Marcelino Guerra

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Marcelino Guerra, also known as "Rapindey" (c. 1914 – June 1996) was a Cuban singer and songwriter who spent much of his life in the United States. His primary role was as a segunda voz, or harmony, singer.

Guerra was born in Cienfuegos to an impoverished family, and was orphaned at age five. He was raised by his grandmother, who gave him the nickname Rapindey. In 1931 he moved to Havana, where he sang in Ignacio Piñeiro's Septeto Nacional and took guitar lessons from Rafael Rebuifero. He worked in various groups in Havana through the 1930s, joining Arsenio Rodríguez's conjunto in 1938 and performing frequently on national radio.

He took a trip to New York City to record in 1944, and decided not to return to Cuba. He joined Machito's orchestra soon after, and contributed several original compositions to the group in addition to singing harmony. He worked extensively on the New York Latin scene in the 1950s, including with his own orchestra, before temporarily leaving music in the 1960s to become a merchant marine. In the mid-1970s he was asked by producer René López to return to music, and began recording with such Latin musicians as Rubén Blades and Eddie Palmieri. After this he retired again and moved to Alicante, Spain, where he married Julia Núñez.

He was asked to come out of retirement once more in the 1990s by musicologist Tony Évora. He recorded in 1995 with a host of other Cuban musicians, including Compay Segundo and Omara Portuondo, both of whom would later have their work released under the Buena Vista Social Club umbrella. Guerra's last album, Rapindey, was released in 1996; he died later that year.

Marcelino worked as a merchant marine aboard the American-Export Isbrandsten liners, SS Atlantic and later aboard the SS Constitution.

Marcelino died in El Campello, a coastal town within the Valencian community in Alicante, Spain in June 1996. Today you can still hear his brilliant melodies.

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