The music of South America was deeply influenced by Billo (born Billo Luis María Frometa) and his group the Caracas Boys. More than six decades after Billo formed the ensemble, they continue to perform their dance-inspiring style of Latin music. A native of the Dominican Republic, Billo displayed musical talent at a very young age. While still in elementary school, he balanced his academic studies with daily lessons at a local music academy. He studied music theory and solfeggio with Sixto Brea, harmony and composition with Rafael Pimentel, and saxophone and clarinet with Oguis Negrete. At the age of 15, he founded and directed an orchestra in the city of Trujillo. Moving to the capital city in 1933, Billo worked as a guitar teacher. Although he left music to study medicine at the University of Santo Domingo, he resumed his musical career after three years. Together with his orchestra, Billo sailed to Venezuela on December 26, 1937, to accept the residency at the Hotel Madrid in Caracas. Although they temporarily disbanded in 1939 when Billo contacted typhus, the group re-formed several months later. A greater setback was signaled by the collapse of the government led by General Perez Jimenez in 1958. Relocating to Cuba, Billo recorded with local musicians. He returned to Caracas two years later. Billo's plans to perform with the Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela at the Theatre Teresa Carreno dissolved when he suffered a heart attack on April 27, 1988, and died a week later. Members of Billo & His Caracas Boys joined together to celebrate the band's 50th anniversary in 1990.
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