Rich and rhythmic, sparkling and seductive, Felix Baloy's voice marks him as one of Cuba's very finest soneros. These ten magnificent performances showcase a true artist at the peak of his profession, backed by the thrilling arrangements of Juan de Marcos and the peerless Afro Cuban All Stars.
Felix Baloy has been singing for more than 40 years which means he has waited a long time to make his first solo album. One of Cuba's outstanding soneros with a unique timbre, the opportunity came about after he met Tumi Music founder Mo Fini in Havana in 1995 when Baloy sang on the label's splendid four CD set Las Leyendas de la Musica Cubana as part of the Cuban All Stars with Orquesta AmÈrica. Other singers on the project included Celina Gonz·lez and Omara Portuondo.
Felix Baloy Valdez Sautiz was born on November 20, 1944 in MayarÌ in eastern Cuba. His family was poor but his grandmother lived close to the legendary Ali Bar in Havana, where the great Beny MorÈ was a regular performer. To jump the fence every night and listen to some of Cuba's greatest performers was an unrivalled musical education for a young boy.
What he heard rubbed off and eventually a friendly uncle recognised the boy's talent and recommended him to a local band leader. By the late fifties he was singing with the group Mi Amparo. But when the American tourists departed following the revolution, there was little work for professional musicians and lean years followed in which Baloy worked on the railways and as a milkman and a shoe repairer. By the mid seventies, cultural isolation had left Cuban music at a low creative ebb. Yet paradoxically it was to prove the turning point in Baloy's career. Soon he was making a dramatic impression singing with Elio RevÈ's group. A band leader with an eye for new talent, RevÈ had a decade earlier discovered Juan Formell, who went on to lead the great Los Van Van and Juan Carlos Alfonso, two figures who helped transform the face of modern Cuban music.
Baloy stayed with RevÈ only a short time for his reputation as one of Cuba's most exciting soneros was growing fast. Before long he had joined Tropicuba, where he sang alongside Ra™l Planas, destined to be a colleague again almost 20 years later in the Afro-Cuban All Stars. But soon he was off again, this time to Santiago de Cuba to sing with Son 14 under musical director Adalberto Alvarez.
By now Baloy was one of Cuba's most in-demand soneros and he was tempted back to rejoin Elio RevÈ y su Charangon, this time as lead singer. By 1983 he had been reunited with Alvarez as the singer with his new orchestra, which swiftly became one of Cuba's leading salsa ensembles. He was to stay almost a decade. In the nineties Baloy became a resident singer at the Ali Bar, an emotional return to the venue where he had first heard Beny MorÈ as a boy. Then when Juan de Marcos Gonz·lez put together the Afro-Cuban All Stars in 1996 with the intention of recapturing the glory of the big band years, Baloy was one of the first names on his list. Juan de Marcos was an obvious choice as producer when it came to recording Baloy's first solo album.
Felix Baloy has been the main vocalist of the group Afro-Cuban All Stars and one of the Buena Vista social Club singers. Known as the sonero of the soneros , this compilations offers some two decades of Baloy recordings with both his band and Juan de Marcos Gonzalez band Afro-Cuban All Stars.
Artist: Felix Baloy
This video documentary shows one of Cuba's greatest contemporary singers and his evolving career, from railway worker, to shoemaker and then singer/composer. Filmed in the UK during a tour by the artist, and in Havana, Cuba, the DVD gives an insight into the artist's cultural background showing the more
Artist: Felix Baloy