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The piper of the Eternal Charanga

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Havana, Cuba. – Richard Egües, the piper of the Eternal Charanga, was born on October 26, 1923, in the Cienfuegos town of Cruces. The piper, composer and arranger joined the Orchestra Aragon in 1953, replacing another remarkable player of that instrument, Rolando Lozano.

Richard Egües, el flautista de la Charanga Eterna

Richard Egües, el flautista de la Charanga Eterna. Foto tomada de Internet

Egües gave to that ensemble the unmistakable hallmark of his flute solos. Next to conductor Rafael Lay, they turned it into one of the main typical orchestras of the XX century in Cuba.

He was an eternal improvisator and his virtuosity made other pipers, both in Cuba and abroad, imitate him.

As a piper he was brilliant, but as a composer he scored great cha-cha-cha hits, like “El bodeguero” (The grocer), “Bombon cha”, “Por qué me tienes así” (Why do you treat me like this?) “Sabrosona”, “El Cerquillo” (The bangs) and others. He also succeeded with Son Montunos like “El güini tiene bandera”, “El trago” (The drink), “La cantina” (The canteen), and “Maloja.” He also composed sung danzones, of which the most outstanding are “Gladys” and “Cero penas” (No sorrows), as well as songs, boleros, guarachas, country music, ballads and others.

Nonetheless, Richard Egües’ achievements hardly end there; because he did most of the musical arrangements for Orchestra Aragon. As fans and biographers say, Richard attained a balance of tone, melody and the unique and unrepeatable rhythm of Olmos, Bacallao and Lay’s voices.

He explained his way of orchestrating in the following way: “The first that you have to keep in mind is the sense of ensemble. A Charanga is not the sum of individualities, but a collective body, to which everyone contributes his part. I am always inspired by symphonic knowledge to arrange the violins section and try to achieve a clean rhythm that serves as a basis for the other instruments and guides the dancer.”

Cuban music lost forever Richard Egües, the piper of the Eternal Charanga, when he passed away on August 31 2006, but his inheritance will live on for all times.

By: Jose Pendas

Translated by: Pedro A. Fanego

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