Marcelino 'Rapindey' Guerra

Marcelino 'Rapindey' Guerra (born in Cienfuegos, Cuba April 26, 1914 - 1996) started working as a musician and a composer in Havana starting in 1931. He was already well-known in the latin music scene when he took a trip to New York in 1944. What was supposed to be a short trip led to a longer stay and a permanent move in 1945, first working with a band assembled with help of Machito and Mario Bauza and later striking out on his own. In the 1940s before the start of the mambo craze, Guerra's band rivaled Machito's Afro-Cubans in popularity. In 1954, Guerra decided to quit as a bandleader and joined the U.S. merchant marine. None of the recordings made by Guerra in the 1940s and 1950s have been re-released thus far as far as I know. 

During short shore leaves in between traveling the world with the U.S. merchant marine, Guerra made a small number of recordings in the 1960s. 
Busca lo tuyo - La Playa Sextet in 1964 with Guerra in vocals

Busco lo tuyo is well associated with Cheo Feliciano and was recorded in Eddie Palmieri's album, Champagne, in 1968 just before Feliciano had to take a leave from the music business in order to recover from drug addiction. Cheo Feliciano did not make another recording until the album, Cheo, released in 1974 with the hit song Anacaona. 
Busca lo tuyo - Cheo Feliciano & Eddie Palmieiri (live)

Busca lo tuyo - Cheo Feliciano & Fania All Stars (live)

Guerra also joined Machito and his orchestra for the 1965 album Mucho Mucho Machito. Guerra took the lead vocals in two songs, including Yo Soy La Rumba. 

Yo soy la rumba - Machito Y Su Orquesta (with Guerra in lead vocals)

Yo soy la rumba has been covered by many bands since, including La Sonora Poncena multiple times under a different title Ahora si, first with Yolanda Rivera in vocals in New Heights (1980) and later with Andy Montanez in vocals in multiple live anniversary albums. 

Ahora si - La Sonora Poncena with Yolanda Rivera (live)

Ahora si - La Sonora Poncena with Andy Montanez (live)

While docked in Spain, Guerra met Julia Nunez, whom he married in 1967. To spend more time with his wife, Guerra left the merchant marine and landed a job as a maintenance worker at Rockefeller Center back in New York, supplementing income by singing in a club in New Jersey. In 1976, Mario Bauza introduced Guerra to conga drummer Armando Sanchez, who became the first member of Guerra's Septeto Son de la Loma. After a recording and few appearances, however, Guerra left the band to Sanchez and moved to Spain with his wife. 

In his 80s, Guerra made a final recording with a host of Cuban musicians, some of whom would later become with the Buena Vista Social Club recordings. Guerra's last album Rapindey was released in 1996. Marcelino 'Rapindey' Guerra shortly thereafter died in Alicante, Spain on June 30, 1996. Guerra was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at the foot of the Statue of Liberty back in New York according to a provision of his will. 
Buscando la melodia - in Guerra's final album Rapindey

Buscando la melodia - Henry Fiol (live)

Probably the best known composition by Guerra is Pare cochero, which has been recorded by countless bands, including Cuarteto Caney with Machito in 1940 and arguably most famously by Orquesta Aragon. 
Pare cochero - Orquesta Aragon (live)

Pare cochero - Tito Puente (live)

Guerra's music is still beloved in Cuba and elsewhere, played by many musicians in public and at home. 
Me voy pa'l pueblo - live at a private residence

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