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For CT artist El Solista, music is both melody and service

Ricardo Parades photographed in the Ct Public studio, May 30, 2023.
Mark Mirko
Connecticut Public
Peruvian immigrant Ricardo Parades, also known as "El Solista," is known for his community service in the Hartford area.

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A local Hispanic singer has dedicated his life to music and helping those in need.

Ricardo Paredes, also known by his artist name "El Solista," has performed since he was 14 years old in his native Peru. In 2014 he migrated to Connecticut, and a few years later, he became a U.S. citizen.

"A lot of Peruvian immigrants that work here for a longer time. They used to hear the music and say, 'Whoa! Bring the memories back,'" Paredes said. “So it's amazing how music can touch people."

But aside from his singing career, Paredes is also known for his community service in the Hartford area. He’s performed raising funds for children in need, senior centers and others. The organizers of "Orgullo y Poder," a Spanish phrase meaning "pride and power," also got in touch with Paredes for an event at the state Capitol.

Paredes said the most memorable of these performances was at a senior center last Christmas.

"There were a lot of elderly ladies and guys. Just talking to each other. And then they started dancing and some of them were very old,” Paredes said. “They couldn't even dance, but they were dancing in their chairs. That touched me because you bring happiness to people living there."

Paredes also collaborates with local producers raising funds for members of the community who are sick.

"In the Peruvian community, we are also really active. So the last one was for a friend who got really sick and got a surgery. We got there and sang a little and helped," he said.

His next community work will be performing for immigrant children in Hartford and at a cultural event for Peru's independence day in July.

Paredes is married and has a 10-year-old son and a 10-month-old son. He said keeping family together is the most essential thing in life.

Currently, he's working on his second salsa album and will release two new salsa videos with Sony Peru producer, Renato Figueroa.

“Dream something. You make it real. You make stuff to make it real. You work hard. I work two jobs,” Paredes said. “Just keep trying, until you maybe get it.”

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

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