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Cuban conga drummer and dancer, he was a leading figure in the history of Latin music.

The death of the Cuban conga drummer, Carlos "Patato" Valdés, aged 81, coincided with the celebratory day on the Afro-Cuban calendar for the Santería deity Changó. For Valdés, "a son of Changó", it must have seemed ordained. Valdés was one of the most significant and inventive conga players in Latin music's history.

A tiny sprite ("patato" is Cuban argot for a short person), he handled drums almost as high as himself with the power, skill and delicacy of big men such as Ray Barretto and also built a reputation for wildly inventive dancing.

(The Guardian)

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