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Guillermo Portabales - JPop.com
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Guillermo Portabales

Guillermo Portabales

Guillermo Portabales


Guillermo Portabales (6 April 1911 – 25 October 1970) was a Cuban singer-songwriter and guitarist who popularized that guajira style of Cuban music from the 1930s through the 1960s. His languid, melancholy, intensely lyrical guajiras and his elegant, stylish singing made him greatly popular throughout Latin America, where he is still revered. Portabales was born José Guillermo Quesada del Catillo in the province of Rodas, in the former department of Las Villas. Read more on Last.fm
Guillermo Portabales (6 April 1911 – 25 October 1970) was a Cuban singer-songwriter and guitarist who popularized that guajira style of Cuban music from the 1930s through the 1960s. His languid, melancholy, intensely lyrical guajiras and his elegant, stylish singing made him greatly popular throughout Latin America, where he is still revered. Portabales was born José Guillermo Quesada del Catillo in the province of Rodas, in the former department of Las Villas. At age 11, Portabales began work as a printer's assistant in Cienfuegos. In 1928, he made his radio debut on the station CMHI, and from then on divided his time between his work as a printer and performing. In the beginning, Portabales sang a variety of styles -- canción, tango, bolero, son until he discovered that his listeners enjoyed the guajira the most. He thereby refined the style and developed his signature salon guajira style in which he depicted in bucolic terms the life of the Cuban guajira (the rural campesino). Portabales sang and played guitar, accompanied bass and percussion.

His guajiras have a gentle, lilting rhythm, mixing elements of the traditional son and the bolero. Portabales continued to perform and perfect the guajira in eastern Cuba (the Orient) until invited to Puerto Rico in 1936. Portabales became instantly enamored of the neighboring Caribbean island and remained there for several years, singing in theaters, clubs and on the radio. In 1939, he married the puertoriqueña Arah Mina López, a journalist who joined him as toured Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, New York, and Tampa. In 1940, Portabales returned to Havana to perform on stage and on radio with the Trio Matamoros. He also made a successful tour of United States and took an extended stay in Baranquilla, Colombia. In 1953, Portabales finally settled for good in Puerto Rico, where he continued to record and perform and from where he made occasional tours of the continent.

During the 1960s, he expressed his opposition to the Cuban Revolution in several compositions in discreetly poetic terms. Portabales' career was tragically cut short when he died at age 59 in a traffic accident on Puerto Rico in 1970. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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