biography

Juan Manuel Pineda was born in El Salvador with a cleft palate and dental deformities. When he was three, a fire in his home caused third degree burns and the subsequent amputation of both legs at the hip. At nine years old, Juan’s mother died of an ulcer leaving him homeless and alone. After a turbulent foster situation, Juan was brought to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) orphanage in El Salvador, where he began to learn music.

Through an opportunity to perform in an NPH music troupe that was touring the States, Juan was noticed in Chicago by a group of physicians from Shriners Hospital. They were so amazed by his story that they committed all their resources to finding a way to correct his medical problems.

In the mean time, Juan's musical talents were discovered and his personal songs were professionally produced to a CD entitled “The Sound of Gratitude”. This led to a stage performance in front of a sold out audience who had heard his story through various media outlets and were moved to support his dream. Juan dedicated the proceeds from this concert to the estimated 2,000 to 4,000 children and adults, being treated at St. Damien's Hospital, who endured amputations as a result of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Music Has Legs is a book that tells Juan's triumphant story and proves that overcoming adversity, no matter how large, is possible.