The beginning of a musical partnership
By the end of 1993 Emile de Cuba Sr. of Los Laga Bai was notified by the late Roy Nicholson, manager of Eclipse, that Eclipse would not be playing for Los Laga Bai during the 1994 Carnaval as they had received a very lucrative offer from Coastal. This meant that Los Laga Bai had to look for a new band. After all without music there is no carnival. After reviewing the different options, it was Roy Nicholson himself that highly recommended Los Laga Bai to contract Robert Jeand’or. His reputation of being a topnotch musician and a serious and committed person was given more importance then the concern that Robert was known as a Tumba King and his band for playing primarily merengue and salsa. And that Robert Jeand’or is a true gentleman can be concluded from the fact that Los Laga Bai and Robert Jeand’or have never signed a contract but that the relationship is based on trust and sealed yearly with hand shake.
The year 2002 was for Robert y SBS and also for Los Laga Bai a memorable year as in that year he was crowned as Aruba’s best carnival band. After that he obtained the title in four other occasions, in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
That Los Laga Bai and Robert have a very special relationship was demonstrated in 2007 when he recorded a CD with songs to commemorate the 25th participation of Los Laga Bai with Aruba’s Carnaval. During the parade several of his songs (Los Laga Bai and Soca Train) were a hit and having all participants singing and dancing to his music. This was also the beginning of his hit song “Los Laga Bai” that has since become almost the official anthem of the group. It has been more than 10 years and at every carnival the band has to play this song at least once during the parades.
This year Robert y SBS will be entertaining the Los Laga Bai participants for the 25th time and will celebrate more than 50 years in the music industry. During these past years he and his band have shown Aruba not only how to entertain the participants but also the public. As he only plays live this allows him to “play” with the music and giving it his special twist. This has resulted in the fact that Los Laga Bai has won the title of jolliest group on more occasions than any other group so far in Aruba’s history. A career like this is not to be taken lightly. We are extremely proud to be part of the history and career of Robert & SBS and we want to congratulate him and his whole band for 25 years of musical excellence.
So, who is Robert Jeand’or?
Robert Jeand’or was born in Aruba on May 10, 1954 and raised in a musical family, making music with his father and brothers from an early age. When he was six he started playing the ‘cuatro venezolano’. He participated in the aquinaldo group “Las Blancas Palomitas” who at the end of every year, together with other groups, held presentations for the Aruban public. Later he participated with the “Alma Solis” group, a very popular band at that time, after which he joined the band “Los Juveniles”.
In 1976 he became “Rey di Tumba”, with the song “Ban Bons’e”. He remained the “Tumba King” for the next two years with the songs “Slip’e” (1977) and “Cu mi bolobonchi” (1978). In 1990, when he returned from the Dominican Republic, he regained his crown with the song “Want’e”. He retained the title in 1991 with “Mi ta bai cun’e”. This was his last title as he had decided to withdraw from the “Tumba contest” as a contester singer.
During the time that he performed with “Los Juveniles”, he met the famous singer and international musician Johnny Ventura. Johnny Ventura was in Aruba to give a presentation together with “Los Juveniles”. Ventura was impressed with Jeand’or’s musical talent and convinced him that if he wanted to develop his talent to a higher level he needed to go abroad.
In 1979 he left Aruba for the Dominican Republic, where he formed part of the popular Dominican group “Los Hijos del Rey”. With this group he made several recordings producing great hits in Latin America, such as “Yo me Dominicanizo”, “Puchula”, “El Viento”. After two years he joined Johnny Ventura, whom he accompanied for four years. With “Johnny Ventura y su Combo Show” he made several hits such as “Rebeca”, “Grito y Sufrimento”, “Antillean Tumba (hala afo)” and many more.
While living and performing in the Dominican Republic he had the opportunity to travel to the U.S. were he performed in Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall and Madision Square Garden. He also performed in Puerto Rico at the Robert Clemente Coliseum, Polierdo (Venezuela), Altos de Chavon (Dominican Republic), Vina del Mar (Chile) and other stadiums in Latin America.
Later he formed his own band “Robert Jeand’or y su orquesta” in the Dominican Republic and also played with great artists like Juan Luis Guerra, Johnny Pacheco and Celia Cruz. He participated on the Grammy Award winning CD “Bachata Rosa” (1990) from Juan Luis Guerra y su 4.40.
After the impressive and successful years in Dominican Republic Jeand’or returned to Aruba in 1990. In 1992 he formed his own band, the “Solo Banda Show”, and became one of Aruba’s top bands. Performing among others during the Aruba Latin & Jazz Festivals.
Nowadays many locals and international artists still use Robert’s expertise in the recording field, for musical arrangement, composition, chorus, base, maracas and cuatro.