Merceditas Valdés

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Merceditas Valdés_table_infobox_0

Merceditas ValdésMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_1_0
Birth nameMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_2_0 Mercedes Valdés GranitMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_2_1
Also known asMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_3_0 La Pequeña Aché de CubaMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_3_1
BornMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_4_0 (1922-09-24)September 24, 1922

Havana, CubaMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_4_1

DiedMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_5_0 June 13, 1996(1996-06-13) (aged 73)

Havana, CubaMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_5_1

GenresMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_6_0 Santería music, afroMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_6_1
Occupation(s)Merceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_7_0 MusicianMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_7_1
InstrumentsMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_8_0 VocalsMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_8_1
Years activeMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_9_0 1949–1996Merceditas Valdés_cell_0_9_1
LabelsMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_10_0 Victor, Panart, SMC, Puchito, EGREM, RMMMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_10_1
Associated actsMerceditas Valdés_header_cell_0_11_0 Obdulio Morales, Jesús Pérez, Guillermo Barreto, Mongo Santamaría, Yoruba AndaboMerceditas Valdés_cell_0_11_1

Mercedes Valdés Granit (September 24, 1922 – June 13, 1996), better known as Merceditas Valdés, was a Cuban singer who specialized in Afro-Cuban traditional music. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_0

Under the aegis of ethnomusicologists Fernando Ortiz and Obdulio Morales, Valdés helped popularize Afro-Cuban music throughout Latin America. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_1

In 1949, she became one of the first female Santería singers to be recorded. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_2

Her debut album was released at the start of the 1960s, when the Cuban government nationalized the record industry. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_3

She then went on hiatus before making a comeback in the 1980s with a series of albums entitled Aché, in collaboration with artists such as Frank Emilio Flynn and rumba ensemble Yoruba Andabo. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_4

She also appeared in Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana and continued performing until her death in 1996. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_5

Life and career Merceditas Valdés_section_0

Early life Merceditas Valdés_section_1

Valdés was born in Cayo Hueso, Centro Habana, on September 24 (Día de las Mercedes), 1922. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_6

Her father was Ángel Valdés, known as Angelito "El Dichoso" (The Lucky One), a musician in Ignacio Piñeiro's influential rumba ensemble Los Roncos. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_7

Unlike her mother, his father did not want her daughter to become a musician, so she started her career as a nun in the black congregation Hermanas Oblatas de la Providencia. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_8

However, she soon began to stand out as a singer, winning several prizes awarded by the radio show Corte Suprema del Arte, where she sang songs such as "Babalú" by Margarita Lecuona. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_9

She then joined the orchestra of pianist and musicologist Obdulio Morales thanks to his sisters, who lived with Valdés at the congregation. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_10

With Morales, Valdés gained exposure due to their performances which were broadcast by Radio Cadena Suaritos on Sundays. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_11

In 1944, she met musicologist Fernando Ortiz, one of the main exponents of the Afrocubanismo movement, who employed Valdés in his lectures about Afro-Cuban culture to exemplify the African heritage (especially Yoruba) of Cuban music. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_12

Thus, Valdés became an akpwón, a Santería singer, which earned her the nickname La Pequeña Aché de Cuba, given to her by Ortiz. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_13

First recordings and rise to fame Merceditas Valdés_section_2

Valdés made her first recordings of Santería music in April 1949 for Victor. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_14

She sang in the same sessions as Evelia Collazo, another female akpwón and the mother of percussionist Julito Collazo. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_15

The recordings were credited to Grupo Afro-Cubano. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_16

In 1951, Valdés sang in the Rapsodia negra show directed by Enrique González Mántici at the CMQ radio station. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_17

During the early 1950s, Valdés recorded more Santería tunes with the so-called Coro Yoruba y Tambores Batá, an ensemble directed by batá drummer Jesús Pérez and featuring other drummers such as Virgilio Ramírez, Trinidad Torregrosa and Carlos Aldama, as well as other singers: Celia Cruz, Caridad Suárez and Eugenio de la Rosa. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_18

They recorded several songs for Panart, appearing in the 1954 LP Santero. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_19

She also recorded two EPs for SMC (New York City's Spanish Music Center): Cantos oriundos lucumí (Vols. 1 & 2). Merceditas Valdés_sentence_20

Apart from recording, Valdés took part in several tours, some with Ernesto Lecuona's company, performing in Venezuela among other Latin American countries. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_21

In 1954, she sang "Ogguere" and "Bembé" with Gilberto Valdés' orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_22

In Cuba, she became the star of the Zun Zun Danbaé show at the Cabaret Sans Souci. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_23

She then worked at the Tropicana Club. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_24

In 1957, Valdés appeared in the Afro-Cuban themed film Yambaó. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_25

In the late 1950s she married famed timbalero Guillermo Barreto. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_26

After the Cuban Revolution, the commercialization of Afro-Cuban music was restricted. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_27

Nonetheless, Valdés managed to make several recordings in the early 1960s before effectively halting her recording career. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_28

In 1959, she recorded her debut album, which comprised one side of secular Afro-Cuban music, recorded in collaboration with Los Bucaneros under the direction of Rafael Somavilla and Adolfo Guzmán, and one side of religious Santería music featuring Jesús Pérez and his group, Isupo Irawo (a new incarnation of the Coro Yoruba y Tambores Batá). Merceditas Valdés_sentence_29

The recordings were made at the former Panart studios and later released by Panart Nacionalizada when the label was taken over by the Cuban government. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_30

Between 1959 and 1960, she recorded with percussionist Mongo Santamaría. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_31

In 1960 and 1961, she recorded carnival music with Alberto Zayas for Impresora Cubana de Discos (ICD). Merceditas Valdés_sentence_32

She then recorded two singles with Los Papines for the newly established EGREM. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_33

Late career and death Merceditas Valdés_section_3

Valdés resumed her recording career in 1982 with the recording of Aché for Siboney, an imprint of EGREM. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_34

The album featured again Isupo Irawo and Los Amigos (an ensemble directed by pianist Frank Emilio Flynn and featuring Guillermo Barreto). Merceditas Valdés_sentence_35

Several LPs followed: Aché II (1988), Aché III (1989), Aché IV (1990) and Aché V (1993), the latter two in collaboration with Yoruba Andabo. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_36

In 1988, she toured Spain and Canada with Sergio Vitier's Grupo Oru. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_37

In 1989, she sang in Cubanísimo, an album of classic Cuban recordings presented as medleys under the direction of Andrés Alén and Ramón Huerta, and featuring Guillermo Barreto and Jacqueline Castellanos among others. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_38

The album was released in 1990 by EGREM (Cuba) and Fonomusic (Spain). Merceditas Valdés_sentence_39

In 1991, she sang in Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana, one of the last recordings featuring Guillermo Barreto. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_40

She also appeared in Bunnett's Chamalongo, released in 1997. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_41

Merceditas Valdés died on June 13, 1996, aged 73, in her hometown of Havana, almost five years after the death of her husband. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_42

Her last album, Ache V, which had only been available in cassette format, was re-released in 1998 by Ralph Mercado under the title Merceditas Valdés with her Big Band - The Final Recordings. Merceditas Valdés_sentence_43

Awards and honors Merceditas Valdés_section_4

Merceditas Valdés_unordered_list_0

Discography Merceditas Valdés_section_5

LPs Merceditas Valdés_sentence_44

Merceditas Valdés_unordered_list_1

  • 1954: Santero (Panart) – with others under the direction of Facundo RiveroMerceditas Valdés_item_1_1
  • 1960: Merceditas Valdés (Panart Nacionalizada) – with Los BucanerosMerceditas Valdés_item_1_2
  • 1961: Carnaval 1960-61 (ICD) – with others under the direction of Carlos AnsaMerceditas Valdés_item_1_3
  • 1982: Aché (EGREM)Merceditas Valdés_item_1_4
  • 1988: Aché II (EGREM)Merceditas Valdés_item_1_5
  • 1989: Orishas: Aché III (EGREM)Merceditas Valdés_item_1_6
  • 1990: Cubanísimo (EGREM/Fonomusic) – with others under the direction of Andrés Alén and Ramón HuertaMerceditas Valdés_item_1_7
  • 1990: Aché IV (EGREM) – with Yoruba AndaboMerceditas Valdés_item_1_8
  • 1993: Aché V (EGREM) – with Yoruba AndaboMerceditas Valdés_item_1_9

Singles & EPs Merceditas Valdés_sentence_45

Merceditas Valdés_unordered_list_2

  • 195x: Canto oriundo lucumí (1 & 2) (SMC)Merceditas Valdés_item_2_10
  • 1957: "Er día que nací yo" / "Ya me cansé" (Puchito)Merceditas Valdés_item_2_11
  • 1960: "Una pena" / "Vida, mi delirio es quererte" (Panart Nacionalizada)Merceditas Valdés_item_2_12
  • 1961: "A coger la guampara" (INC)Merceditas Valdés_item_2_13
  • 1961: "Ochún" / "Yemayá" (INC)Merceditas Valdés_item_2_14
  • 1964: Rezos yorubas (EGREM)Merceditas Valdés_item_2_15
  • 1964: "Invocación a Elegua y a Changó" / "Tasca-Tasca" (EGREM)Merceditas Valdés_item_2_16
  • 1964: "Muriéndome de risa" / "Devuélveme el coco" (EGREM)Merceditas Valdés_item_2_17


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merceditas Valdés.