Ibrahim Ferrer – Marieta

Ibrahim Ferrer – Marieta

Ibrahim Ferrer – Marieta

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Ibrahim Ferrer (February 20, 1927 – August 6, 2005) was a popular Afro-Cuban singer and musician in Cuba. He performed with many musical groups including the Conjunto Sorpresa, Orquesta Chepin-Choven and Afro-Cuban All Stars. Later in life, Ferrer became a member of the internationally successful Buena Vista Social Club.


Ferrer was born at a dance in San Luis, near the city of Santiago de Cuba.His mother died when he was 12, leaving him orphaned and forcing him to sing on the streets (busk) to earn money.

The next year, Ferrer joined his first ever musical group—a duet with his cousin—called Jovenes del Son (Spanish: Youths of Rhythm). They performed at private functions and the two youths managed to scrape together enough money to live.

Over the next few years, Ferrer would perform with many musical groups, including Conjunto Sorpresa and Orquesta Chepin-Choven.

The leader of the latter composed one of Ferrer’s biggest hits, El Platanal de Bartolo. Ferrer was an adherent of the Santería faith, a blending of traditional African religions and Catholicism.

In 1953 Ferrer began performing with Pacho Alonso’s group in Santiago, Cuba. In 1959 the group moved permanently to Havana, renaming themselves Los Bocucos, after a type of drum widely used in Santiago.

With Alonso, Ferrer primarily performed son, guaracha and other up-tempo songs. However, he yearned to sing boleros. It was not until almost 40 years later, with the release of Ry Cooder’s Grammy Award winning Buena Vista Social Club recording in 1997, that Ferrer’s talent as a bolero singer would become widely known.

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