Cano Estremera’s career as a solo singer was characterized by ups and downs.
Maybe it was not successful or prolific in terms of recording, but he maintained a presence on the show business thanks to his talent as a clever improviser.
His first solo album El Niño de Oro (1986) follows the line of traditional salsa with songs such as “Viernes social”, “Nací y así soy” and including two boleros, among them, “Emborráchame de amor” recorded before by Héctor Lavoe.
Then he produced the album Salvaje ’88 (1988), “El Toro”, the covers of “Ámame en cámara lenta”, “Te amaré”, and a merengue version of the Brazilian song “Pleno verano”.
In the next two discographic works, Estremera dabbled in romantic or sensual salsa. Phonograms Dueño del Soneo Vol. 1 (1989) and Dueño del Soneo Vol. 2 (1990) did not have sufficient impact on the salsa community.
After the hit “El Toro”, his public expected a hardcore salsa record in line with the title used for both productions. However, the self-proclaimed “Dueño del Soneo” could not prove it in those recordings, but in his live performances.
In 1990, Cano made the world record for consecutive soneos without repeating verses. His exploit begins in the town of Guánica with 105 soneos without repeating any rhyme. Weeks after, he improved the record to 128 in Yabucoa and finally reegistered 130 in Juana Díaz in front of five thousand spectators.
Staring in the 90’s, the musical career of Cano Estremera has stalled by several factors. After years of never recording, he resumed his career with the album Cambio de Sentido (1994).
In this production, Cano could find the balance between romantic and traditional salsa, but with an identity of its own. Novelty songs such as “Pobre diablo” and “Profesor de décimo grado” stand out, where he added some mischief in the soneos.
The record includes the salsa ballads “Por ti me casaré” (Eros Ramazzotti) and “Alguien” (Camilo Sesto). We also find songs that tell urban stories in “Con ojos de dólar” and “Compañera de trabajo”. Thanks to this production, Cano Estremera returned to the stage in force.
The best part of Carlos E. Estremera’s musical work is found in the last three productions. His voice in full maturity, a pre-defined style and a reputation of being an irreverent sonero helped him to make three masterpieces. In the album Punto y Aparte (1996), song lyrics perfectly fit his character.
The personality of the singer is portrayed in songs like “Amigo de qué”, “Se busca”, “Un loco como yo” and “Llorando me dormí”, the latter was recorded before by Ismael Rivera.
Years later, he reappeared with the recording entitled Diferente (1999) where he solidified his place as a salsa legend.
All the numbers are excellent from start to finish, especially “Agüita pura” and “La salsa está buena”.
By the first decade of the new century, Estremera produced his greatest work Ópera Ecuajey (2008) in tribute to El Sonero Mayor Ismael Rivera.
This was an unprecedented concept album in his professional career. Cano Estremera always sought to evolve and diversify as an artist.
In his personal shows, he performed classic boleros and salsa songs which were hits in other singers.
Estremera delights us with the classics “Periquito Pin Pin”, “Boranda” “La esencia del guaguancó” and many more with arrangements adapted to his tone.
Furthermore, he also reinterpreted the hits that he recorded with Bobby Valentín with new arrangements that not resemble the originals at all.
Estremera’s last recordings were the singles: Bello amanecer, Uno se Cura, Después de Todo, La Profecía with José Lugo Guasabara (2012), La Dieta, (2014), and Los Cobrones (2016).
Cano Estremera was a complete artist in the improvisation on stage
Pulmonary fibrosis fulfilled by the very fact of being an albino impacted on the health of the renowned salsa singer.
Carlos Enrique Estremera Colón, simply “Cano Estremera” for the Caribbean crowd who knew him and applauded him with the title of “Dueño del Soneo”, passed away in his native Puerto Rico around 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.
He was born on September 2, 1958 in Santurce, San Juan, where he also passed away.
Saúl López García © 2020 and Augusto Felibertt © 2021
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