Manuel Obregón, Costarrican Pianist and Composer Receives Honorary Degree

Manuel Obregon at York University Toronto

Internationally known jazz and blues musician Manuel Obregón received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at York University on June 16, 2015. Following his acceptance speech, Obregón performed a short piece from his repertoire.

In the last 20 years, Manuel Obregón’s performances have showcased the symbiotic interrelation between music and the environment, incorporating visual images of the Costa Rican rainforest, ocean, and animal life, as well as the sounds of those environments as part of his piano works. He is also a producer and founder of the Papaya Orchestra, the first Central American orchestra that combines traditional instruments and rhythms with urban music and modern influences.

Manuel Obregón is also an environmentalist and public servant. In the field of politics, he served as Costa Rica’s minister of culture and youth from 2010 to 2014. Under his administration, he shifted the notion that culture was an expense to the idea that culture is an investment in people. He was able to connect cultural production in Costa Rica with the preservation of heritage and with environmental conservation.

More information and music at:

Photos of Manuel Obregón by Atael Weissman (click on photos to enlarge)
Atael Weissman
Atael Weissman
Atael Weissman’s main occupation is as an engineering consultant. Born, raised and educated in one of the former Soviet Union republics, which is now Latvia. He lived in Israel and now in Canada, for the last 28 years. Photography and jazz music have been his main hobbies for many years -perfect combination.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more