Willy Chirino [Wilfredo José Chirino]
- Mario Rey
[Wilfredo José Chirino]
(b Consolación del Sur, Cuba, April 5, 1947). Cuban-American vocalist, songwriter, and bandleader; immigrated to the United States in 1961. At the age of thirteen, Chirino was transported from Cuba to the United States through Operation Pedro Pan, the largest child exodus in the Americas. After studying percussion, piano and guitar, he began his career performing in various rock bands, subsequently becoming an instrumentalist for artists such as Celia Cruz before emerging as a solo performer. He has been married to renowned Cuban singer Lissette [Álvarez] since 1980.
A central figure in tropical and Latin pop, Chirino has collaborated with the most renowned exponents of salsa and was influential in the formation of the fusion style known as the “Miami Sound.” Chirino’s eclectic brand of danceable music combines Cuban popular traditions with Anglo rock, jazz, and Brazilian rhythms. The nostalgia of exile and socio-political issues related to the Cuban people resonate through much of his work, as exemplified by ...