The musician takes a seat on the piano bench and begins to play, his fingers finding the keys effortlessly. Jazz music fills the room and an audience sits enthralled, but no ordinary musician sits on the stage before them. José André Montano Baina of Totora, Bolivia is only 7 years old, which would be astonishing enough, but the young boy is also blind.

His love of music is said to have become obvious even at the age of two. At age 4, Baina had already picked up drums and showed surprising talent. When he moved on to piano, his musical gift became undeniable and by age 5, Baina had formed his own jazz trio.

The boy's impressive resume includes performing at Bolivia's Legislative Palace, and with various famous musicians including Bolivian rock star and guitarist Glen Vargas.  

 

While Baina is known for playing jazz, his musical taste is quite diverse. "Blues, heavy metal, tango [and] bolero" are some of the other types of music he claims to enjoy. "I like everything," Baina said.

When away from the piano, Baina is just an ordinary little boy who does his homework and has fun playing in gym class, but when he plays music, he still astonishes even his own parents.

"I didn't know jazz before, he got me into it. It's as if he was born with a jazz chip inside him,” his father Roberto is quoted as saying in a video interview. “I don't know how to explain how it came about, it's like the jazz was already within him."

Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of Latinaish.com.

 

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