Biography

Victor Guillermo Toro (pronouced “Tohroh”) was born in Ensenada, Puerto Rico. “Yomo” is his nickname and some mistakenly think that it is his first name, He is a versatile guitarist and one of Puerto Rico’s most famous “cuatro” players. Yomo Toro is probably best known for performing the opening theme song to the 1971 Woody Allen film Bananas, and for his contributions to various Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe’s albums, particularly the by-now classic “Asalto Navideño”.

Yomo Toro recorded with major artists such as Cuban legend Arsenio Rodriguez and Arsenio’s most prominent bassist Alfonso “El Panameño” Joseph at The Palladium, a New York Nightclub.

Yomo Toro is one of the legendary artists featured in a major television production about the era of Afro-Cuban music at the Palladium in New York City, “La Epoca”.

Born in Ensenada, Puerto Rico as the son of an amateur guitarist, Yomo Toro grew to have a five-decades career as one of New York City’s best respected Latin musicians. Toro’s instrument of choice was the Puerto Rican “cuatro”, which is a 10-string guitar-like instrument descended from the Spanish Vilhuela.

After coming to New York in 1953 with his band, Los 4 Aces, he began a series of tours of the Caribbean, finally settling for good in the Tremont section of the Bronx in 1956. He played with Trio Los Panchos in the early ’60s and recorded four albums with them, including one featuring Eydie Gormé.

Soon after he began recording with the legendary Fania label, eventually joining their world-famous house band, the Fania All-Stars. During the late ’60s and early ’70s he hosted a TV show called the Yomo Toro Show on New York’s Channel 41. The show, which featured interviews and entertainment from a host of Latin personalities, was broadcasted seven years.

1969 was a specially fruitful year for Toro. At that time, he recorded “Tributo a Arsenio” with the Larry Harlow Orchestra — an incredibly influential salsa album. He also hooked up with some legends in the 1970s when he recorded the classic “Asalto Navideño” with Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe, combining the new sounds of New York salsa with traditional Puerto Rican Christmas music. The album was one of Fania’s best-selling of all time.

In the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s Toro’s career continued non-stop. He appeared in over 150 albums, recording over 20 solo albums for Fania, Island, Rounder and Green Linnet Records. He came back to television and film, playing in commercials for several major international companies and working in the soundtracks for several films, including Crossover Dreams with Ruben Blades and Woody Allen’s Bananas. He incorporated many different genres, recording with Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt and David Byrne. In 1994, however, he returned his focus to a single band, playing in the “Latin Legends” with Larry Harlow and Aldaberto Santiago.

Edited by Transistorio on 26 Dec 2009, 22:01

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