With a vast skillset that includes guitarist, producer, arranger, and composer, YASSER TEJEDA’S eclectic music evokes the rich sound of Dominican folkloric culture, tempered with a deep exploration of his Dominican and Haitian ancestry.
Digging beyond mainstream merengue and bachata, Yasser’s music explores how Afro-Dominican rhythms like Sarandunga, Salve, and Palo can seamlessly blend with jazz and rock and other influences to create a unique style all his own.
Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Yasser Tejada’s musical roots and devotion to Dominican culture are evident in every note he plays. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Yasser was exposed to a mix of local and folkloric music blended with the ever-present influence and sounds from his island neighbors across the border in Haiti.
Tejeda’s notoriety and reputation as a skilled musician and performer led to his being awarded a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in 2007. In Boston, he recorded and performed with acclaimed artists such as Meshell Ndegeocello, Juan Luis Guerra, Kevin Eubanks, Phillip Bailey, and Myron Mckinley.
After graduating from Berklee, Yasser moved to New York. He formed the group Palotréwith drummer Victor Otoniel Vargas, percussionist Jonathan Troncoso, and bassist Kyle Miles in 2009. Known for “merging the traditional Dominican culture with Jimi Hendrix, bebop, and the blues,” the group released their debut album, Mezclanza, that same year. Today, it is considered one of the most essential albums in Dominican music history, highlighting a wide range of sounds spanning everything from jazz and rock to indigenous Dominican and Caribbean rhythms. The album was later included in the Dominican National Association of Art Writers’ “100 Essential Recordings of Dominican Music.”
In addition to his group and solo material, Yasser is also an acclaimed session guitarist whose credits include Latin Grammy award winner Vicente Garcia (for the album “Candela”), Flor de Toloache featuring Miguel, Visitante, Sotomayor, Xenia Rubinos, Eduardo Cabra (Calle 13), Jeremy Bosch, and New York-based group Freelance. He has also toured extensively with R&B artist Deva Mahal and Latin Grammy award winner Prince Royce.
Ten years later, Yasser and Palotré released their long-awaited follow-up album, Kijombo, which received six awards from the Dominican Republic’s inaugural “Premios Indie,” including Best Album. Yasser and Palotré have performed at Bric Jazz Festival, Afro-Latino Fest, and WNYC New Sounds, with support from NPR, Latino USA, Songlines Magazine (UK/US), and Billboard. Yasser and Palotré have also lectured on Dominican culture at Colorado State University, NYU, Fordham University, Bronx Community College, and Brown University.
In 2021, Yasser released Interior, an acoustic EP recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. The album allowed Yasser to explore a more stripped-down version of his music and includes the track “El Sol De La Madrugada,” a song primarily inspired by the music of the late Dominican composer, guitarist, and lyricist Luis Diaz, whom Yasser has described as the “Dominican Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.”