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A discographic profile of the experimental salsa violinist and composer.
For an in-depth interview with Alfredo De La Fé, click here.

Profile: Alfredo De La Fé by John Child (

DE LA FÉ, Alfredo

(b 6 Feb. '54, Havana, Cuba) Experimental salsa violinist de la Fé (he also composes, arranges and produces) began classical tuition at the age of eight at the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory in Havana; won a scholarship '64 to study in Warsaw, Poland. Relocated with his family to NYC '65, there garnered another scholarship to study at Juilliard '66. Rediscovered his Cuban musical roots after meeting Cuban charanga bandleaders Pupi Legarreta and José Fajardo; became a member of Fajardo's charanga '66 and stayed for six years. Made album debut on Legarreta's Soy Campesino c 66 on Remo (later sessioned with him again on Los Dos Mosqueteros - The Two Musketeers '77 on Vaya with Johnny Pacheco). Sessions with Fajardo incl. El Talento Total '78 on Coco, Las Tres Flautas '80 on Fania, featuring the flutes of Fajardo, Legarreta and Pacheco with Javier Vázquez' charanga band, and Señor Charanga! '80 back with Fajardo's charanga on Fania.

He became a member of Eddie Palmieri's band '72 for five years, performing on the first two ever Latin Grammy winners: Sun Of Latin Music '74 and Unfinished Masterpiece '76 on Coco. Joined Típica 73 '76 for six years, playing on Rumba Caliente '76, The Two Sides Of Típica 73/ Los Dos Lados De La Típica 73 '77 and Salsa Encendida '78, all on Inca, A Latin Affair '79 on Latin Percussion Ventures (Típica personnel performing under the name of Dandy's Dandy), Típica 73 En Cuba: Intercambio Cultural '79, Charangueando Con La Típica 73 '80 and Into The 80's '81, all on Fania. Joined Tito Puente's Latin Ensemble; became mus. dir. 81; played on Latin Percussion Jazz Ensemble Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival 1980 on Latin Percussion Ventures and the Grammy winning Tito Puente and his Latin Ensemble On Broadway '83 on Concord Picante; made UK debut with Puente's Latin Septet '81.

He also sessioned/played with other major names on NYC Latin scene incl. Louie Ramírez (Típico '74 on UA), Don Gonzalo Fernández (on important all-star charanga gathering Super Típica de Estrellas '76 on All-Art directed by Fernández), Israel "Cachao" López (Cachao y su Descarga '77 Vol. 1 '76 and Dos, Vol. 2 '77 on Salsoul), Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino (Lo Dice Todo '77 on Salsoul), Libre (Los Lideres De La Salsa '79 on Salsoul), Típica Ideal (Fuera del Mundo/ Out Of This World '78 on Coco), David Amram (Havana/New York '78 on Flying Fish), Orquesta Broadway (guested on Paraiso (Paradise) '81 on Coco), Larry Harlow (Our Latin Feeling '80 and Yo Soy Latino '82 on Fania), Monguito (i.e. Algo Diferente '80 on Sacodis), Roberto Torres (Latin Dimensions '72 on Mericana; Alfredo reckons he sessioned on over 30 albums for Torres' SAR stable incl. Roberto Torres Presenta La Charanga Vallenata '80 and Roberto Torres y su Charanga Vallenata Vol. III '82) and Papaíto (Papaíto Rinde Homenaje A Abelardo Barroso '80 on SAR).

His solo albums incl. Para Africa Con Amor-Alfredo de la Fé y su Charanga Afro-Cubana '79 (one of his finest solo efforts to date) on Ivory Coast's Sacodis label; Alfredo '79 (mélange of styles incl. jazz-classical fusion "My Favorite Things") on Criollo/ Latin Percussion Ventures; Triunfo '82 on Toboga, a basic charanga set co-prod. by Roberto Torres. Additionally, he prod., contributed songs, arrangements and performed on the notable La Charanga 1980: Orchestra Rytmo Africa - Cubana Vol. 1 '79 on TKIOS Musique.

He emigrated to Medellín '83; signed with Phillips the following year, making a trio of albums with them: Made In Colombia '85 on Mercurio, then Vallenato '86, embracing Colombia's popular accordion-based vallenato style, and the disappointing contractual obligation set Dancing in the Tropics '87. Switched to Fuentes '89, sessioned with the Latin Brothers on the label. Made own Fuentes debut with Salsa! '89 (released in UK on Mango '90), highlighting his use of electronic gadgetry, which he termed "Techno-salsa"; Fruko y sus Tesos alumnus Wilson Saoco (b Wilson Manyoma Gil, 30 Aug. '51, Cali, Colombia) provided lead vocals. This was followed by 16 Grandes Sucesos de Cuba (UK title: Cuba's Greatest Hits ), Salsa Y Charanga (featuring lead singer Will Pertuz: b Wilmer Alfonso Pertuz Camargo, 9 Nov. '62, Santa Marta, Colombia), Sentir de Cuba Vol. 2 , Con Toda La Salsa , La Salsa De Los Dioses '90-5.

He joined Fania All Stars '95; recorded Bravo '97 with them on Jerry Masucci Music/ Sony and collaboration Papo Lucca y Alfredo de la Fé & El Sexteto Típica de Cuba '97 on Fania. Recorded solo De La Fé y Aché '97 on Sony Music, a commercial mix of house, vallenato and charanga which sold well in Mexico. Played with Larry Harlow's Latin Legends Band '98, incl. a gig at London's Alexandra Palace 20 June '98 with Fajardo in the lineup. Did a residency at London's Ronnie Scott's club 10-14 May '99. During '99 he toured Europe with own group, rejoined Eddie Palmieri for his European tour and guested with Cachao, Willie Colón, Rubén Blades, Celia Cruz and José Alberto, and Cheo Feliciano.

He rekindled the excitement of '70s salsa for the new millennium with the outstanding Latitudes '00 on RykoLatino, backed by a young multinational band. Guested with José Alberto, Celia Cruz and Oscar D'León at London's Salsa 2000 festival 16 July '00, the biggest salsa event the UK has seen to date.

-This is a revised version of one of over 130 Latin music entries written by John Child ( for The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 2nd Edition, edit. Donald Clarke; Penguin Books; 1998; 1524 pages; US$22.95, UK£16.99.

They are published on the Descarga website by kind permission of Mr. Donald Clarke.

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