Chucho Valdés, Always Ours
Dionisio de Jesús Valdés Rodríguez, known as “Chucho” Valdés, celebrates his 77th birthday and continues to give glory to our country.
Author: Ricardo Alonso Venereo | firstname.lastname@example.org
October 8, 2018
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
If Bebo Valdés is of Cuba, so is his son Dionisio de Jesús Valdés Rodríguez, known as “Chucho” Valdés, who, this October 9, the date of his father’s centenary, will be 77 years old. Both were born in the municipality of Quivicán: both of us.
A friend recently told me: Bebo and Chucho Valdés put this town, in the province of Mayabeque, into the category of Grammy town. How many towns in the world, with an average of 20,000 or more inhabitants, have Grammies that add up to those two? Together they total eleven awards between Grammy Latino Awards and the Latin Grammys.
And, if the father is an obligatory reference in the history of Cuban music, the son is no less so. He is a pianist, composer, music teacher, musical arranger and director. His work is distinguished by its Cuban nature and by his being among the best jazz musicians in the world. As a pianist, he also ranks among the best. He is a master in all genres, both jazz, classical music and popular dance music.
With Irakere, considered by many to be the most important Cuban music group of the second half of the 20th century, which Chucho founded in 1973, he patented a label very hard to beat in contemporary and future Cuban music. Here are his songs Misa Negra and Bacalao Con Pan (Black Mass and Cod with Bread). In 2002, together with Leo Brouwer, he won the first National Music Award. In 2006 he was appointed Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He has been granted a Doctor Honoris Causa by prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, the University of Victoria in Canada, and by the University of the Arts (ISA). He also holds the Félix Varela Medal of Cuba, the keys to the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Madison and Nevilly in the United States and Ponce in Puerto Rico.
His time at the world’s greatest jazz festivals has been overwhelming. With his new group, The Afro-Cuban Messengers, “Chucho” Valdés continues to give glory to our country.