12.28.2006

Nico Saquito - Goodbye Mr. Cat (1982)



MUSIC FROM CUBA

One of Cuba's most famed guitarists, Nico Saquito founded the guaracha style, renowned for its four-line stanzas and humorous lyrics.

In Santiago De Cuba, Cuba's legendary composer and Guaracha master Nico Saquito made his last recordings. A baseball player and mechanic, he was involved in the social struggle. He was over 80 years old at this time.

These later recordings, with Saquito fronting the Quarteto Patria and El Duo Cubano, aren't as fiery as his stuff from the 'Fifties, but they also aren't overly formalized or stuffy. It's gentle, masterfully swinging material, with the same sort of old-timer grace as the many Buena Vista Social Club-related albums that came our way a decade and a half later. For a long time, this was the only Nico Saquito record that was readily available to folks in Europe and the United States; now that there's more to choose from, this disc may have lost a little of its lustre, but it's still pretty sweet.

Antonio Fernandez Ortiz, better known as Nico Saquito (and also nicknamed "Mr. Cat") was at the heart of the Casa De La Trova acoustic music scene in Santiago, Cuba, A master of the acoustic trova style, Saquito (1913-1982) was one of Cuba's most beloved acoustic musicians, writing countless classics and helping solidify the acoustic trova style. Early in his career, he passed through a series of minor bands before deciding to devote himself full-time to his music, sometime in the late 1930s. In the '40s, he worked extensively on radio, but his career really took of in the postwar years, when he teamed up with fellow acoustic guarachero Maximilliano ("Bimbi") Sanchez, as part of the Guaracheros De Oriente, a group that Saquito led for decades to come, despite constantly shifting personnel. His career as a bandleader was briefly interrupted in the 1950s when he toured outside of Cuba and then found himself unwelcome to return due to his left-wing political sympathies (he later returned to Cuba in 1960, after the fall of the Batista government...)

Nico Saquito died in 1982.


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1 comment:

El Mamey said...

Hi,

I found your blog looking for Ñico Saquito information and hopefully some tracks of him. I'm very interested in Cuban Music and Ñico was indeed, a wonderful Cuban performer. Unfortunately, his music is really hard to find, and I'm wondering if you might have some in your own, or direct me on where to find some of his music...