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SpanishEnglishEmilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad
Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad was founded on June 28, 2013 by then 25 year-old singer Emilio Frias "El Niño" and pianist and musical director Wilfredo Naranjo "Pachy Jr.". The two began working together in 2009 when Emilio was invited to join Elito Revé y Su Charangón. Emilio had already developed a following singing with Pascualito Cabreras & Tumbao Habana, most notably as lead singer of “El Padrino”, which was one of Emilio´s own compositions. Emilio was only 21 years old when he joined the Charangón, and Elito gave him the nickname “El Niño”. It stuck. Emilio spent three-and-a-half years with Orquesta Revé during which time he recorded lead vocals on four songs on the CD “De Que Estamos Hablando” including the international mega-hit “Agua pa’ Yemayá”, which he authored. Other compositions he wrote while with La Revé are "El nombrecito", "Jala, jala" and "El negocio personal", which were recorded on the 2014 album "La Aplandora de Cuba".
In 2012 Emilio teamed-up with Charangón pianist Pachy Jr., son of the director of Original de Manzanillo - Wilfredo "Pachy" Naranjo - to record several solo songs that would allow them to experiment with their own sound and satisfy their own musical interests, not intending to leave their “day job” with La Revé. However, the response among Cuban music fans was overwhelming, and in March 2013, Emilio and Pachy left Orquesta Revé to start their own project giving it the title “El Niño y La Verdad”, counting on the name recognition that Emilio had built up during his time with La Revé.
There is no question that El Niño y La Verdad hit a chord with Cuban music fans. The bandname is also their mission statement: to create true Cuban music based on the traditional Cuban genres but with infusions of contemporary harmonies and tastes. As a singer, Emilio's influences are the legends of the 40s and 50s and modern soneros such as Cándido Fabre. His style is son with rumba, coupled with a charismatic stage presence and a talent for improvisation that make concerts by El Niño y La Verdad popular with native Habaneros and tourists alike. The arrangements by Pachy and guitarist Dayron Ortega are so contagious that dancers find themselves singing all the way home and into the next day.
El Niño y La Verdad has gone from success to success. From their very first concert in Havana, their shows have been packed. This is something almost unheard of for a new band in Havana’s highly competitive dance music scene. When La Verdad launched their first album – “Llegó La Verdad” – it proved their ability to deliver hit after hit and solidified their position as one of the top young bands in Havana. In 2015 the orchestra did its first European tour, which was a resounding success and confirmed that they are as popular internationally as at home.
If you are in Havana, I highly recommend you catch a concert by El Niño y La Verdad. It is one of the "must see" bands on my list. If you can't make it to Cuba, keep an eye on their tours page to see when they may be playing at a venue near you.
Photo ©Thomas Corazza used courtesy of Oye Mi Música