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Alberto Santiago Berríos , was born on April 23, 1937 in the neighborhood of “Las Pozas” in the town of Ciales (Puerto Rico). Santiago is the possessor of a rich and deep voice, described by many connoisseurs as relaxed and perfect. Being a lyrical tenor, he is among the best performers of Afro-Caribbean music, at the same level of legends as Benny Moré, Bobby Capó and Miguelito Cuní and for more than six decades he has served as a show star in countless musical productions in the United States, greater relevance those made by orchestras such as Sonora Ponceña, the LeBron Brothers, Chuíto Vélez, Willie Rodríguez, Willie Rosario, among others.
His early influences included Cuban vocalists Beny Moré and Miguelito Cuní. Santiago began his professional career singing in trios and playing bass and guitar, this while dancing and singing, which demystified the fact that Oscar D ‘León was the first singer to play the bass, singing and dancing. at the same time.
After playing with the bands of Chuíto Vélez, Willie Rodríguez and Willie Rosario, his career really took a big turn when he joined Ray Barretto’s orchestra, with whom he achieved true internationalization by recording hits such as Acid and Rican Struction. . On a late afternoon in 1972, Adalberto and four members of Barretto’s band founded La Típica 73. He participated in three of his albums before religious differences, in the mid-70s, made Adalberto and three other members of the band split up to found Los Kimbos. Meanwhile, Santiago sang as lead singer in the two critically acclaimed albums of the charanga, Fantasia Africana (African Fantasy) and Nuestra Herencia (Our Heritage), produced by flutist, composer and producer Lou Pérez.
The Kimbos was conceptualized to be a resilient band and had a sound reminiscent of both: the pre-selected band of Ray Barretto and theTypical 73. With them, Adalberto recorded in 1976 The Kimbos and The Big Kimbos With Adalberto Santiago in 1977. That year he made his first solo album called “Adalberto”, which was produced by Ray Barretto and included two of his compositions. The Kimbos continued under the leadership of the timbrelero Orestes Vilató and recorded two more albums: Hoy y Mañana (1978), and Aquacero No Me Moja (1979).
Santiago was the main voice on a track of the album “Louie Ramírez y sus Amigos”. In 1979, Adalberto and Ramírez co-produced their following single: Adalberto Featuring Popeye El Marino. That same year he met with Ray Barretto at Rican / Struction. Ray produced the next solo album by Adalberto, Feliz Me Siento, the following year. The member of the Sonora Matancera, Javier Vázquez, produced, arranged, directed and played the piano on the rootsy “Adalberto Santiago”, which was Adalberto’s contribution to the revival of the salsa principles of the 80’s.
In 1982, he joined the orchestra director and bongocero Roberto Roena for the album Super Apollo 47:50. Santiago co-produced Calidad with Papo Lucca, who also played piano, arranged a track of the record and supervised the musical direction. His album Cosas del Alma was an album of exuberant boleros that included his third recorded version of the classic “Alma Con Alma” (previously contained in the albums of Barretto The Message and Gracias). He returned to the hardest and edged urban salsa in 1985 with Más Sabroso, by Roena.
Adalberto Santiago made his mature version of romantic salsa on the classic album Sex Symbol, with the production, arrangements, musical direction and piano by the ubiquitous Isidro Infante. This turned out to be one of the most successful records of his long career, setting the tone especially in Venezuela and Colombia, whose style was known by the name of “salsa monga”, as Adalberto himself would baptize it. In 1990, he again performed Alma Con Alma, this time arranged by Infante in a romantic salsa style for the second album by Louie Ramírez called Louie Ramírez y Sus Amigos. Three years later, Adalberto recorded the album “De Nuevo” with the iconic Cuban group Sonora Matancera. This recording was made in Mexico.
Santiago has written songs for countless albums in which he has appeared, both as an orchestra conductor and as a soloist, and has provided compositions for other artists, such as Joe Cuba. Adalberto remains faithful to his Latin roots and a statement he made in 1977 is still applicable in the 90’s: “I want to bring a truly Latino message to the people, this is what I do best and the structure of Latin music is more convenient and suitable for my voice style. “
Throughout his career, Adalberto Santiago has walked through a wide variety of Latin genres, thanks to his powerful and harmonious voice, a super-purified vocal technique and a rigorous physical discipline that has kept him in shape until today. . Merengue, Bomba, Plena, Charanga, Bolero, Guaguanco, Son Montuno, Rumba, Pachanga, Guaracha, Cumbia, Boogaloo and the most modern derivations of these genres, such as Fat or Hard Salsa and Monga or Romantic Salsa.
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