Cuba is a country recognized by its great musicians and sonorities; also for its training schools. However, from time to time, self-taught figures emerge and that catch the peoples freshness. Like the immortal Benny Moré, Manolito Simonet trained himself, counting on the help of a family that loves Cuban music and popular music.
So, from learning percussion on the sidewalks and streets, he switched to guitar, piano, bass, three and finally, cello. Today is a dazzling talent in Cuba.
From “Wonders of Florida” to “El Trabuco”
With only 15 years old, Manolito Simonet was already a professional musician and worked with groups such as Lágrimas Negras, Senén Suárez‘s group and the Orquesta Inspiración. However, it is with Maravillas de Florida, a more traditional charanga in the style of Aragón and Original de Manzanillo, which begins to become evident its genius. His influence marks the sound of the group replacing the metals with violins, thus elevating the Cuban popular music of his inspiration.
For 1993, aged 32, he founded El Trabuco, a band that followed the path of the Cuban dance tradition with arrangements and themes that included the bolero, the guaracha, the chachachá, the danzón and the most recent timba. Thanks to the timba, he gets the acceptance and love of the dancing public, although Manolito Simonet and his Trabuco admit to being influenced by classic brass bands and even Puerto Rican salsa.
“El Trabuco” around the world
Outside Cuba, an immense affection is experienced for this musician and his orchestra. Feel tested in each of its international tours, which include countries such as the United States, Japan, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and others. Some foreigner critics consider “El Trabuco” one of the best Cuban dance music bands of all time.
The unique structure of this orchestra is nuanced by the vision and artistic ear of Manolito Simonet, who knew how to fuse violin, flute, cello, trumpets, trombones, piano, bass, conga, drums and synthesizer in a unique unforgettable sound effect. For the year 2008, the band already had 8 albums and one of them, “Locos por mi Habana” from the year 2004 was the best selling Cuban album in the whole world.
Fame and stardom by Manolito Simonet
Not only has he been the producer of each of his albums, but he has also collaborated in this aspect with artists such as Waldo Mendoza, Lilí Martínez Griñán, Mayito Rivera, Van Van, Las Anacaonas and NG La Banda.
During the years between 2001 and 2004, Manolito Simonet was part of the jury of the very important Grammy Awards. Shortly before, in 1999, he won the relevant ASCAP Award for his song “El Aguila“, which was interpreted by Víctor Manuel.
Andy Montañez and the Puerto Rican Power Orchestra have performed compositions by the director of “El Trabuco” making Cuban popular music and Timba more international than ever. Simonet‘s work was declared “Best Novel Orchestra” in 1994, he won several EGREM Awards and Cubadisco Festivals.
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