Guillermo Rubalcaba, Cuban pianist, died at 88

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ujt6guj876fr856476Guillermo Rubalcaba, born on January 10, 1927 and died September 7, 2015, he was a Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and orchestrator specialized in danzon and cha-cha-cha music genres.

Born as Guillermo González Camejo in the town of Pinar del Rio, as the son of Jacobo Gonzalez Rubalcaba he adopted his father’s maternal name for professional purposes.

Besides, Guillermo Rubalcaba was the father of latin jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

After moving to Havana, Guillermo Rubalcaba worked as pianist accompanist for Elena Burke, Blanca Rosa Gil and Omara Portuondo, among other singers, and also developed a close relationship with veteran flutist Richard Egues, who recommended him to violinist and cha-cha-cha bandleader Enrique Jorrin.

In 1964 Rubalcaba joined the Jorrín orchestra in a tour scheduled in several countries of Africa and Europe.

He then found himself on the move again, this time through North, Central and South America, which included a stop in the Expo 67 held in Montreal, Canada, until he entered the Charanga Tipica de Concierto, in which he played piano and would later conduct.

In 1973 he founded the Charanga Rubalcaba, which was created to preserve the finest traditions of popular Cuban music.

Then in 1987, the Charanga Rubalcaba released its most successful album, Vivencias, which featured Barbarito Diez and Tito Gómez, two of the greatest voices of the danzón and cha-cha-cha in Cuban music history.

In the 1990s, Rubalcaba became a member of several touring groups of veteran musicians who emerged in the wake of the success of the Buena Vista Social Club and Afro-Cuban All Stars groups.

In between, he collaborated with Jane Bunnett in her recording project Cuban Odyssey (2002).

Latterly, Rubalcaba ran and directed his orchestra named after him, in which he was also the pianist.

Rubalcaba’s career more than that of any danzonero has lived the period of early revolutionary effervescence, lethargy, and slow revival in recent times.

Guillermo Rubalcaba died September 7, 2015 at age 88.

 


 

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