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Like Celia Cruz, La Sonora Matancera, Machito, Beny Moré, Arsenio Rodríguez, Pérez Prado and Trio Matamoros, Los Guaracheros de Oriente are icons of Cuba’s “Golden Age'' of music. They were cultural ambassadors whose infectious sound traveled around the world, influencing generations of musicians to come, and as such are forebears of New York salsa. Founded in the mid-1940s by prolific singer-songwriter Benito Antonio Fernández Ortiz (January 17, 1902, Santiago de Cuba – August 4, 1982, Santiago de Cuba), better known as Ñico Saquito, the group was also one of Cuba’s most long-lived and beloved purveyors of the guitar-based “Oriente” trova (troubadour) sound from the island’s eastern region. Antonio Fernández’s compositions endure to this day and are considered “standards” of typical, authentic Cuban music from the 20th Century.

-Pablo Yglesias

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