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The great Puerto Rican cuatristas who are the Old Guard of the traditions...
Today's great elder cuatro masters

Living links to a great legacy of the past  (presented in no specific order)
Manuel Quintero   "Nieves Quintero"

"My name is Manuel Quintero Maldonado, but I'm known as Nieves Quintero, which are my father's two last names."
     "I gave the cuatro a new flavor. And I always told myself that I was going to play the cuatro differently from the way Ladi and my cousin Archilla, played it. That's what was on my mind...yes, it's true, I thought, I'm going to create a style with a new sound."

Our Nieves Quintero page can be found here

Juan Montalvo

Arturo Avilés   "Arturito"

To be sure, Arturito Avilés has been one of the most outstanding phenomenons of the Puerto Rican cuatros--of both yesterday and today. With his wonderful intros and innovative style, his deep knowledge of the music and the delicious way that he colored the seis with his cuatro, he inspired--and continues to inspire--musicians of following generations.

Our page dedicated to Arturito Avilés can be found here.

Iluminado Dávila

"Well, if you had to play at a rosary rite and some verses were sung...that was a tradition we followe. There was no equipment, nothing, no electrical sound equipment. Nowadays, just try to play without any equipment--with all the racket! In times past the musicians were respected, you'd start to play and people would stop talking. But nowadays, you go to play and its like playing in a cock fight. Nobody pays attention to the fact that music is for listening..."

Our Iluminado Dávila page can be found here

José Rodríguez "Pepe"

Noted to be among the best of the older cuatristas, Pepe Rodríguez was born in Morovis, Puerto Rico in 1921. Known among his peers to be a great player as well as an inspired composer of music for the cuatro in the traditional vein. Although all his masterpieces are unpublished, they are often heard in recordings played by the great modern players of the cuatro. Sadly, he has yet to receive his well-deserved recognition as one of the great artists of Puerto Rican culture. Our opinion is that his compositions are at a level with those of thel Maestro Ladi, with whom he played for years.

Our Pepe Rodríguez page can be found here.

Cristóbal Santiago

Cristóbal Santiago is not only one of the great cuatro instrumentalists but also he is the author of one of the best and most comprehensive methods for learning the cuatro, the Método Audiovisual Práctico para el Cuatro [Practical Audiovisual Method for the Cuatro], published by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture over several decades. But perhaps he is known for managing a shop, school and recording studio in Carolina, PR, called La Casa del Cuatro Puertorriqueño for over forty years, which over the years has become a cultural institution that remains open to the public to this day. Santiago was repeatedly honored by the Institute for his mastery, which they featured in films, books and pamphlets. Particularly notewhorthy was the Institute commission for the creation of a Cuatro Family, that is the creation of a series of cuatros of different sizes: soprano, tenor, alto and bass, each performing the different roles of the instruments of the string section of a symphony orchestra.

Our Cristóbal Santiago page can be found here.

Emilio "Millito" Cruz

Among the most famous and most versatile of the Puerto Rican cuatristas. We're preparing a page dedicated to this great master. In the meanwhile, enjoy these impromptu samples that Millito played for us solo, during our interviews with him:

 Millito offers us his arrangement of the Adagio for Strings by Albinioni

 Millito plays the melody part of the danza Impromptu by Morel Campos

 We asked Millto to play "something modern for us.


 Juan González

Juan González was one of the several players that played with and were mentored by the great Ladislao Martínez. He also played with the late Neri Orta and Ray Vázquez. We are looking for more information on this noted player.


 Gaspar Casiano