Israel Cachao Lopez (born 1918 in Havana, Cuba), often known just as Cachao (pronounced kah- CHOW) is a Cuban mambo musician and composer, who has helped bring mambo music to popularity in the United States of America in the early 1950s. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and has been described as the inventor of the mambo. He is considered a master of descarga (Latin jam sessions).
Lopez played the acoustic bass with his late brother, multi- instrumentalist Orestes Lopez. The brothers composed literally thousands of songs together and were heavily influential on Cuban music from the 1930s to the 1950s. They introduced the ritmo nuevo (new rhythm) in the late 1930s, which transformed the danzón by introducing African rhythms into Cuban music, which led to mambo.
Lopez has won several Grammy Awards for both his own work and his contributions on albums by Latin music stars, including Gloria Estefan. In 1995, he won a Grammy for Master Sessions Volume 1. In 2003, he won a Latin Grammy for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album together with Bebo and Patato Valdes for El Arte Del Sabor.
Lopez won a further Grammy in 2005, again for his own work, ¡Ahora Si!.
His nephew, Orlando Cachaito Lopez became one of the mainstays of the famed Buena Vista Social Club group.
Cachao has played with artists such as Tito Puente, and his music has been featured on movies such as The Birdcage, and on the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack. Actor Andy Garcia produced a documentary entitled Cachao... Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos (With A Rhythm Like No Other) in 1993 about his music.