A legend passes

francisco-aguabella

After battling cancer for a year, Francisco Aguabella succumbed suddenly to the disease this morning, Fri, May 7, 2010.

From the bio at his website: 

Legendary Conguero Francisco Aguabella first left Cuba in the 1950’s to perform with Katherine Dunham in the Shelley Winters movie “Mambo” filmed in Italy. After touring with Katherine Dunham he came to the United States and performed and toured with Peggy Lee for the next seven years. He performed in Europe, Australia, South America, and all over the United States (including the White House). Francisco enjoyed an extensive music performing and recording career and delighted many audiences with his masterful and powerful rhythms.

Francisco performed with many great Jazz artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Palmieri, Cachao, Lalo Schifrin, Cal Tjader, Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson, Poncho Sanchez, Bebo Valdes, and numerous others. Francisco was honored to receive numerous awards including the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Durfee Foundation’s Master Musicians’ Fellowship, and recognition by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. He is featured in the documentary, “Sworn to the Drum” by filmmaker Les Blank, and is currently featured in a new documentary, “Aguabella,” currently in production, directed by actor/filmmaker Orestes Matacena (The Mask, Bitter Sugar). He has also appeared with his ensemble on television programs including the Orlando Jones Show on FX.

Francisco was a widely recognized master conguero and bata artist, a caring and knowledgeable instructor, and one of the most inspiring artists of all time. He taught Afro-Cuban drumming at UCLA, and led his own Latin Jazz Ensemble. 

Our prayers are with his family and friends.

He asked that band continue on. In his honor, they are dedicating a concert to the great legacy that Francisco was at Steamers Jazz Club, Sat. May 8. The band will be joined by his long-time Cuban friend and conguero, Nengue Hernandez, plus other guest artists will be there to join in.  For more information visit Steamer’s website here.

3 thoughts on “A legend passes”

  1. I had the honor of meeting Aguabella and attending his performances many times here in California. In fact, Ziva and I were able to have a conversation with him some months
    ago at one of our favorite hang outs. “El Cochinito” Cuban restaurant on Sunset.
    This man was a GENTLEMAN IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD.
    Un ORGULLO DE LA MUSICA CUBANA HAS LEFT US. REST IN PEACE FRANCISCO.

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