Recognizing A Living Legend: Candido Camero Performs Manteca

by chipboaz on April 23, 2017

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The recognition of our founding fathers during their lifetime is such an important idea, and one that music culture in the United States often overlooks. We’ve got such an obsession with youth in the Stateside popular culture, and as a result, we often forget that everything young artists create is based upon a foundation laid by elder musicians. At the same time, we cast aside musicians who have moved past their youth, despite the importance of their contributions. It’s sad really; our elders have so much experience to share with the musical world and they’ve given us so much – we should be celebrating them every day they remain with us.

In the Latin Jazz world, we’re extremely fortunate to a have a legend who just celebrated his 96th birthday this past Saturday April 22nd – conguero extraordinaire Candido Camero. He has a deep connection to history – from the early years building his chops in Havana playing traditional son and Havana style dance music to his early integration of the congas into the Stateside scene. While Camero played a number of genres through his career, he always had a deep connection to jazz, playing with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to Billy Taylor. He’s kept that connection into his elder years, continuing playing into his 80s and 90s with Giovanni Hidalgo and Patato Valdes in The Conga Kings, being named an NEA Jazz Master, and even being the subject of a documentary, Hands of Fire. It’s been most rewarding to see Camero’s collaborations with drummer and educator Bobby Sanabria, which has frequently teamed up the conguero with a younger generation through The Manhattan School Of Music’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble. It’s inspiring to see Camero being recognized, and as he celebrates another year on earth, let’s keep that celebration alive everyday.

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