Abelardo Oquendo Heraud is a versatile and original composer, songwriter and guitarist. He has lived an unusual live, and this is reflected in his approach to music and life in general. For him, live and music are part of the same process of self-discovery and growth.
Originally from Peru, South America, he grew in a house were culture and art were all around. He studied violin in his early years, but eventually fell in love with the guitar.
Abelardo picked up the guitar by age 13 and learned first by ear. Eventually he started guitar lessons with his mother's teacher, Luis Justo Caballero, who taught him classical guitar. By the time he finished high school, all he wanted was to become a guitarist, but there were no music schools aside from the National Conservatory of Music (for classical), so he had to make peace with the idea that he had to go to the University instead and pursue his second love, poetry.
In 1997 he left the University and studied composition Peruvian classical composer Walter Casas, and eventually applied for the National Conservatory of music, where he was accepted in the School for Composition.
Outside of school, he had fallen in love with jazz and formed a band, Cinco de Cinco (Five Of Five), together with Manuel Miranda, Raul Cragg and Carlos Ballon, and started performing in the few venues that existed in Lima back in 1981. Eventually left the Conservatory and pursued his playing 100%. After Cinco de Cinco, together with Manuel Miranda, Eduardo Freire, "Chino" Chong and Lucho Guimet, he "Chamaleon", a jazz fusion band. During that time he also wrote music for theater and advertising jingles, and worked as a studio musician in a few recording studios.
In 1985 he joined the band Guarango, formed by Chaqueta Piaggio and Alejandro "Pochi" Marambio. That band became very successful locally with its unique blend of Cuban music, jazz, reggae and rock. Guarango issued their first and only recording in 1985, called "La Resistencia del Guarango".
At some point Chaqueta decided he wanted to take a break from performing, so Guarango was dissolved. Pochi, who is a very multifacetic artist (and a very accomplished painter also), was heavily into Reaggae, so Abelardo suggested to Pochi that they should form a Reggae band, and so "Tierra Sur" was born.
Lima was in turmoil in the mid 80's. The Shinning Path terrorist group had gained a lot of prominence, and bombs and curfews were a common event. That was paired with unbridled inflation. All this depressed the night life in Lima, so the opportunities of performing became scarce. The general ambiance of the city was trapped in a negative spiral.
At the same time, Abelardo had always had the dream of studying abroad, but the weakness of the Peruvian currency had made it impossible for him to travel abroad. However, in 1988 the stars seemed to finally align in an auspicious way, and he was able to gather the necessary resources to travel to Los Angeles and study at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, where he graduated with honors a year later.
After graduating from GIT, Abelardo stayed in L.A. for a couple of years furthering his studies with guitarists Jamie Glazer and the late Ted Green, and also performing in small venues and doing some studio work. In L.A. he met an old friend and musician from Lima, Pierre Garreaud with whom he did the initial draft of what would eventually become his first solo album, "Facing South."
In 1991 Abelardo was invited by a good friend of his, journalist Jose Gonzales, who was studying a Masters in International Affairs at Columbia University, to move to NY. In NY he worked with singer Alana Cahoon. They started playing as a duo in small venues and eventually formed a pop-rock band that played in many of the famous venues in Bleecker street.
NY gave Abelardo a few other opportunities. In 1993 he was commissioned the music for a theater play, "Pancho Villa", directed by Peruvian director Manuel Arenas. In 1994, young director Alvaro Gonzales from Spain commissioned him the music for his short film, "Sugestion". In 1995 he worked with non-for-profit organization Sacha Runa Associates directed by Miguel Kavlin, where he taught music worshops. In 1996 he was commissioned the music for the video "The Bottom Line" of Fitness trainer and athlete Karen Amen. In 1997 Abelardo Travelled back to LA to record his CD "Facing South" at Pierre Garreaud's studio in Sherman Oaks.
After finishing the recording of Facing South, Abelardo travelled to Barcelona with his wife Christine McArdle, and lived there until 2000. In Barcelona, Abelardo , who had always been interested in Buddhism, worked closely with the Sakya Tashi Ling monastery led by Jamyang Tashi Dorje Rimpoche. In 1998 he was commissioned by Rimpoche to compose a song for the Monastery's anniversary. Pleased with Abelardo's work, he then asked him to work at making the music for the Lineage Payers of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. That work became the CD, "In Search of Happiness."
Shortly after their first son Marcelo was born in Barcelona, the family decided to move back to the US to be closer to Christine's family. In 2000 their second son, Alex, was born.
In 2002, Abelardo decided to go back to school to Rutgers University. In 2004 he graduated with a Masters in Jazz History and Research. While in school, he also studied with guitarist with Kenny Wessel.
In 2005, after meeting Indian slide guitarist Debashish Battacharya in a workshop at Kenny's apartment in NY, he decided to travel to India to do some studies with Debashish at his school in Calcutta for a few weeks. After those weeks in Calcutta he joined Buddhist teacher, Ontul Rimpoche, for a pilgrimage to sacred places of Buddha's life in India.
After travelling in India, Peru and Costa Rica for a few months with his family, he settled in Bucks County, PA, where the family stayed for almost two years. While in P.A. he composed the music for the Documentary, La Sagrada Familia, of Spanish director Alvaro Gonzales.
But those were transition times for the family. In 2007 they decided to go travelling again, and eventually in 2009 they settled in the city of Granada in Spain, where Abelardo still lives.
In Granada Abelardo went back to performing and formed a jazz duo with English guitarist Trevor Warren. In 2013 Trevor and Abelardo recorded the CD, "Migrations," published in London by the 33Jazz label.
In 2010 Abelardo also formed a duo with Portuguese multi-instrumentalist Ricardo Passos, Mitakuye Oyassin. They performed in Yoga Studios and Yoga Festivals in Spain doing Nada Yoga, of form of Sound Yoga also inspired in shamanic healing work. In 2011 they recorded the CD, "Ceremonia" (Ceremony).
Abelardo latest CD, "After The Longest Dream," is a return to the song with lyrics. In it merge all of Abelardo's influences, classical music, rock, jazz, latin music, Peruvian music, poetry and spirituality.
Abelardo is currently giving the finishing touches to a CD of songs for Children's Yoga that he will release together with his wife, Christine McArdle.