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The son of Spanish immigrants, Cuban-born singer/songwriter Carlos Varela started composing in 1978. Two years later, he joined La Nueva Trova, a local movement led by Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes. Carlos Varela graduated from the Cuban Art Institute ISA with an acting degree. He recorded his first album, Jalisco Park, in 1989, which was followed by a live record called Carlos Varela en Vivo in 1991 and Monedas Al Aire in 1992. Two years later, after issuing Como Los Peces, a contemporary folk record that straddled both catchy songs and nostalgic ballads, the talented artist debuted on MTV Latino with "Robinson." He had the opportunity to perform live in the U.S. in 1998 when he played a festival called Songwriters in the Round in Miami.
Carlos Varela (born April 11, 1963) is a singer-songwriter of nueva trova from Havana, Cuba. In the 1980s he joined the Nueva Trova musical movement, a political and poetic musical genre connected with the Cuban Revolution.
Silvio Rodríguez, one of the most famous persons in the world nueva trova founders, "discovered" him and helped the "nomo" [Gnome] (nickname coming from the way he dresses) taking him on a tour to Spain. His first CD "Jalisco Park" was published in Spain. Nowadays Varela's music is known for its open criticism of the status quo, though it is still considered Nueva Trova, which itself began as a reaction to the unjust conditions that led to the Revolution.
His song — "Una Palabra" [A Word]— was used in the film Powder Keg (2001) directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu starring Clive Owen and again in the film Man on Fire in 2004 starring Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning. He has managed to integrate his music in several Cuban films as well, such as Las profecias de Amanda and Video de familia among others.