Compay Segundo biography
SynopsisSinger/songwriter Compay Segundo (originally Francisco Repilado) took his name from the Cuban slang for "friend," and his usual roe as "second voice" on recordings and performances. During the course of his long career, Segundo performed with many legendary acts, including Cuban Stars, Cuarteto Hatuey, and Conjunto Matamoros. He achieved international success in 1997 as part of Buena Vista Social Club.
Singer, songwriter, musician. Born Francisco Repilado on November 18, 1907, in Siboney, Cuba. The name Compay Segundo comes from the Cuban slang word for friend and the Spanish word for second. Segundo often sang as the "second voice" on recordings and in performances.
During the course of his long career, Segundo performed with many legendary acts, including Cuban Stars, Cuarteto Hatuey, and Conjunto Matamoros. He also formed his own bands. In 1942, he started Duo Los Compadres with Lorenzo Hierrezuelo. In the 1950s he created the group Compay Segundo and his Muchachos. He took a break from music after Fidel Castro came to power and worked a cigar maker for a while.
Segundo experienced international acclaim and commercial success in 1997 as part of the Buena Vista Social Club, an ensemble of Cuban musicians. Organized by Juan de Marcos González, the group recorded a self-titled album that featured traditional Cuban musical styles. Segundo composed the song "Chan Chan," which was one of the most popular tracks on the album as well as warmly received by critics. The song is an example of "son"?a musical style that fuses African and Spanish sounds and rhythms. The Buena Vista Social Club album went on to sell more than 1.5 million copies and led to an international tour.
Inspired by the success of Buena Vista Social Club, Segundo recorded several more albums, including Trova Cubana (2001) and Duets (2002). He died of kidney failure in 2003 in Havana, Cuba.