The Herreras’ sound is a powerful force of musical energy emanating from a magnetic five-piece formation. The liveliness they bring to each performance is so infectious that it inevitably spreads to the audience. The guitarists’ deft strumming coupled with the upbeat sounds of the percussion mold beautifully with the vocalist, who makes the listener want to learn Spanish just to sing along. The band members feed off of one another’s vigor, bringing an electricity to the stage. “When we’re playing live, we want to give the listener an experience, and give them something worth watching and worth listening to,” says guitarist Esteban Herrera. He continues, “We want them to feel what we feel when we’re playing. We can be on stage having a really great time and when we have that connection with the audience and know that they’re liking it, it makes us play even better.” Once The Herreras have captured the spirit of the crowd, a cycle begins that keeps the audience clapping and dancing. The Herreras are clearly having a great time too; they tap their feet and nod their heads along to the music complimenting the energetic songs in each set.
Music has been intuitive for The Herreras for two generations. Cousins Esteban, Sebastian and Marco Herrera come from a melodic family, their fathers and uncles headlining the popular Ecuadorian band ‘Los Hermanos Herrera’. Esteban says, “I grew up listening to my dad and my uncles. Whenever they had a small gathering at the house they would make music and I grew up with that.” Esteban continues, “I always looked at my uncles in awe. They always had a guitar. Early on, I was just drawn towards the guitar. And I wanted to keep that family thing going.” After years of watching in admiration, Esteban was ready to try the guitar for himself as a sophomore in high school. Esteban asked his favorite uncle to buy him his first guitar. Esteban recalls, “He [my uncle] picked out a really nice guitar: an Ibanez electric acoustic guitar.” Esteban continues, “The fact that my uncle picked it made it even more special because I always looked up to him and loved the way that he played.”
Even though Esteban grew up with the Spanish guitar all around him, he still needed to learn the ropes. Esteban says, “I remember coming home with the guitar, opening the case, picking it up and thinking to myself, Now what? I didn’t know how to play! That was the beginning.” Esteban’s favorite guitarists used a pick to strum their guitars and he quickly followed suit. It wasn’t long before Esteban teamed up with his cousin Sebastian and they became The Herreras guitar duo. Sebastian’s fingerstyle paired mellifluously with Esteban’s pick style of playing the guitar, and the two began performing at open mic nights in 2009. While many guitarists must choose one strumming style over the other, The Herreras duo had the benefits of both. Esteban says, “There are different sounds made when using a fingerstyle technique, and there are other techniques that sound much better with a pick.” Esteban continues, “You can do certain things that may not be achievable with a fingerstyle technique. A pick becomes very handy on some of the faster parts of a song. That dynamic is very important with our playing.”