Adolfo Alfonso

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The long career of folksinger Adolfo Alfonso well demonstrates the wide range of performance outlets available to the ambitious and adaptable in even such a tight situation as the Cuban isle -- or put…
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Artist Biography by

The long career of folksinger Adolfo Alfonso well demonstrates the wide range of performance outlets available to the ambitious and adaptable in even such a tight situation as the Cuban isle -- or put more simply, not even a revolution can cancel a gig. Discussions of sedition and subversion are ample when it comes to this locale; some may think Alfonso an example of either or both in his development from a children's music performer on radio to a member of Casita Criolla, a touring ensemble combining improvisational theater with music. Everyone on-stage was knee-deep in social protest -- it was the '50s and the "merda" was about to hit the fan. Alfonso's beautiful contributions to a compilation of music for and about revolutionary Che Guevera half a century later show that neither a boycott without end, nor the Cold War, nor the end of the Cold War have been much of a deterrent to his philosophy.

The genre this singer is best known for is punto guajiro or punto Cubana. Singers, backed by guitars and percussion, actually divide up into teams and improvise a musical dialogue. Like many a genre from ranchera to grunge, relentless live touring with many a show in a sleazy bar created popularity, then radio stepped in. Alfonso became familiar on Cuban broadcast outlets, including Cadena Azul and Union Radio. He joined the Cantores de Ariguanabo group in the late '50s, then collaborated in the early '60s with fellow punto Cubana pundit Justo Vega on the television series entitled Palmas y Canas. Alfonso's touring plans were thankfully not met with visa restrictions at every turnstile. He has performed throughout Latin America, Europe, and Africa.