Cuban composer Rafael de la Torre, founder of Nueva Trova, died on April 29 in Argentina, a victim of COVID-19, official Cuban media reported today.
The president of the Union of Cuban Residents in Argentina (URCA), Toni Más, communicated the news to the Cuban authorities, sent his condolences to the musician’s family, and highlighted his artistic merits.
Resident in that southern nation since 1993, De la Torre was well-loved within the Argentine artistic community and also by his Cuban compatriots living in Buenos Aires, who say goodbye to him with great sadness.
Member of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and the Argentine Association of Interpreters, during his career he toured more than 40 countries with his music before settling in Argentina and was awarded the 1984 National Music Prize.
Composer, singer, guitarist, and comedian, De la Torre began his musical studies in 1960, at the age of 9, with Professor Carmelo Álvarez and then at Professor González Aullé’s Conservatory where he studied violin, Solfeggio, and Theory until the 5th year.
In later years he was a student of Juan Elosegui and Luis Carbonell, with whom he studied music theory and interpretation of the repertoire.
Between the 60s and 70s, De la Torre was committed to the cultural policy of the Cuban government, a quality akin to all representatives of the Nueva Trova movement. He visited countries of the extinct socialist camp and Angola.
With approximately 200 songs, some recorded by different Cuban musical groups, it received the 1984 National Music Award and was included in 1999 in the Anthology of Cuban Music, distributed by Pony Music (Mexico).
He recorded his first album as a soloist in Argentina in 1998, with his own songs and by other Cuban authors (Matamoros, Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés, Augusto Blanca, and Noel Nicola, among others). And another in 2002 with Ibrahim Ferrer Jr. and the Agrupación Clave Cubana.
De la Torre lived in Argentina since 1993 and was deeply loved by his countrymen, due to his sense of humor, humanity and generosity, say the people who knew him.