Artist picture of Compay Segundo

Compay Segundo

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Artist's Top Tracks

Guajira guantanamera Compay Segundo 05:12
Lágrimas negras Compay Segundo 03:47
Viejos sones de Santiago (feat. Dúo Evocación) Compay Segundo, Dúo Evocación 04:23
Chan chan Compay Segundo 04:21
La negra Tomasa Compay Segundo 03:58
Chan Chan (feat. Eliades Ochoa) Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa 04:16
Para Vigo me voy Compay Segundo 05:04
Son de la loma Compay Segundo 03:37
Macusa Compay Segundo 04:23
Yo canto en el llano Compay Segundo 03:03

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Chan chan
Macusa
Sabroso
Sarandonga

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Biography

He's best known for finding international success late in life after collaborating with Ry Cooder on the Buena Vista Social Club album, but Compay Segundo had been recognised in Cuba much earlier as one of the country's best-loved singers and composers. Moving to Santiago de Cuba at the age of nine, he began playing clarinet in the municipal band there and later graduated to playing guitar and tres (a type of South American guitar), effectively making his name playing tres and singing in the duo Los Compadres with Lorenzo Hierrezuelo in the 1950s. They became hugely popular in Cuba for their traditional style rooted in the folk music of the past and Segundo was acclaimed for writing many memorable tunes, notably Chan Chan. He also invented another guitar-styled string instrument, the armonico. He disappeared from view when the old music fell out of fashion, but was re-discovered in spectacular fashion when Ry Cooder recruited him for the Buena Vista Social Club project - with Segundo's tune Chan Chan as the opening track. The album's success resulted in belated international fame and he played many high profile tours and concerts, where his audiences included President Fidel Castro and Pope John Paul II. He also featured in the Wim Wenders movie about the Buena Vista Social Club and celebrated his 90th birthday in 1996 with the album Lo Mejor de la Vida (The Best In Life). In 2000 Segundo was back in the studio recording another new album Las Flores De La Vida, playing traditional material, including Guantanamera, and continued to play concerts with a band that included three clarinettists. In 2001 he collaborated on his last album with Polo Montanez; and his death in 2003 was commemorated in Cuba with an orchestral concert of his compositions.