Moré, Beny (1919–1963)

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Moré, Beny (1919–1963)

Beny Moré was the greatest male vocalist during the golden age of Cuban music. Born in Santa Isabel de las Lajas to a poor family, he received no formal musical training, but his family connections led him to become part of Afro-Cuban fraternal organizations. In Havana after 1940, Moré sang on the streets and in cafés. He became associated with groups led by Miguel Matamoros. He traveled to Mexico in 1945 as a member of Los Matamoros but chose to stay on for the next five years. While there he performed with a number of Mexican and Cuban bands, most notably that of Dámaso Pérez Prado. He began to record with RCA Victor and also appeared in a number of motion pictures. He returned to Cuba in 1950, and in 1953 formed his Banda Gigante, which had a series of hits and performed internationally in North America and throughout the Caribbean.

Known as "el bárbaro del ritmo" (the barbarian of rhythm), Moré was admired for the impressive range and rich sound of his voice and for his precise sense of timing. He was the master of a wide variety of Cuban musical styles, from son to mambo to bolero. Among other fine songs, he wrote "Qué Bueno Baila Usted," "Bonito y Sabroso," and "Dolor y Perdón." His extensive discography remains an essential component of any serious Latin American music collection. He is believed to have died from cirrhosis of the liver.

See alsoBolero; Mambo; Music: Popular Music and Dance; Son.


Contreras, Félix. Yo Conocí a Benny Moré. Havana, Cuba: Ediciones Unión, 2002.

Loza, Steven. Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Orovio, Helio. Cuban Music from A to Z. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

                                Andrew J. Kirkendall