Soneros Birthdays Party
Omara Portuondo, Ismael Rivera, Jimmy Bosch, and Luisito Carrión celebrate their birthdays this month
October is filled with talent and it’s that in this month a hurricane of brilliant artists of the Salsero genre was born, who have captivated us and have shown their Gift before hundreds of audiences around the world. These Latin Stars have bathed us in SABOR with their lyrics and infected with joy with their melodies. It for that, this month we celebrate their births and dance to the rhythm of the applause towards them. Happy Birthday, Soneros!
Omara Portuondo (October 29, 1930)
Omara was born in La Habana (Cuba). Her first encounter with music was at a very early age. Just as in any other Cuban home, the future singer and her siblings grew up with the songs which her parents, for lack of a gramophone, sang to them. Those melodies, some of which still form part of her repertoire, were young Omara’s informal introduction to the world of music.
She and her sister Haydee sang well-known American group “Los Loquibambla” and their style, a Cubanised version of the Bossa Nova with touches of American jazz, was known as “Feeling”. In their radio debut, Omara was introduced as “Miss Omara Brown, the girlfriend of Feeling”.
“Magia Negra” was her debut record released in 1959. It combined Cuban music with American jazz and included versions of “That Old Black Magic” and “Caravan”, by Duke Ellington. Later she joined one of Cuba’s most important orchestras, La Orchestra Aragón, with which she recorded several albums, such as the one she did with Adalberto Álvarez in 1984 and “Palabras and Desafíos” on which she was accompanied by Chucho Valdés.
However, Omara Portuondo catapulted to her well-earned fame was in the mid-1990s when she collaborated in the recording sessions for Buena Vista Social Club on which she sang “Veinte Años”.
She was the star of the third launching of the Buena Vista Social Club released in 2000 and she toured Europe, traveled to Japan, and performed in the USA and Canada.
Omara went back to the studio to record her second solo album “Flor de Amor” (World Circuit), which was produced by Nick Gold and Alê Siqueira, signals a change in direction in her career: it is an album marked by a more subtle sound and a richness of texture. Portuondo brought in a mixture of Cuban and Brazilian musicians for this album, and it is this factor which influences the particular style of the music.
Omara returned to Europe in 2004 to promote this album, performing at such illustrious venues as the North Sea Jazz Festival, Marble Hill House in London, Olympia in Paris and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. “Flor de Amor” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional Tropical Record category and the 16th edition of the Billboard Latin Music Awards (2005); this album obtained the Tropical Record of the Year award.
Later, Omara released “Gracias”, the record that marks her sixtieth year in the music business and won the Latin Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary Tropical Album. It was a very special night as Omara was there to receive the prize in person and she also presented one of the awards, the first time that a Cuban artist has done this. The album was also later nominated for a Grammy in the Best Tropical Latin Album category.
After touring with the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club in Europe during 2010, “the girlfriend of Feeling” released the latest recording, Omara & Chucho (Montuno Producciones) in spring 2011. 14 years after their last joint album, they reunite once again to continue unravelling the thread of their first joint project, and show us their talents in the simplest, most unclad manner on a context that enables them to lay emphasis on some of the features that been characteristic of their music at various stages in their careers.
Omara will also tour with the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club later in Europe and the U.S.
Ismael Rivera (October 5, 1931 – May 13, 1987)
Puerto Rican singer and songwriter contributed to the dissemination of the island’s native rhythms such as the Bomba and Plena, and he was one of the first standard-bearers of the Salsero movement of the decade, the reason for he was called “El Sonero Mayor” and also known for others by the nickname “Maelo”.
In 1952 he was hired as a singer for the Lito Peña’s Orquesta Panamericana with which he became known and reaped his first hits: “La vieja en camisa”, “La sazón de la abuela” and the most popular “El charlatán”, a song in Plena rhythm that was widely heard through the Puerto Rico’s local radio stations.
Two years later he left this group to join the Combo de Cortijo with whom he popularized “El bombón de Elena” by Rafael Cepeda Atiles, and as well as performed on Puerto Rican television in the “El Show del Mediodía”.
At the end of the ‘50s, they were presenting their shows at the prestigious New York club Palladium Ballroom, where they contributed to making popular the tropical rhythms imported from the island with great hits such as “El negro bembón”, “Maquinó Landera”, “Tuntuneco ”, and others.
Ismael Rivera’s triumphant career was interrupted in 1962 for paying four years under the laws of Puerto Rico for possession of narcotics. Then, after recovering his freedom, Ismael formed his musical ensemble “Los Cachimbos” and immersed himself in the nascent Salsero movement to which he contributed two classics such as “Dime por qué” y “Mi negrita me espera”.
In the mid-70s “El Sonero Mayor” became the ambassador of Salsa throughout America, working for the record label of the genre Fania, and triumphing with emblematic songs such as “De todas maneras rosas”.
In his facet as a composer, he wrote very notable pieces such as “Besito de Coco” (famous song by Celiz Cruz), “El incomprendido”, “Arrecotín, arrecotán”, “El que no sufre no vive”, y “Mi libertad eres tú among many others.
In his last years, he suffered a throat cancer that caused him to lose his voice and he died as a result of a heart attack. R.I.P MASTER!
Jimmy Bosch (October 18, 1959)
Jimmy Bosch was born in 1959 (New Jersey, U.S.). He is a world-renowned Trombonist, composer, singer, and bandleader in the world music genres. He has been performing professionally since age 13. Jimmy’s first two solo CDs, “Soneando Trombón” and “Salsa Dura” established him as the Ambassador of the Salsa Dura movement. He ignited this movement by combining old school quality salsa arrangements with a modern NY aggressive edge and socially conscious lyrics. “El Avión De La Salsa” demonstrates and solidifies his commitment to dancer centered music, while “A Millón” is the title of Jimmy’s 4th solo record released.
Appearing in over 100 recordings, Bosch “El Trombón Criollo de La Salsa” has garnered at least 10 Grammys and has toured with his orchestra, his sextet or as a solo artist, as well as with: Eddie Palmieri, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Manny Oquendo y Libre, FANIA Allstars, and the list goes on.
Jimmy has been featured throughout the world in major venues and festivals, including; Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center (NYC), Celebrate Brooklyn (NYC), Montreal Jazz (Canada), Madison Square Garden (NYC), Sydney Opera House (Australia), Barranquijazz (Colombia), El Poliedro and Teresa Careña (Venezuela), and many other important places.
Luisito Carrión (OCTOBER 26, 1962)
A native of Arecibo in Puerto Rico, Luisito Carrión has been singing since he was 13 years old. He began his career as a Salsa artist with the Orquesta Kafe, Orquesta La Nativa and Grupo Concepto Latino.
In his first performances, he sang along with Celia Cruz, Adalberto Santiago, and Santitos Colón. Later on, he was a member of Salsa Fever together with Julio “Gunda” Merced, were several hits come from: “Renta de Amor” and “Señores ahí va Julián”. Afterward, he joined the Bobby Valentín Orchestra, where he sang songs, such as: “El Señor de las Señoras”, “Ramos de flores”, “El Gigoló”, “Tributo de Cali” and “Como lo hago yo”. In his evolutionary process, Luisito joined the Orquesta Don Perignon where he sang “La Fuga” and later with the Sonora Porceña, where he performed songs, such as “Yaré” and “A Comer Lechón”.
In 1997, he recorded with Roberto Roena y Su Apollo Sound “Mi música 1997”. At the end of the 90s, Carrión began his career as a soloist with the record company MP Records with Julio “Gunda” Mercéd and Rafael Bodo Torres, which led to hits, such as: “Sin tu amor”, “La Chica Más Popular”, “Nadie Como Tú”, “Porque”, “Amiga Mía”, “Muriendo”, “Como Ave Sin Rumbo” and “Para Ser Real”. Nowadays, Luisito Carrión is one of the best Puerto Rico’s Soneros bringing on “Histeriaaaa…” in his fans.