Born into a large, musical family in Quito, Ecuador, Iván Nájera began singing and performing at the age of nine. A year later, he was awarded the second grand prize in Quito's National Star Search Competition, a distinction that strengthened his dream of a career in music.
At 14, Nájera commenced his formal studies of guitar and piano at the National Conservatory in Quito. Equally skilled in both performing and directing, he led several high school choirs and musical groups, including one with his five brothers.
His fame grew throughout his teenage years, marked by national appearances on radio and television and triumphs at several musical competitions. In 1971, his expanding reputation as a uniquely talented musician blossomed when he was chosen to join a weekly musical television show, "Gente Joven" ("Young People"), which aired in Ecuador. After more than two years with the show, he went on to join a Colombian Latin jazz/salsa group as lead singer and guitarist, performing for a chain of international hotel-casinos throughout South America.
In 1975, at the age of 22, Nájera moved to California to further his career. Thanks to a combination of talent, tenacity, and providence, opportunities in the music industry were abundant. He began performing and later recording his original compositions, and simultaneously earned a degree in digital electronics with emphasis in television.
Nájera's music has been described as exhilarating and contagious. Exciting and explosive. Emotional and sensual. His influences are rich in cultural diversity, inspired by styles that include traditional Spanish and Flamenco, Brazilian, Tropicalia, Andean, jazz, and contemporary. He complements these with an underlying hint of classical seasoning, which he believes lies at the heart of any truly good composition.
The majority of the music he plays is original, but he just might surprise audiences with an Ecuadorian-infused cover of "Autumn Leaves." In addition to his solo performances, he has shared the stage with stellar performers that include Jose Feliciano, Julio Iglesias, and Enrique Coria.
CDs recorded by Nájera include:
"Jungle"-An emotionally charged explosion of music; debut instrumental release (1994)
"Devotion"-An award-winning blend of classical, Flamenco, Latin, and smooth jazz; recorded with Swiss guitarist Tony Unger (1998)
"Malagueña"-The purity and simplicity of two guitars; the second release with Unger (2001)
"On Top of the Rain"-An edgy blend of Nuovo Flamenco and contemporary jazz; second solo release (2002)
Over the past year, Nájera has begun to add vocals to his musical mix. Returning to the passions of his earlier years, he now complements his guitar playing with a soft, evocative baritone that enhances the dimension of his music. The summer of 2007 will mark the release of his first CD featuring vocals.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"Ivan is a true professional and a real talent. His music and stage presence never fail to get the crowd on their feet." -Emily Delk, Special Events Manager, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
"Thank you and your friends for a marvelous evening of music. It was great to see people enjoying your band's performance...folks just had to get up and dance! I particularly like seeing the audience build with each succeeding set; people kept coming back and bringing others with them. It was a terrific experience." -Carl Watanabe, Station Manager, KXJZ/KXPR, Sacramento, CA
"Some of the most accomplished and innovative guitar works of recent times." -Pulse Latino, Tower Records magazine
"The perfect antidote to a stressful day." -Roger Hodgson, former Supertramp vocalist and songwriter
"Further proof that there is musical gold in these hills." -Terry Riley, composer