Baltazar Carrero,“El jíbaro de Rincón,” was born in Rincón in 1917 to businessman José Salomé Carrero and seamstress Juana Rodríguez. Raised in Mayagüez, he learned to sing décimas with his father who used to play the Puerto Rican cuatro during Three King’s Day and other religious festivities. During his youth, Baltazar would earn some money singing with his friends in school related events. Unable to graduate, he worked in a cookie factory called Galletas Sultana. In 1946, Baltazar briefly left for New York City where he lived with his brother and sister, returning to Mayagüez two years later. It was then, at age thirty, that he began to sing jíbaro music professionally -- up until that point, he had only sung guarachas, merengues y boleros. In Mayagüez, Baltazar and his brother were offered an opportunity to sing at a local radio station. Baltazar rejected the offer, which required him to be there five days a week. He couldn’t commit because he was busy running a cafetín (a small café) that he owned called “El Jovito.”
By the end of 1948, El Jíbaro de Rincón was again in New York City singing in night clubs. These gigs led him to meet Claudio Ferrer, Nieves Quintero, Miguelito Carrillo and Ada Carrillo with whom he began to record albums in 1950 for the labels Cenit, Rival, Riney and Seeco. The first song that he recorded was a décima entitled “Te pego la mano.” Among his early hits were “La mujer mecánica,” “La casa de Yagua'' and “Vendo unos ojos verdes.” Soon thereafter, he released four albums with Ansonia Records.
-Dr. Mario Cancel Bigay
Note: This biography is largely based on an interview
conducted by David Morales and William Cumpiano
from El Proyecto del Cuatro Puertorriqueño