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Famous Cuban entertainers: Barbarito Diez

Barbarito Diez was born on December 4, 1909 and he represented the ultimate male romantic vocalist in the history of danzón. As a relaxed, yet romantic stylist, he had a friendly tenor voice with correct diction and easy sense of feeling.

Barbarito was born in in a sugar cane mill in Bolondrón in Matanzas Province. When he was four years old, he moved with his parents to Manatí, Oriente Province, The family lived in a batey, where the young Barbarito intuitively began to sing the repertoire of songs of the Trio Matamoros.

Barbarito moved to Havana in 1930 and he received an invitation from pianist and composer Antonio María Romeu to join his dance band in 1935, where he continued thereafter as its main soloist. After Romeu died in 1955, the orchestra continued playing under the leadership of his son Romeu Jr. with Barbarito as lead singer. Some years later the band was renamed Orquesta de Barbarito Diez.

During his career, Barbarito toured Latin America and the United and recorded eleven albums of his extensive repertoire of danzón. Strengthened by a fanbase in Venezuela, he thanked this audience for their support by recording a collection of Venezuelan music in his albums Barbarito Diez canta a Venezuela, Volumes 1 & 2, which were released in 1977 and 1980, respectively.

Barbarito’s last recording session was with the Charanga Típica orchestra directed by Guillermo Rubalcaba. Barbarito Diez died in 1995 from diabetes-related complications at age 85


Edited by Ivan Martínez
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