Holguín, Cuba – According to Cuban sources, Faustino Oramas, better known as El Guayabero, the oldest working musician in Cuba, died today in Holguín (Cuba) at 95. He died of liver cancer at Vladimir Ilich Lenin hospital in Holguín.
El Guayabero was known for his humorous and double meaning songs and his signature straw hat. During his long career he performed many different forms of Cuban music, including música guajira (country music), son, tumbao and trova.
His real age and birth date were not clear. Cuban sources mention he was born June 4 of 1911, although the same sources clarify that some estimated his real age at 103 years old. His former record label, Eurotropical, and other Cuban sources, list his birth date as January 4th, 1911.
El Guayabero was born in Holguín, in a very poor family. No one in his family had musical training so Faustino was forced to learn music by himself. His first job was in a printing shop, but he turned to music at a young age. At 15 he became a member of Tropical Band as singer and maracas player.
In 1938 he composed "En Guayabero," the song that gave him his artistic name. He continued performing and recording on numerous albums for decades until 1998 when he was "rediscovered" by Eurotropical. El Guayabero recorded a CD titled El Tren De La Vida, released by Spanish label Eurotropical that same year.
El Guayabero was one of the Cuban musicians who received more tributes and recognitions while he was still alive. He received the Premio Nacional del Humor in 2002. During his official birthday in 2006 he received a tribute in his hometown of Holguín and was recognized as Juglar Mayor de Cuba.