What's new with the cuatro: Archive
June 2012 was a tragic month for Puerto Rican musical culture.
Shortly after having to report the passing of the great cuatrista Neri Orta (see immediatly below), sad news reached us that Yomo passed away on June 30, 2012 after losing his battle against cancer, kidney failure and high blood pressure. Yomo was the most highly recognized and beloved cuatrista of the present day, equalled as Puerto Rico's most revered cuatro icon perhaps only by the late Maso Rivera. He is also recognized as the one who brought the cuatro into Salsa.
During the last two decades, Yomo was a great friend of our Cuatro Project, giving his time freely to us, sharing his anecdotes and time for interviews and questions.
You can find Yomo Toro's interviews with the Cuatro Project, along with photographs from his personal collection here.
It is with great sadness that we must announce that on the 3rd of June of 2012 this great maestro of the cuatro retired forever to the celestial pantheon of Puerto Rican culture. We are preparing a page dedicated to the great musician with eulogies by his musical companions.
Listen to the great maestro Neri, who was, unlike most of the great players. an expert singer besides. Neri plays and sings the Seis Jíbaro Un Baile Campesino, backed by the legendary Conjunto Típico Ladi. The décima he sings tells about a dance party in Manatí, where he brought his girl and while they were dancing a "mazurquita" a free-for-all breaks out and he ends up outside in the bushes.
foto por Juan Sotomayor
We've been informed that the distinguished elder cuatrista Nicanor Zayas Berrios passed away just at the New Year of 2009. Even though Zayas never recorded commercially, he is considered one of the most respected expert cuatrista of our times. Zayas was one of the first cuatristas that took the cuatro out of the jíbaro music sphere, opening its repertory to world and pop music of his day. His musical tastes were broad and all-encompassing: it included South American, North American and Mexican music--even movie tunes.