b. Pascasio Alonso, 22 August 1928, Santiago, Cuba, d. 27 August 1982, Havana, Cuba. Born into a large and poor family, Alonso took to music from a very early age and swiftly became noted for his singing. His father was a photographer and his mother played piano. From 1945, although studying to be a teacher, he was heard on radio, chiefly on Santiago’s CMKW but also briefly from Havana, singing with bands such as Pancho Portuondo and Chepín-Chovén. At the start of the 50s, Alonso sang with Mariano Mercerón’s orchestra, as did Fernando Alvarez and Beny Moré. Soon, Alonso formed his own band, in Havana, and he very quickly became one of the city’s most popular musicians. He began recording in the mid-50s and in succeeding years of the decade appeared on television.
By the start of the 60s, Alonso was a hugely popular recording star. He continued to lead his band through the 60s, playing clubs, concerts and festivals throughout Cuba. In these years, many of Alonso’s songs were composed by Enrique Bonne. In the 70s, Alonso’s fame spread internationally owing not only to his records but also through tours he made to several countries in South America and also to Europe. In the early 70s, his son Pachito Alonso (b. Longino Rey Alonso Castillo, 1952), joined the band. Among musicians with whom Alonso worked and sometimes recorded are Faustino Oramas, Ibrahim Ferrer and Carlos Querol. In the late 70s, Pachito Alonso became the band’s musical director and on the death of his father took over leadership. Renamed Pachito Alonso Y Sus Kini Kini, the band continued to be successful through into the early 00s. Alonso’s grandsons, Christian and Rey, are both members of this band.