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Barbaro Torres: a fantastic lute player

Barbarito Torres, one of the best Cuban lute players, has remained loyal to the musical folklore of his native land, where people love country music or, simply, 'güajira music.

Although he now lives in Havana, Bárbaro Torres has not abandoned his authentically traditional style from the Cuban countryside.

Being an authentic 'güajiro, as he calls himself, Bárbaro Alberto Torres Delgado was born in the province of Matanzas a little more than 40 years ago. At the age of 10 he was already playing the 'tres (three-string guitar-like musical instrument) accompanying his father in the traditional 'canturías or parties held by the 'campesinos or farmers of the locality every weekend.

In 1970, he began his professional career in Serenata Yumurina, a group directed by Higinio Mullens. Three years later, during his active military service period, he joined a musical band and a jazz-band-style orchestra that was made up of some of its members.

After that period, he traveled across the island as part of Siembra Cultural, a group of traditional music that would later become the Yaraví group, until he decided to settle in Havana.

By that time, Barbarito was already known as one of the best Cuban lute players and, as such, he became a member of the Cuban Orchestra of Strings. His services quickly began to be frequently requested by radio and television stations, film-makers and phonographic studios, which included him in recordings by popular musicians like Elio Revé and groups such as Sierra Maestra.

Eventually, Barbarito Torres joined the legendary "Queen of the Cuban Countryside Music", Celina González, and became the musical director of her group Campoalegre. At the same time, he played with the Manguaré group and toured many countries of Latin America and Europe.

In 1992, Barbarito Torres founded his group Piquete Cubano, with which he continued accompanying Celina until 1995.

Later, he played an important role in the recording of Afro Cuban All Stars and Buenavista Social Club, winner of a Grammy Award in 1998.

Torress music is very special: it is aged and evolved at the same time, including old and new elements connected in a familiar way. As an expert, he integrates new influences to traditional concepts and thus creates a vibrant dynamics that the people welcome. His art should be celebrated for the stylized technique with which he presents the traditional music of the Cuban countryside, without changes but revitalized.

Source: By Héctor Arturo, Cubanow

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