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Los Machucambos

Idioma disponível: inglês

Los Machucambos is a Paris-based Latin music act formed in the city’s Latin Quarter in 1959. Well-versed in a whole host of popular Latin genres such as cha-cha-cha, mariachi, bossa nova, and even Andean folklore, the group went through numerous lineup changes throughout its history, but initially consisted of Spanish guitarist Rafael Gayoso, Costa Rican singer Julia Cortés (the daughter of former president León Cortés Castro), and a second guitarist from Peru named Milton Zapata. They began performing in the late 50s as Los Acapulcos and changed their name to Los Machucambos (taken from an indigenous Andean term for ‘armadillo’) after Julia Cortés joined the band. In 1960, the trio gained nationwide popularity thanks to their rendition of the Mexican classic “La Bamba,” but it was 1961’s “Pepito” that finally propelled them to international stardom. During that time, Milton Zapata quit the group and was later replaced by Italian guitarist Romano Zanotti. Over the course of the next few decades, Los Machucambos continued their exploration of the Latin American songbook, often incorporating traditional instruments such as charango, kena, and the Andean harp. Following Julia Cortés’ departure in 1972 due to a serious illness, the group recruited several female vocalists until settling with Chilean singer Mariana Montalvo, who accompanied the group until 2005. Prior to that, all of the group’s original members reunited in 2004 to record the album Como Antes, followed by a legendary live concert in Costa Rica. In the subsequent years, the group suffered significant losses after the passing of Julia Cortés in 2008 and Rafael Gayoso in 2015.


©Copyright Music Story Evelyn Duskey 2022
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