Beny More

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Beny More
Benny Moré
Background info
Full name Bartolomé Maximiliano Moré Gutiérrez
Birthday/Birthplace (1919-08-24)24 August 1919
Santa Isabel de las Lajas, Cuba
Deceased 19 February 1963(1963-02-19)
Havana, Cuba
Genre(s) Son montuno, mambo, guaracha, bolero, afro
Profession(s) Musician, bandleader
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Active Years 1944–1963
Record Labels RCA Victor
Worked with Conjunto Matamoros, Mariano Mercerón, Bebo Valdés, Ernesto Duarte Brito, Orquesta Aragón, Banda Gigante

Bartolomé Maximiliano Moré Gutiérrez (Santa Isabel de las Lajas, August 24, 1919-Havana, February 19, 1963), known as Benny Moré, nicknamed El Bárbaro del Ritmo and El Sonero Mayor of Cuba, he was a Cuban singer and composer.

In addition to an innate musical sense, it was endowed with a fluid tenor voice that colored and phrased with great expressiveness. Moré was a teacher in all genres of Cuban music, but he excelled particularly in son montuno, mambo and bolero.

Beny More’s Biography

He was born in the Pueblo Nuevo district of Santa Isabel de las Lajas, in the then province of Las Villas, today in the Province of Cienfuegos, in the center of Cuba. He was the oldest of 18 brothers of a humble Afro-Cuban family and peasant. It is said that his maternal great-grandfather, Gundo, was a descendant of the king of a Congo tribe that was captured at the age of nine by slave traders and sold to the owner of a Cuban plantation called Ramón Paredes. Gundo was then called Ta Ramón Gundo Paredes. When it became the property of Count Moré, owner of La Santísima Trinidad, the name was changed to Ta Ramón Gundo Moré. He was later emancipated and died as a freedman at the age of 94 years. The last name of the maternal great-grandfather was conserved by being all the maternal ascendants of Moré -his great-grandmother, Julia; his grandmother, Patricia, and his mother, Virginia-, as well as the musician himself, fruit of illegitimate unions, most of them with whites, who did not recognize their children. Beny Moré’s father was one Silvestre Gutiérrez.

Bartholomew learned to play the guitar in his childhood. According to the testimony of his mother, Virginia Moré, his first instrument was made, at the age of six, with a board and a spool of thread. He left school at a very young age to work in the fields. At age 16, in 1935, he was part of his first musical group. In 1936, when he was 17 years old, he left his hometown and moved to Havana, where he earned his living selling “breakdowns”, that is, fruits and vegetables spoiled, as well as medicinal herbs. Six months later he returned to Las Lajas, where he worked cutting cane with his brother Teodoro. With the money obtained and the savings of his brother, he bought his first decent guitar.

In 1940 he returned to Havana. He lived precariously, playing in bars and cafes and then passing his hat. His first success was winning a contest on the radio. In the early 1940s, the CMQ radio station had a program called Supreme Court of Art, whose winners were hired and given the chance to record and sing their songs. The losers were interrupted, with the sound of a bell, without letting them finish their performance. In his first appearance, the bell rang as soon as Benny had started singing. However, he returned to compete later and won the first prize. Then he got his first stable job with the Conjunto “Cauto”, led by Mozo Borgellá. He also sang successfully on the CMZ station with the Sextet “Fígaro” by Lázaro Cordero. In 1944 he debuted on the 1010 station with the “Cauto” Quartet.

With the set Matamoros

Siro Rodríguez, from the famous Matamoros Trio, heard Benny Moré singing at El Templete bar and was pleasantly impressed. Shortly after, due to an indisposition of Miguel Matamoros shortly before a performance, Borgellá sent Beny to replace him. After this incorporation something less than casual, Beny would remain linked for years to the Matamoros, with whom he made numerous recordings. He replaced Miguel Matamoros as lead singer, who dedicated himself exclusively to directing the group.

In June 1945 he traveled with Conjunto Matamoros to Mexico, where he performed in two of the most famous cabarets of the time, Montparnasse and Río Rosa. He made several recordings. Although Conjunto Matamoros returned to Havana, Moré remained in Mexico. Apparently, there he acquired his stage name, at the suggestion of Rafael Cueto.

In 1946, Benny Moré married Mexican nurse Juana Bocanegra Durán and his godfather was the famous Mexican singer Miguel Aceves Mejía. For a time he performed in the Rio Rosa forming part of the Ghost Duet, with Lalo Montané. Also at this time he recorded for the record company RCA Victor the songs “Me voy pal pueblo” and Desdichado, together with the orchestra of Mariano Mercerón.

With Dámaso Pérez Prado he recorded Babarabatiri, Guanabacoa, Locas por el mambo, Viejo cañengo, El suave, Que cinturita, María Cristina, Pachito eche, among other topics. He began to be known as The Prince of Mambo. With Pérez Prado he also recorded “Dolor carabalí”, which Benny Moré himself considered his best recording with the king of the mambo, and he never wanted to record again.

In April 1952 he returned to Cuba. Although he was a star in several Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and Puerto Rico, he was hardly known in his homeland. The song Bonito y sabroso was his first recording in Cuba and his first success. He alternated live performances for the station Cadena Oriental with trips to Havana to record at the RCA studios. Between 1950 and 1951 he recorded many other songs, such as La cholanguengue, Candelina Alé, Rabo y oreja, among others.

In Havana he also worked for the radio station RHC Cadena Azul, with the orchestra of Bebo Valdés, who started him in a new style called batanga. The presenter of the program, Ibrahim Urbino, gave him the nickname of El Bárbaro del Ritmo (the reason seems to be that Benny interpreted for this station a number entitled “Ah, Bárbara!”). He had the opportunity to record with Sonora Matancera, but he declined the offer because he was not especially interested in his musical style (“because that Sonora, it had never sounded to him”, according to Leonardo Acosta).

When the fashion of the batanga passed, Benny was hired by Radio Progreso to perform with the orchestra of Ernesto Duarte Brito, with whose orchestra he recorded the famous bolero “Como fue”. In addition to the radio, he performed in dance halls, cabarets and parties. In 1952 he recorded with the Aragón Orchestra of Cienfuegos, which helped introduce him to the Havana musical world. In 1953 he recorded the mambo “So is humanity” (also recorded for Johnny Bosch).

The Giant Band

The first performance of Beny Moré’s Giant Band took place on the Cascabeles Candado program on the CMQ radio station. The band was composed of more than 40 musicians and was only comparable in size with Xavier Cugat’s big band.

It should be noted that the Giant Band, although large, had a melodic organization unique in its type, in addition to having the talent to improvise at the moment that its director Benny Moré decided.

Between 1954 and 1955 the Giant Band became immensely popular. Between 1956 and 1957 he toured Venezuela, Jamaica, Haiti, Colombia, Panama, Mexico and the United States, where he performed at the Oscar awards ceremony. In Havana they performed in the most famous dance halls, such as La Tropical and La Sierra.

When the Cuban Revolution triumphed in 1959, Benny Moré chose to remain on the island. In 1960 he also started acting at Night and Day cabaret. He was offered a tour of Europe, which Moré rejected for fear of flying (nothing strange if one takes into account that he had previously been involved in three plane crashes).

Death

He died in Cuba on February 19, 1963 of liver cirrhosis. That was

His last presentation took place on Sunday, February 17, 1963, in Palmira, Cienfuegos, a few kilometers from Santa Isabel de las Lajas, his hometown. A presentation full of legends. It is said that he had the rupture of an esophageal varicose vein, a consequence of liver cirrhosis that he had dragged before leaving for Mexico in 1945. Under these conditions, after vomiting blood, he took the stage and sang as never before. Dr. Luis Ruiz recalled that before this performance, Benny came to Santa Isabel de las Lajas, to meet his mother and relatives and learn about the construction of the house, which was personally attending.

According to Dr. Amín E. Naser, “during his trip to Lajas he had vomit of blood, he arrived in Lajas and from noon on Saturday 16 until dusk he lay down and vomited blood again. , he traveled to Palmira for his next presentation but he was still weak and weak, in the middle of the show he takes a short break and goes back to the stage, he sings Dolor y perdón, Maracaibo and Qué bueno baila usted. / p>

Many friends and family consider that from the first moment that Benny vomits blood, he should have gone to a nearby hospital in Cienfuegos and receive urgent medical attention with blood transfusions. But they took too long to treat him in a hospital with all the possibilities. He wore a lot in his last performance, but he wanted to look good with his audience. He died giving everything. Few cases are known of an artist who has delivered so much for his people.

De Palmira returned urgently to Havana. Benny did not want to enter any hospital, he wanted to be at home with his children and there wait for death. On Sunday, the 17th, something improved, but at dawn on Monday, February 18, he gets sick again and his doctor decides to admit him. Benny says: “My brother, he took the wheel.” They mounted him in an ambulance heading to the National Institute of Surgery, former Emergency Hospital, on Carlos III Avenue near the corner of Infanta.

Arrived in a coma, pulmonary and renal complications appeared. His breathing became difficult and his blood pressure began to drop. He maintains fever of 39 and no defenses appear to the implanted treatments. His condition was very serious. In those days, the First International Medical Congress was held in Havana, and when the news of the seriousness of Benny spread, Dr. Machado Ventura appeared, who with other national and foreign doctors participated in a medical meeting.

At 9 and 15 of the night of Tuesday, February 19, 1963, the Bárbaro del Ritmo passed away. The news shook the musical world to its foundations. Pepe Olmo, singer of the Orquesta Aragón, said that a musical era had ended: “Then another one came, but this was finished with Benny Moré”.

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