Master percussionist Cachete Maldonado’s contribution to the recognition and advancement of Afro- Caribbean music has garnered him well deserved celebrity status. The 2010 release of “Rumba Boricua Campesina,” (Bata Records) with his ensemble Cachete Maldonado y Los Majaderos, maintains the high standards this innovative musician has established.
Angel ‘Cachete’ Maldonado was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico on Oct. 16, 1951. His father Rubén, was a respected orchestra bassist which also appeared repeatedly in the early days of local television. Cachete began his musical studies with formal piano lessons, but had an early inclination to percussion and went under the tutelage of drummer Julio ‘Maco’ Rivera. His curiosity of Afro-Cuban music, led him to the batá drums, and their religious and spiritual connotations. He would later expand his expertise on these instruments, but first followed the traditional role of accompanying salsa bands as a conga and bongo player.
While on the island, he joined the popular band of Johnny El Bravo, and after relocating to New York in the early ‘70’s was with Carlos “Patato’ Valdés, and Julito Collazo. He would then be the featured bongo player with La Conspiración. This led to his teaming up with pianist Larry Harlow, at the time of the much heralded record “Hommy.” He remained with Harlow for extensive tours of North and South America, and established his standing as a top tier percussionist. He went on to performing as well as recording with the likes of Eddie Palmieri, Louie Ramirez, Conjunto Libre, and Tipica 73. With the latter he would travel to Cuba in a cultural exchange program, upon his return he was asked to record with Machito and Dizzy Gillespie.