Berrú was born in Ecuador, and graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in Chile where he met Jorge Coulon at the same university. After graduating, Max worked as an engineer for two years until he met his true passion in music. Max and Jorge began their musical career by playing Latin American music as a duet while studying at the Universidad Técnica del Estado in Santiago, Chile circa 1967, where they founded what became the first Inti Illimani ensemble. The name was inspired by the beautiful culture and folklore of South America which Max wanted to pay a tribute to, and that is how he came up with the name. Later on, they contacted other musicians to expand the musical possibilities and reach other horizons and musical expressions.
On July 30, 2002 Berrú received the prestigious Chilean ["Orden al Mérito Docente y Cultural Gabriela Mistral"] Award from the Chilean government through Chilean president Ricardo Lagos for his valuable work to the arts and culture of Ecuador and Chile.
Berrú was the original lead singer of the Inti Illimani, and in some concerts still is. Currently, he owns a restaurant in Santiago, Chile whose name is Mitad del Mundo, in reference to his Ecuadorian origins, since Ecuador is located on the Equator Line, right at Latitude 0-0'-0".
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