If the tone of Charles Abreu's classic Latin waltz "La Vida Mia" sounds overtly sentimental, perhaps its because the composer was thinking about some of the melodramatic theatrical productions he accompanied on piano during the early years of his career. Following his studies at the Havana Conservatory of Music in the late '30s, Abreu began chipping away in earnest at many available facets of the Cuban music scene. In addition to playing for theater productions, Abreu also performed on radio and in nightclubs; his voice was also deemed suitable for singing assignments in certain groups.
In the years following the second World War, Abreu traveled widely in Spanish-speaking countries, hitting the islands of Haiti and Puerto Rico as well as playing for appreciative audiences in Venezuela, Peru and Mexico. Then came the European continent with its quickly developing appreciation for any and all Latin sounds -- naturally Spain came first, then Italy and France. One facet of Abreu's outlook that changed most dramatically over the next decade-and-a-half were his feelings about his homeland. In 1962 he left Cuba for the United States, continuing his activities as a composer, bandleader, pianist and arranger. Songwriting credits seem to be his major presence in the recording industry. His catalog of original works, including "Carino Mio" and "Seran Tus Pa'Ca," has been nibbled at by artists such as Pedro Vargas, Justo Betancourt and Julio Jaramillo.