One of the most talented yet tragic figures in the world of salsa, Héctor Lavoe was born in Ponce in 1946. He moved to New York in 1963, beginning a sparkling musical career that began with traditional bolero songs. Making his big break with band leader Willie Colón in 1967, he went solo in 1973, and had a string of catchy hits such as Bandolera, Sóngoro Cosongo and Joven contra Viejo, but El Cantante (“the singer”) became his signature tune, his eventual nickname, and title of the biopic movie released in 2007. Lavoe helped solidify the growing New York Latin sound of the era, soon to be known as salsa, but despite his apparent success, he struggled with a largely unsupportive music industry, drug addiction and depression for most of his career – after a suicide attempt in 1988, a penniless Lavoe died of AIDS-related complications in 1993. Initially buried in the Bronx, he was re-interred at the Cementerio Municipal de Ponce in 2002, along with his son Héctor Junior and wife Nilda Rosado. In addition to laying flowers at the white marble headstone, fans commemorate his birthday here on September 30. The annual “Lavoe Weekend” of concerts takes place on La Guancha boardwalk around this time.

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San Juan, Puerto Rico Puerto Rican artistes were prominent in the New-York based creation of salsa in the 1970s, when the pan-Latin mix was given a rock fla…

10 Mar 2014 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
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