Our subject for today is a very talented singer, pianist and songwriter, who was once a major figure in Charanga Habanera, and today has started anew in France…
Tirso Duarte was born in Habana on April 12, 1978.
He started playing piano at an early age, attending the Roldan music academy in Habana, where he also took lessons in singing and songwriting, although specializing in forte-piano.
His first career break was in 1997, when he played piano and was coauthor of several songs on the album “Una Salsa en Paris” of Pachito Alonso y Sus Kini Kini, one of the band’s albums cherished most by Timba fans.
In 1998 Charanga Habanera had its 1st break \ split, with several members leaving to form “La Charanga Forever”, David Calzado recruited Tirso as the band’s new pianist, but soon Tirso becabe a leading figure in the band, writing, arranging, playing piano and percussion, singing, and doing whatever feels good, whatever satisfies, even if only temporarily, his creative urge.
Tirso is the man behind “Charanguero Mayor”, one of the most regarded Timba numbers of all times, and many other great songs on the “Charanguero Mayor” album of La Charanga Habanera from 1999.
In 2000, before living, and 2001, after leaving La Charanga Habanera, Tirso sang and played with NG La Banda, and with the newly formed Pupy y LQSS, but it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for… He wanted to form a band of his own, and so he did!
In 2003 Tirso formed his own band (using just his name as a label).
Since then he released 5 albums of his own, and also appeared as a guest in live shows and studio recordings with “Los Ases De La Timba”, “La Charanga Forever” and even the Afro-Cuban All Stars band.
In 2012 Tirso left Cuba, moving to Europe, like most Cubans leaving their motherland from 2005 and onwards.
1st he lived a short while in Scandinavia, performing in Norway, Finland and Sweden, but the relocated to France, where he Recorded his latest album, “Luchare” (also known as “se unen Cuba y Francia”) with the French salsa band “La Mecanica Loca”.
The song I present you here today is from that new album, and is a very interesting Timba piece called “Te Lo Agradezco”.
What I live about this song is that approximately half of it is Rumba, resembling Yambu the most, making it romantic, yet energetic, and also in touch with the Afro-Cuban roots of salsa music.