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December 19, 2022
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“This meeting”: an album with the work of the Cuban composer René Márquez


On December 23, 1986, René Márquez Rojo passed away. Thus ended the life of the artist who left his mark on the Cuban sound staff with themes that are still sung to this day. “Spontaneously” is probably the best known.

We talk about René, the composer, and rarely approach the singer. His vocal versatility allowed him to integrate into different formats, which required a deep knowledge of the interpretive styles and repertoires that characterized each of the orchestral formations.

Cira Rojo’s son was born on September 9, 1914, he made his debut with the Cervantes orchestra in 1930 and two years later he appeared with Juan Bruno Tarraza and Ballín Domenech on a radio station in Caibarién (Villa Clara).

He arrived in Havana in 1937, joined the Paulín Orchestra and later he will be seen with the formations of Paulina Álvarez, Neno González, Cheo Belén Puig, Siglo Veinte, the Casino Nacional and Julio Cuevas.

René’s catalog includes pieces that make up a great representation of the wide range of popular Cuban genres: boleros, sones, guarachas… Some titles such as “Come with me”, “In the sky of my life”, “It’s the illusion”, ” Life is a moment”, “A flower can”, “Let’s dance my guaracha”, “El granito de maíz, Jícara”, “I am the queen”, “I know what makes you happy”… show how fertile and varied it was his pen.

When he died at the age of 72, René Márquez indisputably left as a cultural legacy a work of great relevance.

Beyond the filial love, between René and Beatriz respect for both careers prevailed. As an exceptional witness, she saw the birth of some songs and with that prodigious voice she popularized them inside and outside the archipelago.

When it seemed that René’s authorial work was falling into oblivion, Beatriz set out to dust off lyrics and almost all of her record production never lacked a song by her father. Maybe “Spontaneously” was enough for him. From the long play it’s loneliness and until today he has not been able to get rid of that hymn that also served as inspiration for the playwright Amado del Pino for one of his plays.

But no, it is never enough when it comes to saving memory.

With more than fifty years of artistic career, at a maturity that allows her to do what she wants and not what is in fashion, the Musicalísima decided to record eleven songs signed by the man who discovered her acting skills in her.

The René Márquez tribute-album project was born a few years ago and gained strength after free from sin, tribute to Adolfo Guzmán. While the idea for the material was being developed, the researcher Felipe Morfa found some recordings with René’s voice, hitherto unpublished and later used in the phonogram.

Under the production and direction of Juan Manuel Ceruto, who also assumes the orchestrations, the album has the special participation of Evelyn García Márquez and Michel Maza Márquez, continuers of the family saga.

Pieces like “I don’t answer” and “El disgusto de Bigote”, popularized by Antonio Machín and Daniel Santos, respectively, were included on the album. Both “El inquieto Anacobero” and other interpreters added the guaracha “Soltando chispas” to their repertoire, but on this occasion Michel Maza “oxygenates” the song with his most peculiar salsa style.

While the already famous “Spontaneously” has the backing of an extraordinary Víctor Campbell on piano and the Lyceum Mozartiano Orchestra of Havana, conducted by José Antonio Méndez. A version like we never imagined before.

Recorded at Estudios Abdala, the record material is expected to be released in 2023 by the Colibrí label.

«My father is present in the purest and most beautiful moments of the beginning of my career. With him I was able to develop everything that I am”, Beatriz Márquez has said repeatedly and this meeting reaffirms his eternal gratitude.

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