land. By 2000 Jonathan was invited to join Claudio Fortunato y Los Guedes, a well-known ensemble of Afro-Dominican traditional musicians dedicated to preserving the Dominican traditions of “los palos” for sacred and popular functions. Increasingly, Jonathan was drawn to the pulse of street-side rumbas throughout New York and began to embrace Afro-Cuban musical traditions as eagerly as he embraced the musics of the Dominican Republic. At once, he had become a child of the Hip-Hop generation in New York City, where he performed Spanish Hip-Hop and Reggeatón. As much a student of professional musicians and traditional masters in New York, as the streets, Jonathan was a sponge for culture – a characteristic that broadened his musical horizons and inspired his study and later, mastery of several instruments in the Afro-Caribbean musical traditions.