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Rafael Dávila Rosario, better known as Chivirico, was born in 1924 in Santurce (Puerto Rico), where he debuted in the 40s with the orchestras of Miguelito Miranda and Frank Madera. At that time he likely met Rafael Cortijo, who was then active in the same groups and with whom Chivirico would eventually record some twenty years later. But while Cortijo stayed on the island, the young Chivirico chose a different path; first to New York, where he played for a time with Johnny Seguí y Los Dandies. His luck changed in 1956 when he was contracted by the “Rey del Mambo”, Dámaso Pérez Prado, with whom he did an extensive tour all over Latin America. He was already a renowned artist by the time he returned to New York in 1958, although his recording career was just beginning. He made numerous recordings for the main Latin music labels in New York throughout the next two decades with the orchestras of Orlando Marín, Kako, Alegre y Puerto Rican All-Stars, Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, Joe Cotto, Ricardo Ray, Joey Pastrana, Johnny Sedes and Markolino Dimond, among several others. In the 1970s, his output as a soloist for the Cotique label focused on bolero, a genre in which Chivirico stood out as a performer and composer. Perhaps for this reason or because his timbre and demeanor were too classic for the era, he never became part of the Fania All Stars nor did he achieve the fame of the great singers of the salsa boom. He was, however, a fantastic performer of guaracha and son, as is demonstrated on his first album “Aquí está Chivirico”, for the Ammex label in 1960.

Yannis Ruel

Chivirico Biography Gallery
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