Thursday, March 23, 2006


Cuban singer and Buena Vista Social Club member Pio Leyva has died, it was announced today.

Born in Moron, Cuba, in 1917, his first glimmer of musical promise came when he won a bongo contest at the age of six, but he didn't take up singing professionally until 1932. Known as El Montunero de Cuba, he formed a long-running partnership with Compay Segundo in the 1950s. The pair were recording in Havana on the day of the revoultionary storming of the presidential palace; Keyva claimed that sharp ears could hear the sounds of gunshots.

In a long career, his first record contract with RCA Victor in 1950 would eventually lead to 25 albums; at the age of 74, Leyva embarked on a four month tour of west Africa.

His death from a heart attack, at the age of 88, came following a stroke a few days earlier.

Earlier: Ibriahim Ferrer obituary

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