Rafael Cortijo

In the annals of Afro-Antillian music the name Cortijo is synonymous with the heartbeat rhythms of the music of the common people of the islands with a strong acknowledgement of its African roots. He played specifically for them and never forgot his ancestry or where he came from; they in turn have never forgotten him or his contribution to their culture.

Music legend Rafael Cortijo was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, on 11 December 1928. He was a significant figure in the history of Latin music and noted as a percussionist, (timbales, conga, bongo, maracas and other percussion), bandleader and composer. He was the musical hero of the common folk of Puerto Rico and Latin America; admired for his qualities as a creative and talented musician. He took the bomba and plena out of the slums and with his all-black band, and introduced them into all levels of society in Puerto Rico and abroad.

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