Orquesta América

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Orquesta América is a Cuban charanga orchestra founded in Havana in 1942, and later based in Mexico City and California. The band pioneered the cha-cha-chá in 1953.

History[edit]

The band was founded in 1942 by singer Ninón Mondéjar with Alex Sosa (piano), Enrique Jorrín, Antonio Sánchez, and Félix Guerra (violins), Juan Ramos (flute) and others.[1] Mondéjar and Sosa went to Mexico, then later revived Orquesta América in California.[2] Success, in Cuba, came in 1953 with Orquesta America's recording of Jorrín's "La engañadora." However the success of the band led to Mondéjar and Jorrín over whether the bandleader or songwriter should take the credit for the invention of the cha-cha-chá.[3] The band split during a tour of Mexico in December 1954 and Ramos returned to Havana with half of the band to form Orquesta América del '55 in 1955. In the 1990s leadership of the California-based band passed to Jorge Machado Durán. Ninón Mondéjar died in Havana in 2006.[4]

Partial Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • La engañadora / Silver Star (Panart, 1953)
  • El alardoso / Negro de sociedad (Panart, 1953)

Compilations[edit]

  • Siempre a Punto (Lujuria, 2008)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Helio Orovio Cuban music from A to Z 2004 "The original members of the band were: Ninón Mondéjar (director); Alex Sosa (piano); Enrique Jorrín, Antonio Sánchez, and Félix Guerra (violins); Juan Ramos"
  2. ^ Joe Conzo, David A. Pérez Mambo Diablo: My Journey with Tito Puente 2010 - Page 159 "The members of this orchestra included Jorrín and Antonio Sanchez on violins, and Alex Sosa on piano. Sosa went to Mexico with Mondéjar, and the reconfigured Orquesta América, and finally settled in California "
  3. ^ Quesada, Luis de (August 21, 2002). "Orquesta América de Ninón Mondéjar". Descarga.com. 
  4. ^ Ninón Mondéjar Obituary (in Spanish)