Grammy Winner Andres “Kino” Cruz is one of the most competent, active and trained musicians from a new generation of young Puerto Rican percussionists; with vast experience in Brazilian, Spanish and African-Cuban music, as well as folkloric Bomba and Plena. He has been constantly contributing and representing Puerto Rican folk, through presentations in very prestigious events, both, within and outside Puerto Rico, including performances of his native music, as well as other genres such as Rock, Pop and Flamenco.
His musical formation started during his very early years. Since he was a little kid he played congas within the family reunions, where all the uncles were musicians. His strong passion for the conga came from his uncles, who are also his first conga teachers and so, his older cousins, who played too. In 1994 Andres joined the band Kampo Viejo (1994), a ska band.
From 2001 to 2004, Andres was one of the percussionists of another band called Bayanga, a band with a fusion of folkloric music from Puerto Rico with which he performed at various festivals like Reggae on the River, Sierra Nevada World Music Fest, Monterrey Reggae Festival, Universidad del Estado de Chico and Fresno Reggae Festival as well as Brazil, Cuba and the Caribbean. During this time, he was able to develop his knowledge of percussion as well as of African-Caribbean and Brazilian music. In 2004, under the label Ras Records, Bayanga presented its first musical production, where he played the congas and timba.
Andres also formed part of Ricky Martin’s tour in Puerto Rico and Mexico with the famous Puerto Rican rock band Vivanativa. He played the congas, bongos, and other percussion instrument when this band opened the concert. He also flight to Germany with Victor Duplex band playing bomba during these years.
Joined by other percussionists, he played timba in Los Malucos, one of Puerto Rico’s first Batucadas, performing uninterruptedly during six (6) years on all kinds of local events; becoming an inspiration for countless of Batucadas that are currently playing throughout Island. Los Malucos gave him the opportunity of performing with Diego Torres, at El Escambrón, Puerto Rico (2004) and Los Cafres, from Argentina (Tito Puente Amphitheatre, Puerto Rico, 2002).
On 2005, he was made part of Calle 13, as percussionists. To date the band has conquered 10 Latin Grammys, including Album of the year in 2009, and two American Grammys. As a member of Calle 13, he has been on stage with many of the finest top artists such as Alejandro Sanz, Shakira, Maná, Nelly Furtado, Rubén Blades, Gustavo Santaolalla, Café Tacvba, and Orishas