Perez Prado, a biography, his achievements and how he influenced mambo music
I have recently found myself being open to more kinds of music and discovering more music on my own accord, namely the likes of Latin, Samba and Cuban music. Through this journey of discovery I have chanced upon many artists like Sergio Mendes, João Gilberto, Perez Prado and many more. I really took a particular interest in how Perez Prado had brought mambo music from Cuba to an international audience and how he had influenced a whole new wave of pop music. After much research and enjoyable listening during this research, I am here to write about Perez Prado, a biography, his numerous achievements and how he had influenced mambo music.
Perez Prado was born in Matanzas, Cuba, on December 11, 1916. He started our playing organ and piano in local theaters and clubs while under the tutelage of Rafael Somavilla, his classical piano teacher at the Principal School of Matanzas. He then made a move to Havana when he was 26, playing piano for the “Orquesta del Cabaret Pennsylvania de la Playa de Mariano and soon moved on to a small band at the cabaret Kursaal.” (Levy 1) The lead vocalist from the Orquesta del Cabaret Pennsylvania de la Playa de Mariano, Cascarita, really enjoyed Perez Prado’s style, he then hired him to arrange songs, which were famously used by many different Cuban orchestras. Prado had slowly developed his knowledge of the Mambo, eventually fusing it together with the elements of jazz. “Mambo is a genre of Latin music as well as a style of dance that originated in Cuba.” (donquijote) Things took a turn when Cuba’s conservative musical establishment were antagonistic towards Perez Prado’s innovation mambo music, claiming that it was adulterating when he fused both of it together. He then decided to move to Puerto Rico in 1947, where he slowly became a well-known musical director and a movie star.
In 1948, Prado decided to form his own band, which consisted of many renowned musicians from Cuba. Soon, Prado was signed to RCA’s Mexican division and he released “Mambo No. 5”, which became a hit immediately all over Latin America. In the early 50s, Prado spent a great deal of time touring internationally, spreading his new wave of mambo music. He had numerous incidents where things did not go his way, in 1951; he had to perform a solo act without his orchestra due to a dispute with Musicians Union Local 802 in New York City and the Puerto Rico Theater. October 26th that same year, on a ride back to Los Angeles, Prado’s tour bus had overturned, a singer along with a dancer were killed, and the other musicians had suffered severe injuries as well. Prado had to perform with crutches for the next few months. His popularity and music slowly grew over the years and a “mambo...