|Birth name||Diomedes Dionisio Díaz Maestre|
|Also known as||El Cacique de La Junta|
|Born||May 26, 1957|
|Origin||La Junta, La Guajira, Colombia|
Diomedes de Jesús Díaz Maestre (born May 26, 1957 in the corregimiento of La Junta, La Guajira) is a Colombian vallenato singer and composer. He is the most widely recognized performer of this musical genre. His well known El Cacique de la Junta was given early in his career by vallenato singer Rafael Orozco Maestre in honor of his birthplace; La Junta.
Early years (1957-1997)
Diomedes was born and raised on a farm called "Carrizal" on the outskirts of La Junta; his father, Rafael Maria Díaz, and his mother, Elvira Maestre, were very poor, something that Diomedes always sought to change. His childhood was spent helping his parents and eight brothers with farm duties, while he was musically influenced by his locally renowned uncle, Martin Elias. His friends nicknamed him El Chivato ("the little goat"), making fun of his young vibrating voice; he became part of the attraction for every party in the house.
Eventually Díaz' uncle decided to help him train his voice and compose songs; Díaz quickly mastered his vocal training and was invited to perform at parties. Eager to succeed, he moved to Valledupar to work as a gardener. He also worked as a messenger and office boy for a local radio station, Radio Guatapuri, pursuing the opportunity to convince disc jockeys to play his future songs. Between 1974 and 1975, he got his first song recording deal with Jorge Quiróz and Luciano Poveda, a well known vallenato group; they recorded the song Cariñito de Mi Vida which put Díaz in the spotlight.
Díaz received invitations to more parties, gigs and reunions, and his voice captivated a new generation of fans. At the cultural week for a local high school, he met Rafael Orozco Maestre, an emerging vallenato singer who would give Díaz his famous nickname El Cacique de La Junta.
Doris Adriana Niño
The night of May 14 and early morning May 15, 1997, Díaz was having a party in his apartment in Bogotá, Colombia, when his friend and fan, Doris Adriana Niño, was killed. According to the Constitutional Court of Colombia, some people at the party, including Niño, were consuming drugs, but is not clear if she was involuntarily forced to take drugs or voluntarily used them. The report says that Niño was raped, and had an argument with a pregnant woman at the party, Luz Consuelo Martínez. Niño died that night and her body appeared on the outskirts of Bogotá, near the Village of San Onofre, municipality of Combita (Boyacá Department).
Díaz was captured by order of the Attorney general's office on October 3, 1997, and was conceded house arrest after proving that he had Guillain-Barré syndrome. On August 11, 2000, a judge ordered Díaz transferred to jail, considering that his illness had been considerably overcome, but when authorities went to his house to complete the transfer, Díaz had escaped and given refuge by Illegal paramilitary groups headed by Rodrigo Tovar.
During the trial, Díaz was tried as an "absent inmate"; the judge concluded that Niño had a great amount of drugs the night she died, but the Attorney General's Office determined that her death had been caused by a provoked asphyxiation. The Colombian Bureau of Legal Medicine determined that she had died from pressure put over her mouth and nose.
On August 20, 2002, after a year and a half of evading house arrest, Díaz turned himself in to authorities in Valledupar, accompanied by two of his lawyers. On August 21, 2002 a Colombian Superior Tribunal reduced his jail term from 144 to 37 months; Niño's family protested that the sentence was too low. He had already spent a year in jail and had two years pending before his escape.
According to the trial, Díaz did not commit an unintentional homicide (homicidio preterintencional), in which the aggressor wants to induce damage but ends up causing death as the previous judge had ruled. Instead it was determined that he had committed a "mea culpa homicide" (homicidio culposo), which according to Colombian law, is a less severe unintentional homicide.
Criticism of trial
Doris' family, specially her brother Rodrigo, indignated, criticized the lenient treatment given to Díaz by authorities as he expressed in his statements after Díaz turn himself in:
|“||He had to turn himself in, because he got a substantial reduction on his jail time, which came down from 10 years to 37 months. Sincerely, I think that no one is going to do something about it, because that process for escaping from prison is going to preclude... ...Diomedes Díaz had a suspended arrest warrant, had freedom benefits for supposedly being ill, but he wasn't detained. Then they have to be clear on that, we should not be tricked: nothing is going to happen to Mr. Diomedes for his prison escape because basically it never existed... ...Also, besides that Diomedes has a process for narcotics (Law 30) that he is supposed to follow and be strong, because it is said that the death of Doris Adriana was because of drugs [overdose]. But, I'm convinced that the contrary is going to happen. It is going to preclude." -Rodrigo Niño.||”|
Scandal in Cali
On November 22, 2005 the local government of Cali vetoed all shows of Diomedes Diaz in the city after Diaz allegedly consumed cocaine while performing on stage. Although video images proved the contrary, the Cali City Hall issued a notice in which notified all entertainment businessmen that the government was not going to issue any permits for the use of public areas where Diaz would be scheduled to appear. The incident was considered a warning by the local administration to other performers.
Scandal in Santa Marta
On February 22, 2006, Diaz was scheduled to sing in the city of Santa Marta. According to the businessman Johnny Bennedetti who hired Diaz, the singer did not show up for the event, causing the public to turn into a mob that almost completely destroyed the place known as "La Tremenda" in east Santa Marta.
According to Diaz' publicist José Sequeda, the people in charge of the event did not deliver on time the full payment of the artist as had been established in the contract. He also added that he had given Diaz part of the money as initial payment.
As a result there were 25 microphones stolen, sound system equipment damaged, liquor and money also stolen.
- 1976 Herencia Vallenata, featuring Nafer Duran.
- 1976 Tres Canciones, featuring Edelberto Lopez.
- 1977 De Frente, featuring Edelberto Lopez.
- 1978 La Locura, featuring Juancho Rois.
- 1979 Dos Grandes, featuring Colacho Mendoza.
- 1979 Los Profesionales, featuring Colacho Mendoza.
- 1980 Tu Serenata, featuring Colacho Mendoza.
- 1980 Para Mi Fanaticada, featuring Colacho Mendoza.
- 1981 Con Mucho Estilo, featuring Colacho Mendoza.
- 1982 Todo es para ti, featuring Colacho Mendoza.
- 1983 Cantando, featuring Colacho Mendoza.
- 1984 El Mundo, featuring Colacho Mendoza.
- 1985 Vallenato, featuring Cocha Molina.
- 1986 Brindo con el Alma, featuring Cocha Molina.
- 1987 Incontenibles, featuring Cocha Molina.
- 1988 Gano el Folclor, featuring Juancho Rois.
- 1989 El Condor Herido, featuring Juancho Rois.
- 1990 Canta Conmigo, featuring Juancho Rois.
- 1991 Mi Vida Musical, featuring Juancho Rois.
- 1992 EL Regreso del Condor, featuring Juancho Rois.
- 1993 Titulo de Amor, featuring Juancho Rois.
- 1994 26 de Mayo, featuring Juancho Rois.
- 1995 Un Canto Celestial, featuring Ivan Zuleta.
- 1996 Muchas Gracias, featuring Ivan Zuleta
- 1997 Mi Biografia, featuring Ivan Zuleta.
- 1998 Volver a Vivir, featuring Ivan Zuleta.
- 1999 Experiencias Vividas, featuring Franco Arguelles.
- 2002 Gracias a Dios, featuring Cocha Molina.
- 2003 Pidiendo Via, featuring Juan Mario De la Espriella.
- 2005 De Nuevo Con Mi Gente, featuring Franco Arguelles.
- 2007 La Voz, featuring accordion player Ivan Zuleta.
- 2009 celebremos juntos
- 2009 Listo Pa' la foto
- 2011 Con Mucho Gusto, featuring Alvaro Lopéz.
- "Sobre mi la ropa... y las moscas por imprudentes" (Over me, my clothes... and the flies being imprudent)
- "¡Con mucho gusto!" (With pleasure!)
- "Se las dejo ahí" ("I'll leave it there")
- "O se hace bien o no se hace na' " ("Its done well or not done at all")
- De Jesucristo pa' aca que vivan las mujeres, las que nos ponen a trabaja.
- "Vivan los hombres, vivos o muertos, pero VIVAN LOS HOMBRES, los dueños de las mujeres!?"
- "Luis Alfredo Sierra, el hombre que sopla las F-100"
- "Compadrito Henry Daniel, lo quiero muuuuucho"
- "La demora me perjudica"
Awards and nominations
Latin Grammy Awards
A Latin Grammy Award is an accolade by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. Diomedes Diaz received an award from three nominations.
|2009||Celebremos Juntos||Best Cumbia/Vallenato Album||Nominated|
|2010||Listo Pa' la foto||Best Cumbia/Vallenato Album||Won|
|2012||Con Mucho Gusto Caray||Best Cumbia/Vallenato Album||Nominated|
- Diomedes Díaz: El Cacique de la Junta. ColombiaLink.com Accessed 29 September 2006.
- Diomedes Díaz se entregó a la justicia. El País (27 September 2002). (Spanish)
- Colombian Ministry of Justice. Case T-781455. (15 January 2004) Accessed on 29 September 2006. (Spanish)
- Revista Semana: Articulo - Vidas Paralelas semana.com Accessed 27 October 2006.
- VETADO DIOMEDES DÍAZ EN CALI Cali.gov.co Accessed 14 January 2007.
- Disturbios por concierto de Diomedes Díaz universia.net.co Accessed 14 January 2007.