When Eddy Parra was 12 and growing up in Bucaramanga, Colombia, Eddie went to the carnival. "I saw a band and asked if I could sing. They said, Ok, we'll give you a chance." The carnival went on for two days and by the end, Eddie was asked to join the band. That was in 1973, and Eddie sang and toured with Los Sochos de Colombia for six years until he was conscripted into the army.
When he came out of the army, Eddie formed his own band, and then in 1984 relocated to Britain, eventually settling in East London. Today Eddie runs the London-based band, Fuerza Vallenata, performing the music known as "Vallenato" which originates in the northern coastal region of Colombia. Vallenato shares some melodic similarities with Cajun and Zydeco from Louisiana, in that it blends the musical traditions of African slaves and European imperialists and, like those other forms, uses accordion. Eddie was one of the first people to bring this hugely popular Colombian style of music to this country. "Vallenato is all about stories. Someone says 'this happened to me' and then a song is made out of it," Eddie explains. According to Eddie, Vallenato is a very romantic and poetic music, but can also be lively, spirited and danceable. Fuerza Vallenata are immensely popular in the London Latin community and regularly play at various Latin American events and parties. They are however, becoming increasingly in demand among a wider audience, who are keen to discover that there is more to Latin music than Salsa.