Benny Moré

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Benny Moré_table_infobox_0

Benny MoréBenny Moré_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationBenny Moré_header_cell_0_1_0
Birth nameBenny Moré_header_cell_0_2_0 Bartolomé Maximiliano Moré GutiérrezBenny Moré_cell_0_2_1
BornBenny Moré_header_cell_0_3_0 (1919-08-24)24 August 1919

Santa Isabel de las Lajas, CubaBenny Moré_cell_0_3_1

DiedBenny Moré_header_cell_0_4_0 19 February 1963(1963-02-19) (aged 43)

Havana, CubaBenny Moré_cell_0_4_1

GenresBenny Moré_header_cell_0_5_0 Son montuno, mambo, guaracha, bolero, afroBenny Moré_cell_0_5_1
Occupation(s)Benny Moré_header_cell_0_6_0 Musician, bandleaderBenny Moré_cell_0_6_1
InstrumentsBenny Moré_header_cell_0_7_0 Vocals, guitarBenny Moré_cell_0_7_1
Years activeBenny Moré_header_cell_0_8_0 1944–1963Benny Moré_cell_0_8_1
LabelsBenny Moré_header_cell_0_9_0 RCA Victor, DiscubaBenny Moré_cell_0_9_1
Associated actsBenny Moré_header_cell_0_10_0 Conjunto Matamoros, Mariano Mercerón, Bebo Valdés, Ernesto Duarte Brito, Orquesta Aragón, Banda GiganteBenny Moré_cell_0_10_1

Bartolomé Maximiliano Moré (24 August 1919 – 19 February 1963), better known as Benny Moré (also spelled Beny Moré), was a Cuban singer, bandleader and songwriter. Benny Moré_sentence_0

Due to his fluid tenor voice and his great expressivity, he was known variously as El Bárbaro del Ritmo and El Sonero Mayor. Benny Moré_sentence_1

Moré was a master of the soneo, the art of vocal improvisation in Cuban son, and many of his tunes developed this way. Benny Moré_sentence_2

He often took part in controversias (vocal duels) with other singers like Cheo Marquetti and Joseíto Fernández. Benny Moré_sentence_3

Apart from son cubano, Moré was a popular singer of guarachas, cha cha cha, mambo, son montuno, and boleros. Benny Moré_sentence_4

Moré started his career with the Conjunto Matamoros in the 1940s and after a tour in Mexico he decided to stay in the country. Benny Moré_sentence_5

Both Moré and dancer Ninón Sevilla made their cinematic debut on 1946's Carita de cielo, but Moré focused on his music career. Benny Moré_sentence_6

In the late 1940s, he sang guaracha-mambos with Pérez Prado, achieving great success. Benny Moré_sentence_7

Moré returned to Cuba in 1952 and worked with Bebo Valdés and Ernesto Duarte. Benny Moré_sentence_8

In 1953, he formed the Banda Gigante, which became one of the leading Cuban big bands of the 1950s. Benny Moré_sentence_9

He suffered from alcoholism and died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1963 at age 43. Benny Moré_sentence_10

Early life Benny Moré_section_0

The eldest of 18 children, Moré was born in the town of Santa Isabel de las Lajas in the former Santa Clara Province, current Cienfuegos Province, in central Cuba. Benny Moré_sentence_11

His parents were Virginia Moré and Silvestre Gutiérrez. Benny Moré_sentence_12

His maternal great-great grandfather, Ta Ramón Gundo Paredes (later changed to Ta Ramón Gundo Moré), was said to be the son of the king of a tribe in the Kingdom of Kongo who was captured by slave traders and sold to a Cuban plantation owner named Ramon Paredes and subsequently to another Cuban landowner named Conde Moré (Paredes/Moré was later liberated and died as a freeman at age 94). Benny Moré_sentence_13

As a child, Moré learned to play the guitar, making his first instrument at age six, according to his mother, from "a stick and a sardine can that served as the sound box." Benny Moré_sentence_14

In 1936, at age seventeen, he left Las Lajas for Havana, where he lived by selling bruised and damaged fruits and vegetables and medicinal herbs. Benny Moré_sentence_15

Six months later, he returned to Las Lajas and went to cut cane for a season with his brother Teodoro. Benny Moré_sentence_16

With the money he earned and Teodoro's savings, he bought his first guitar in Morón, Cuba. Benny Moré_sentence_17

Career Benny Moré_section_1

In 1940, Moré returned to Havana. Benny Moré_sentence_18

He lived from hand-to-mouth, playing in bars and cafés, passing the hat. Benny Moré_sentence_19

His first breakthrough was winning a radio competition. Benny Moré_sentence_20

In the early 1940s, radio station CMQ had a program called "The Supreme Court of Art" in which a wide variety of artists participated. Benny Moré_sentence_21

Winners were given contracts by unscrupulous businessmen who exploited them. Benny Moré_sentence_22

The less fortunate were treated to the humiliation of a loud church bell which brutally terminated their performances. Benny Moré_sentence_23

In his first appearance, Moré had scarcely begun to sing when the bell sounded, and was booed off the stage. Benny Moré_sentence_24

He later competed again and won first prize. Benny Moré_sentence_25

He then landed his first stable job with the Conjunto Cauto led by Mozo Borgellá. Benny Moré_sentence_26

He also sang with success on the radio station CMZ with Lázaro Cordero's Sexteto Fígaro. Benny Moré_sentence_27

In 1941, he made his debut on Radio Mil Diez performing with the Conjunto Cauto, directed by Mozo Borgella. Benny Moré_sentence_28

Conjunto Matamoros and Mexico Benny Moré_section_2

Ciro Rodríguez, of the famed Trío Matamoros, heard Moré singing in the bar El Temple and was greatly impressed. Benny Moré_sentence_29

In 1942, Conjunto Matamoros was engaged for a live performance for Radio Mil Diez. Benny Moré_sentence_30

However, Miguel Matamoros was indisposed and asked Mozo Borgellá, to lend him a singer. Benny Moré_sentence_31

Borgellá sent Moré, who worked for several years with Conjunto Matamoros, making a number of recordings. Benny Moré_sentence_32

Moré replaced Miguel Matamoros as lead singer, and the latter dedicated himself to leading the band. Benny Moré_sentence_33

On 21 June 1945, he went with Conjunto Matamoros to Mexico, where he performed in two of the most famous cabarets: the Montparnasse and the Río Rosa. Benny Moré_sentence_34

He made several recordings. Benny Moré_sentence_35

Conjunto Matamoros returned to Havana, but Moré remained in Mexico. Benny Moré_sentence_36

Rafael Cueto said to him: "Fine, but just remember that they call burros 'bartolo' here. Benny Moré_sentence_37

Stay, but change your name." Benny Moré_sentence_38

"Ok," replied Moré, "from now on my name is Beny, Beny Moré." Benny Moré_sentence_39

Moré was left penniless and got permission to work from the performing artists' union. Benny Moré_sentence_40

With this, he was able to get a job at the Río Rosa, where he formed the Dueto Fantasma (also known as Dueto Antillano) with Lalo Montané, in December 1945. Benny Moré_sentence_41

In Mexico City, Moré made recordings for RCA Victor, with Perez Prado: "Anabacoa", "Bonito y Sabroso", "Mucho Corazón", "Pachito Eché", "La Múcura", "Rabo y Oreja" and other numbers. Benny Moré_sentence_42

He recorded "Dolor Karabalí", which Moré considered his best composition recorded with Pérez Prado, one he never wanted to re-record, also his recording in Mexico with Rafael de Paz Orchestra of "Bonito y Sabroso" was never recorded again by Moré, even though his famous composition of the months prior to leaving Mexico became in time the theme of his big band in Cuba. Benny Moré_sentence_43

Moré was always reluctant to record newer versions of his hit songs, as he thought "you don't fix what's not broken". Benny Moré_sentence_44

Moré and Prado recorded 28 songs in total, mostly mambos. Benny Moré_sentence_45

Moré also recorded with the orchestra of Mariano Mercerón: "Me Voy Pa'l Pueblo", "Desdichado", "Mucho Corazon", "Ensalada de Mambo", "Rumberos de Ayer" and "Encantado de la Vida" with "El Conjunto de Lalo Montane", a Colombian singer and composer, with which he recorded in Mexico, conforming a famous duo called "The Phantom Duet" or "Dueto Fantasma". Benny Moré_sentence_46

He also recorded with Mexican orchestras, specially with the one directed by Rafael de Paz; they recorded "Yiri Yiri Bon", "La Culebra", "Mata Siguaraya", "Solamente Una Vez" and "Bonito y Sabroso", a mambo song where he praises the dancing skills of the Mexicans and claims that Mexico City and La Habana are sister cities. Benny Moré_sentence_47

In this time Benny also recorded with the orchestra of Jesús "Chucho" Rodríguez. Benny Moré_sentence_48

El "Chucho" was so impressed with Benny's musical ability that he referred to him as "El Bárbaro del Ritmo". Benny Moré_sentence_49

Return to Cuba Benny Moré_section_3

During the spring of 1952, around April, Moré returned to Cuba. Benny Moré_sentence_50

He was a star in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and Puerto Rico, but virtually unknown on the island. Benny Moré_sentence_51

His first Cuban recordings were with Mariano Mercerón & his Orchestra, including songs like "Fiesta de Tambores", "Salomón", "La Chola", etc. Moré began alternating between performances in the Cadena Oriental radio station and trips to Havana to record at the RCA studios in CMQ Radiocentro. Benny Moré_sentence_52

In Havana, Moré worked for the radio station RHC-Cadena Azul, with the orchestra of Bebo Valdés, who introduced the new style called "batanga". Benny Moré_sentence_53

The presenter of the show, Ibraín Urbino, presented him as El Bárbaro del Ritmo. Benny Moré_sentence_54

They offered him the opportunity to record with Sonora Matancera, but he declined the offer because he did not care for the sound of the group. Benny Moré_sentence_55

After the batanga fell out of fashion, Moré was contracted by Radio Progreso with the orchestra of Ernesto Duarte Brito. Benny Moré_sentence_56

In addition to the radio, he also performed at dances, cabarets and parties. Benny Moré_sentence_57

When he sang in Havana's Centro Gallego, people filled the sidewalks and the gardens of the Capitolio to hear him. Benny Moré_sentence_58

In 1952, Moré made a recording with the Orquesta Aragón with whom he would perform in dance halls. Benny Moré_sentence_59

Orquesta Aragón was from Cienfuegos and was having trouble breaking into Havana and Moré helped them in this way. Benny Moré_sentence_60

Banda Gigante Benny Moré_section_4

Also in 1952, Moré was told that Duarte Brito was not taking Moré to certain Saturday engagements because Moré was black. Benny Moré_sentence_61

Moré was furious and brought the issue up to the RCA Records agent in Cuba (Maurico Conde). Benny Moré_sentence_62

When nothing was done, Moré decided to form his own orchestra. Benny Moré_sentence_63

The first performance of Moré's Banda Gigante was in the CMQ radio program Cascabeles Candado on August 3, 1953. Benny Moré_sentence_64

The original lineup featured Ignacio Cabrera "Cabrerita" (piano); Miguel Franca, Santiago Peñalver, Roberto Barreto, Celso Gómez and Virgilio Vixama (saxophones); Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, Rigoberto "Rabanito" Jiménez and Domingo Corbacho (trumpets); José Miguel Gómez (trombone); Alberto Limonta (double bass); Tabaquito (congas); Clemente Piquero "Chicho" (bongos); Rolando Laserie (drums), and Fernando Álvarez and Enrique Benitez (vocals). Benny Moré_sentence_65

The Banda was generally sixteen musicians, comparable in size with the orchestras of Xavier Cugat and Pérez Prado. Benny Moré_sentence_66

Although Moré could not read music, he arranged material by singing parts to his arrangers, which included pianists Cabrerita and Peruchín, as well as trombonist Generoso Jiménez. Benny Moré_sentence_67

Between the years 1953 and 1955, the Banda Gigante became immensely popular. Benny Moré_sentence_68

Their first recording session took place in November 1953, which included the hit "Manzanillo". Benny Moré_sentence_69

Other hits followed, including self-penned songs such as "Mi saoco", "Santa Isabel de las Lajas", "Cienfuegos" and "Dolor y perdón". Benny Moré_sentence_70

In 1956 and 1957, they toured Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Jamaica, Haiti, Colombia, Panama, Mexico and the United States, where the group played at the Academy Awards. Benny Moré_sentence_71

In Havana, they played at a multitude of dance halls and cabarets such as the Tropicana Club, La Campana, El Sierra, Night and Day, Alí Bar Club, and the Hotel Habana Riviera and Hotel Tryp Habana Libre. Benny Moré_sentence_72

Moré was offered a tour of Europe, France in particular, but he rejected it because of fear of flying; he had by that time been in three airplane accidents. Benny Moré_sentence_73

Final years Benny Moré_section_5

In the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution, many of Cuba's top musical figures emigrated, but Moré stayed in Cuba, among, as he said, "mi gente" (my people). Benny Moré_sentence_74

Moré suffered from alcoholism and died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1963 at age 43. Benny Moré_sentence_75

His funeral was attended by tens of thousands of people. Benny Moré_sentence_76

Awards and recognition Benny Moré_section_6

Moré has been cited as the greatest singer in Cuban music history by critics and musicians. Benny Moré_sentence_77

In 1999, Moré was posthumously inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. Benny Moré_sentence_78

The Benny Moré Memorial Award was named in honor of the artist and was given to artists who were influential in Latin music. Benny Moré_sentence_79

On 11 June 2006, Moré was honored with a star on the Walk of Fame at Celia Cruz Park in Union City, New Jersey, a heavily Cuban-American community that has hosted musical presentations and multimedia lectures on the singer. Benny Moré_sentence_80

Legacy Benny Moré_section_7

Beny Moré appears as a character in the novel The Island of Eternal Love (Penguin Random House, 2008), by Cuban-American writer Daína Chaviano, who also concludes her novel with a chapter entitled "Today as Yesterday", one of the best interpretations of this singer. Benny Moré_sentence_81

Moré is also remembered in the 2006 film, El Benny, which is based on parts of his life, and includes new versions of his songs performed by musicians including Chucho Valdés, Juan Formell and Orishas. Benny Moré_sentence_82

Numerous tribute albums consisting of cover versions of Moré's songs have been released by artists such as Tito Puente (1978 and 1979), Charanga de la 4 (1981), Bobby Carcassés (1985), Tropicana All-Stars (2004) and Jon Secada (2017). Benny Moré_sentence_83

Selected discography Benny Moré_section_8

Records from 1963 onwards include at least one or more unreleased songs. Benny Moré_sentence_84

Benny Moré_unordered_list_0

  • El Inigualable (Discuba, 1957)Benny Moré_item_0_0
  • The Most From Beny Moré (Victor, 1958; recorded 1955 - 1957)Benny Moré_item_0_1
  • Así es... (Victor, 1958)Benny Moré_item_0_2
  • Pare... que llegó el bárbaro (Victor/Discuba, 1958)Benny Moré_item_0_3
  • Así es... Beny (Discuba, 1958)Benny Moré_item_0_4
  • La Época de Oro (Victor, 1958)Benny Moré_item_0_5
  • Magia antillana (Victor, 1960; recorded 1949 - 1953)Benny Moré_item_0_6
  • El Barbaro del Ritmo with Perez Prado and Rafael De Paz (Victor, 1962; recorded 1949 - 1951)Benny Moré_item_0_7
  • Homenaje póstumo (Discuba, 1963; recorded 1960)Benny Moré_item_0_8
  • Benny More Y Su Orquesta... (Palma, 1964)Benny Moré_item_0_9
  • Recordando (RCA Camden, 1964)Benny Moré_item_0_10
  • La Época De Oro Vol.II (RCA, 1969)Benny Moré_item_0_11
  • y Su Salsa de Siempre (RCA, 1978)Benny Moré_item_0_12
  • Grandes Exitos (Darcole Music, 1979)Benny Moré_item_0_13
  • Ensalada De Mambo (RCA, 1980)Benny Moré_item_0_14
  • Lo Último Que Cantó Beny More (Integra, 1980)Benny Moré_item_0_15
  • Lo Desconocido De Beny More (RCA, 1982)Benny Moré_item_0_16
  • Cubanísimo-1 with Trío Matamoros and Ernesto Duarte's orchestra (Producciones Preludio, 1983; recorded 1945 - 1947)Benny Moré_item_0_17
  • Leyendas Musicales (Producciones Preludio, 1986)Benny Moré_item_0_18
  • Beny Moré Canta Con... (RCA, 1988)Benny Moré_item_0_19
  • Conjunto Matamoros With Beny Moré with Conjunto Matamoros (Tumbao Cuban Classics, 1992; recorded 1945 - 1947)Benny Moré_item_0_20
  • El Barbaro del Ritmo with Perez Prado (Tumbao Cuban Classics, 1992; recorded 1949 - 1951)Benny Moré_item_0_21
  • Benny Moré En Vivo (Discmedi, 1995; recorded 1957)Benny Moré_item_0_22
  • Benny More Canta Boleros (Estudios EGREM, 2006; recorded 1953 - 1960)Benny Moré_item_0_23

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Moré.