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 as La Universidad de la Salsa (The University of Salsa) because of so many famous 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.

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