Artist Profiles: José Alberto “El Canario”

José Alberto “El Canario”

José Alberto “El Canario” is known as El Sonero del Pueblo (The people’s singer). Nicknamed after the trademark canary-like whistle with which he embellishes his improvisations, “El Canario” has an exceptional voice, with a unique style. He is also a master improviser.

José Alberto Justiniano was born December 22, 1958 in Villa Consuelo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. El Canario’s family moved to Puerto Rico when he was just seven years old. In the enchanting island of Puerto Rico, he joined the Las Antillas Military Academy where he pursued his musical studies. His formidable performing abilities were a factor in opening doors for him.

A few years later, El Canario decided to take residence in New York City where he began to show the outstanding skills that make of him a star in tropical music. He became a distinguished figure in many popular orchestras of the time, earning profound reverence from the audience throughout the nation. The experience he accumulated made him a musical leader, and in 1983, he hired a well-known group of musicians and formed the José Alberto “El Canario” & Su Orquesta, a spectacular dance group in New York.

In 1987, Latin music visionary Ralph Mercado chose José Alberto to inaugurate the Tropical catalog of the RMM label. Celia Cruz chose him as her colleague on stage and for years they became a remarkable combination. Since then, he has traveled the five continents and today El Canario is known as a stellar artist of the Tropical rhythm genre. His successful recording career includes countless Gold and Platinum records.


Dance With Me (RMM, 1991)
Sueño Contigo (RMM, 1992)
Mis Amores (RMM, 1992)
De Pueblo y Con Clase (RMM, 1994)
On Time (RMM, 1996)
Back to the Mambo: Tribute to Machito (RMM, 1997)
Live from West Port (1999)
Herido (Ryko, 1999)
El Canario (Viva Discos International, 2001)
Diferente (Envidia, 2001)
Original (Los Canarios, 2011)
Intimamente Salsero Live (Los Canarios, 2012)
Romantico y Rumbero (Los Canarios, 2014)
No Quiero Llanto – Tributo a los Compadres, with Septeto Santiaguero (Los Canarios, 2015)

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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