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Trio Matamoros

Trio Matamoros


The Trío Matamoros was founded in 1925 by Miguel Matamoros, Rafael Cueto and Siro Rodríguez in the City of Santiago de Cuba. Their first performance, though an informal one, was on May 8, 1925 at Miguel Matamoros` house during his birthday party. That was the beginning of a trio that definitely revolutionized Cuban music from the son to the bolero.

Miguel Matamoros played the leading guitar and sang as soloist, Siro Rodríguez was in charge of the maracas and the choir and Rafael Cueto played the guitar accompaniment and was the second voice.

Their public performances began at parties and halls in Santiago. During a performance at the Aguilera Theater they called the attention of an American entrepreneur who immediately hired them to record at the RCA Victor studios, in New Jersey, in 1928. During their stay in that country, other new themes became resounding and long-lasting hits, namely, "El que siembra su maíz" and "Olvido". When they returned to H avana, they were already considered the most popular trio in the island so they began an extensive career of successes that will take them to a tour across the United States and Europe.

Some of the features that contributed to the particular style displayed by this trio and inscribed it in the musical history of all times are: in the case of Miguel Matamoros, the expressive plucking of the guitar and, in the case of Rafael Cueto, the "tumbao" in the accompaniment. Likewise, their well-known passacaglias, conceived by Miguel, were plagued with a very Creole flavor and one of their keys for success was the use of the picaresque genre and the irony in the texts of the songs they interpreted.

Miguel Matamoros was a prolific creator and his works, interpreted by the trio with their voice combination, the two guitars and the maracas, became memorable. At the same time, they were and still are spreading the nature of Cubans themselves. An irrefutable example of this can be found in their themes "Lágrimas negras" (which has been regarded as the first bolero-son), "Mamá, son de la loma", "Que te están mirando", "Mientes", and many others.

In 1945, Miguel Matamoros created an enlarged ensemble to perform at dancing halls by incorporating the piano, Cuban percussion, trumpets and, occasionally, the Chinese horn which was a typical instrument in Santiago de Cuba. Young singer Benny Moré joined this ensemble as a result of a contract they had in Mexico.

The Trío Matamoros remained as a trio for 35 years. During that period, they made some five hundred recordings which are nowadays considered invaluable pieces for collectors.

Their musical contributions to son, and the stylishness and elegance of its members were the main pillars for the strong popular support to this genre in Cuba and the indispensable breath for its international dissemination.