Paco de Lucia the Flamenco guitarist from Spain

The 2014 Departed in Latin Music

This is a short and quick reminder of the talented artists that departed with 2014, but not before making significant contributions to our Latin music.

Paco de Lucia (February) – the famed Spaniard guitarist broke existing frameworks on the Flamenco, helping give shape to the New Flamenco. His extraordinary talent led to a global fame that pushed him to play with other genres and artists in Jazz and other musical styles. Perhaps the most illustrious example was his collaborations in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with guitar virtuosos Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin.

De Lucia won a posthumous 2014 Album of the Yea Latin Grammy for his last recording, titled “Canción Andaluza”.

Cuban percussionist Armando Peraza playing congas.Armando Peraza (April) – the great Cuban percussionist had already gained fame as a virtuoso before joining Santana’s band and spending 19 years with the famed rock guitarist. You can read a blog post on Peraza in the link HERE.

Cheo Feliciano Salsa legend foto

Cheo Feliciano was one of the most beloved artists in Salsa and Latin music.

Cheo Feliciano (April) – the Salsa legend passed away as a result of a car accident, but not before setting a road to be followed by many wanna-be’s in Salsa and romantic Boleros. Having sprung out of the wing of his master Tito Rodriguez, who recommended him to Joe Cuba, and from there Cheo made history. Owner of a unique voice, style, and personality, he won the hearts of his Latin music fans with his talent and his cry of “Familia”.

You can read a blog on Cheo Feliciano in the link HERE.

Colombia writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was not a Latin music artist, but instead one of the greatest writers of the world.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (April) – and here’s the exception to the rule, as el Gabo is not a Latin music artists, but a famed writer. However, his love of the music and his storytelling talent made an impact in artists like Ruben Blades (his songs inspired his under-rated album “Agua de Luna”). I therefore made an exception to mention him among our Latin losses of 2014.

Cuban Juan Formell foto

Juan Formell formed Los Van Van and revolutionized Cuban music with the Songo.


Juan Formell (May) – the Cuban bassist and bandleader of Los Van Van transformed Cuban and Latin music with the invention (along with Jose Luis Quintana “Changuito”) of the contemporary rhythm of “Songo”.

You can read a blog on Juan Formell in the link HERE.


Latin music bassist Eddie "Guagua" Rivera with bass.

Eddie “Guagua” Rivera was one of the best bass players in Salsa music.

Eddie “Guagua” Rivera (June) – another great bassist, “Guagua” set a standard for bass players in Salsa music with his work with Orchestra Harlow, Batacumbele, and as a studio bass players in many influential albums, including Willie Colon’s “Siembra” and Eddie Palmieri’s “The Sun of Latin Music” (which won the 1st Grammy for a Salsa album).

You can read a blog on Eddie “Guagua” Rivera in the link HERE.

Gustavo Cerati (September) – the founder of the groundbreaking Argentine Rock en Español band Soda Estereo, was regarded as one of the most influential and advanced minds in Latin music.

Salsa conga player Milton Cardona

Milton Cardona made his mark in Salsa with Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe.

Milton Cardona (September) – The excellent and legendary conguero for Willie Colon and later for Hector LaVoe, Milton was always respected as one of the most knowledgable percussionists in the Salsa scene of New York.

Carlos Emilio Morales (December) – the great Cuban guitar virtuoso was a founding member of the famed Cuban band Irakere, with the likes of Chucho Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera, and Arturo Sandoval.

Rubén Escabí (September) – last, but not least, is my most felt loss of this group. The king of the “bohemia” in Puerto Rico, my uncle Ruben Escabi played with night clubs, bars, and restaurants, and accompanied some of the best bolero and ballad singers in Puerto Rico.

In the famed novel “La Guaracha del Macho Camacho” Puerto Rican novelist Luis Rafael Sanchez refers to Ruben Escabi as “Galanura Bohemia” (Bohemian Gallantry) . More on my uncle in a future blog.

The Sum of Latin Music

For these loses, we also have to think that new artists are emerging in the circle of life and Latin music. Here in Latino Music Café I will strive to continue to highlight our Latin talent as that is one of my purposes for this Latin music blog.

I’ve already formed partnerships with promoters and with the Berkley College of Music who has a great program for new Latin artists.

Thanks for following Latino Music Café and supporting our Latin music. And please share the site in your social circles online and offline.

Happy New Year!

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