Don Armando

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Don Armando Bonilla (August 9, 1946 - November 16, 2002) formed the Second Avenue Rhumba Band with vocalist Fonda Rae and scored a #1 hit on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with "Deputy of Love" [1] in 1979. Bonilla was also a percussionist with Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band. Don Armando (Sonny) Bonilla was born and raised in East Harlem, NYC, the eldest sibling of a family composed of five sons of a Puerto Rican father and a Colombian mother. After completing a tour of duty with the United States Air Force, he graduated from New York University with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, and later he acquired a Master's Degree from Columbia University. One of his younger brothers, Luis Bonilla, played Congas on Larry Harlow's breakout album "Heavy Smokin". Another brother, Nestor is also a professional percussionsist. He was the father of Elizabeth Bonilla and Adrianna Bonilla and husband of Billie Burdette de Bonilla.

He wrote a treatment for a sitcom called "Cowboy Tito" while living in Hollywood and was producing a musical called "The Love of a Jukebox Hero". He co-wrote "Mambo Queen" with L.A. composer Aaron Loo.

The Second Avenue Rhumba Band's song, "Goin' to a Showdown," and "Winter Love " was featured in the 1980 horror film Maniac.


  • 1979 Don Armando's Second Avenue Rhumba Band (ZE Records)
    • A1. Deputy Of Love
    • A2. Compliment Your Leading Lady
    • A3. Winter Love
    • B1. Goin' To A Showdown
    • B2. How To Handle A Woman
    • B3. I'm An Indian Too
    • B4. Para Ti/This Is Just For You


See also[edit]