This blog is about my exposure to the Spanish language and various Latin-American cultures through travel and research; particularly Black Latino (Afro-Latino) cultures.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Black Director of One of Worlds Most Popular Salsa Groups
Ithier Nadal (above)
El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico (below)
For over 50 years, Ithier Nadal has been director, pianist, and composer
in one of the world’s most popular salsa groups that ever existed formerly known
as El Gran Combo (the Great Salsa Combo) of Puerto Rico. Today, he is the last
remaining originals of the group and continues to tour with the
group. In 2012, El Gran Combo celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a
grand world tour through five continents.
In Colombia, South America where
salsa music is big, El Gran Combo became known asLa Universidad de la Salsa (The University
of Salsa) because of so manyfamous
salsa stars, including Andy Montañez, Celia Cruz, and Hector Lavoe developed
their careers singing with the group.
In the beginning, Ithier Nadal became an
expert guitarist and was later inspired by his sister to play the piano. He was
of the Tito Henriquez group, Taone. Rafael Cortijo’s orchestra (an old
friend from childhood), called “Cortijo y su Combo,” and a New York group named
the "Borinqueneers Mambo Boys." Borinquen is the old name for Puerto
Rico before the invasion of Christopher Columbus.