Artist Profiles: Irakere


Founded in 1973 by pianist Chucho Valdés, Irakere is a legendary Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble, which remains on the cutting edge of Latin jazz.

Many of the founders came from the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna. The line up at the time consisted of Chucho Valdés on piano, Oscar Valdés on percussion, Carlos del Puerto on bass, guitarist Carlos Emilio Morales, saxophonists Paquito D’Rivera and Carlos Averhoff; Jorge Varona on the trumpet, drummer Bernardo Garcia and Alfonso Campos on congas.

The following year, Arturo Sandoval joined the band and Enrique Pla became the drummer. Throughout the years other Cuban music luminaries joined the band, including José Luis Cortés, Germán Velazco, César López, Orlando Maraca Valle and Miguel ‘Angá’ Diaz.


Teatro Amadeo Roldán – Recital (Areíto, 1974)
Grupo Irakere (Areíto, 1976)
Musica cubana contemporanea (Areíto, 1978)
Leo Brouwer / Irakere (Areíto, 1978)
Grupo Irakere (Areíto, 1979)
Irakere (Areíto, 1979)
Chekere-son (Areíto, 1979)
The Best of Irakere (Columbia/Legacy, 1979)
Irakere II (Areito, 1980)
El Coco (1980)
Live in Sweden (1981)
Para bailar son (1981)
Volume VI (Areíto, 1982)
Calzada Del Cerro (Areíto, 1983)
Orquesta sinfónica nacional; La colección v. VIII (Areíto, 1983)
Bailando así La colección Volume IX (Areíto, 1985)
Tierra En Trance; La colección v. X (Areíto, 1985)
Quince minutos; La colección v. XI (Areíto, 1985)
Catalina (1986)
Live at Ronnie Scott’s – The Legendary Irakere in London (1987)
Misa Negra (Messidor, 1987)
Homenaje a Beny Moré (1989)
Great Moments (1991)
Felicidad (1991)
Bailando Así (1995)
!Afrocubanismo Live! Chucho Valdés and Irakere (Bembe, 1996)
Babalú Ayé (Bembe, 1997)
From Havana With Love (West Wind, 1998)
Indestructible (1999)
Yemayá (Blue Note, 1999)
Pare Cochero (2001)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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