Gabriel Rios

  • Main Stage
    Monday 8•July•2024

The most Belgian of Puerto Ricans, honorary Ghent resident Gabriel Ríos recently announced a new album. Not much has filtered out yet, but the Spanish-only album with self-composed songs sees the musician explore his roots in greater depth as part of a quest that already resulted in previous record 'Flore’ in 2021. An album on which Ríos adapted Latin-American songs from his dad and grandad’s days to suit his own purposes. This was the first time Ríos reached this far back into his musical roots since he left Puerto Rico aged 17 to come and enrol at Ghent Arts College. Even though he had crossed the Atlantic to study painting, he soon became acquainted with local musicians. These newly forged friendships resulted in his debut album 'Ghostboy’ (2005), a record which many a Belpop fan is still recovering from. The blend of Latin, electronica, hip-hop and rock, the contrast between the exotic, exuberant Spanish and the subdued, crooned English… Belgium, the Netherlands and France all swiftly succumbed.


In 2010, his musical peregrinations saw him meet jazz pianist Jef Neve and percussionist Kobe Proesmans. Their encounter resulted in 'The Dangerous Return’, whereas his subsequent relocation to New York in turn led to 'This Marauder's Midnight’ (2014). Both albums sound more introspective. Not a word, not a note out of place, everything just where it should be, squarely aimed at listeners’ hearts. It remains to be heard which musical direction Rios will be taking his new album into. What is certain, however, is that he will be showcasing it at Gent Jazz. A home match he has already won!