Septeto Santiaguero was founded in 1995, by members of Melodías de Ayer, a group formed in the early 1960s, together with the Estudiantina Invasora and the Cuarteto Patria, had for over three decades animated many a day and night at the Casa de la Trova in Santiago de Cuba.
In 1993 and 1994 a number of young musicians from other septets, such as Sones de Oriente and Septeto Luz, joined Melodías de Ayer and Fernando Dewar, a tres player, took over the leadership of the group. Seeking to return to their roots, they decided to give up the mambos and stick to the discipline of the traditional septet: guitar, tres, bongo, clave, maracas, acoustic bass and trumpet, with the addition of the drum, which they retained in honor of Arsenio Rodríguez. In the Santiago de Cuba style, the two singers maintain the first and second harmony with equal emphasis.
Despite the fact that the group was eight in number, they retained the name Septeto Santiaguero because of the way they perform the son, the bolero, the guaracha, the guajira, and the guaguancó, which are completely rooted in the septeto sound. Together they created a group that preserves and pays homage to one of Cuba’s most important musical forms, with a vitality demonstrating that the septeto tradition is still fresh and alive in Santiago de Cuba today.
Fernando Dewar, musical direction, tres and backing vocals
Rudens Matos, guitar, backing vocals, occasional solo vocals and choreography
Pedro Antonio Rodón (Tony), solo vocals and claves
Inocencio Heredia (Chencho), solo vocals and maracas
José Delgado (El Pepe), bongos, tumbadora and cowbells
Adolfo Aguilera, bass
José Alberto Rodríguez, trumpet
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. 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.