This was the last album from Chichito Cepeda. He died in a car acident before the album was realeased in2003
Luis Daniel ("Chichito") Cepeda Brenes, 1957-2003
Luis Daniel ("Chichito") Cepeda Brenes Born March 3, 1957, Luis was the second youngest of twelve children born
to Don Rafael Cepeda Atiles and Doña Caridad Brenes Cepeda. Don Rafael
and the Cepeda family are known in Puerto Rico and diaspora communities
as "the patriarchs" of the Afro-Puerto Rican bomba and plena traditions.
Music was Luis’ life, his heart and soul. When he was five years old he
began to make drums out of cracker tins and copied what he heard and saw
his older brothers playing. With his warm, infectious smile, he told us
he would practice from morning to night, driving the neighbors crazy.
It wasn’t long before he became proficient and, ultimately, gained
recognition as a master percussionist in many Afro-Caribbean
traditions. His peers state that he was one of the greatest drummers
in Puerto Rican musical history, with a profound mastery of Afro-Puerto
Rican rhythms; he was unquestionably the world’s best primo (solo bomba
drum) player. People throughout the U.S. consider him their teacher,
learning from him through workshops, classes, and the numerous
recordings on which he played. He was extremely open in sharing his
great knowledge and delighted in telling stories about his legendary
father and family.
Luis Daniel Cepeda was a role model. Professional musicians have been
inspired and influenced by his playing, style, sound, and attitude. He
was young, strong, and vibrant, with an incredible zest for life. He had
boundless energy and a positive approach to life and music. He was pure
of heart, with malice toward none; he was humble, honest, and ready to
see the best in everyone. He pushed dancers to stretch beyond their
limitations and reach into the depths of their soul to attain that
spiritual connection between dancer and primo that is the lifeblood of
bomba. And all this he did with that beautiful smile that told us his
heart was open to us.
Luis’s professionalism and mastery put him in great demand for gigs with
a variety of traditional, fusion, Latin jazz, jazz, and salsa groups in
Puerto Rico, where he was born and raised, and in California, where he
lived since 1999. He played with the various Cepeda family groups, the
well-known group, Areyto, and other ensembles as well. He taught
workshops and clinics, did studio recording dates, and was guest artist
on numerous recordings. Two years ago he formed Cepeda, a bomba and
plena group comprised of family members and friends, in which he was
musical director and lead percussionist. Last year, while Cepeda was on
tour in Puerto Rico, Luis and Estrella produced the group’s first CD,
Dancing the Drum/ Bailando el Tambor.
Chichito leaves behind a 22-year old son, Luis Daniel ("Hadji") Cepeda
Rosa, his beloved wife Estrella and their California family–Blue,
Justin, Maria, and granddaughter, Indiana–a family of brothers,
sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews, and a community of friends, fellow
musicians, and fans. He touched our lives with his beautiful and
generous spirit, kind and gentle soul, and love of life. We are left
with our memories and a gaping hole in our hearts.
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