Ramón Santamaría, 7 April 1922, Jesús María district, Havana, Cuba, d. 1 February 2003, Miami, Florida, USA. Percussionist and band leader Santamaría (nicknamed Mongo by his father) arrived in New York at the end of the 40s. There he performed with the first charanga (flute, violins, rhythm section and voices band) to be organized in the city, led by multi-instrumentalist Gilberto Valdés (b. Matanzas Province, Cuba), Pérez Prado (for a brief stint) and Tito Puente (between 1951 and 1957). In 1955, Santamaría recorded Changó (aka Drums And Chants), an album of roots Afro Cuban music featuring the Cuban percussionists Silvestre Méndez (b. Jesús María district, Havana, Cuba; bongo, composer), Carlos Patato Valdés and Julito Collazo.
Many years later, Santamaría commented: Changó is the best album recorded in the USA, within...
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