The mother of Cuban charanga was born on September 30, 1939 in Cienfuegos, under the direction of bassist Orestes Aragon. Since then, it has remained in the preference of Cuban dancers and the rest of the world.
Under the direction of Rafael Lay Apezteguía, young violinist who succeeded founding director, the group consolidated a particular label that has much to do with the performance of its first members, Lay s arrangements and virtuoso flutist Richard Egües in addition to the high level of communication achieved by its members and perpetuated by those who have replaced the initial list, always with the criterion of maintaining a team work that does not favor individual performances.
The Aragonero style is characterized not only by the perfect binding of voices, but also for work that came from the fusion of multiple generic styles with chachachá in the base, they got enrich it with diverse rhythms like son, danzón, bolero, guaracha, the samba, the charleston, rock and roll, etc. mixtures which were not always distinguishable. Also in bolero they introduced innovations in the way of interpretation.
This crystallizes in an extensive repertoire of around 700 pieces and whose cohesive feature is precisely the arranger’s and interpretive approach, marked by a sonera mark, exploited to the maximum to encourage the dancer, enrich the choreography of traditional genres and convene hearings chachachá and danzón alongside of son and bolero. The numerous versions made Cuban issues of fashion or foreign, already known in the world of song, they worked as a strategy of permanence that relied on different kinds of repertoires, dance or not. Even he never disdained the difficult role of companion group, and countless encounters with figures of great national and international reputation of the most diverse styles.
The evolution was also evident in the assumption of new rhythms-not always with the approval of the critic. As had marked in his career, Aragon incorporates mozanchá, the chaonda, the guachipupa, reflecting a panorama search, eclectic and transitional that somehow paved the way for what would happen in the deferents decades in the Cuban dance. This hybridizing and topical interest comes up today with the addition of close to Timba style pieces, with rap and reggaeton grabs, leading to the coexistence of traditional and contemporary discourses that differ markedly from each other.
With the cultivation of musical, dance and theatrical qualities of its members, the Aragon managed to embody the sound of a dance scene in different spaces: the popular dance, nightclubs, mass media, discography. He gave a large and heterogeneous public music needed at all times and every time, summoning from the chachachá, son, bolero and rhythms of fashion.
Rafael Lam says: “The Aragon becomes an accomplished orchestra when crowds melt the living room with the street […] It was a popular symphony in miniature, with a well popular music, but with high artistic development” The taste of her performance more than made up the empiricism of several of its members in both primal genius of Lay and Egües funnelled the potential of each instrument into a single whole, whose result was an intelligent and organic work. Not just a long-lived artistic existence to ensure the significance of a group, you need to leave a mark on his contemporaries and later generations. Aragon has succeeded handsomely. In the history of popular music they have left hundreds of recordings registered constantly republished in Cuba and abroad; books on his career, which is already registered in the film Aragón are published.
Eternal charanga, and its influence beyond the borders of the island to be recognized in the world of salsa. Numerous groups have intentionally left over prestige reproduced some of its identifying features; while the sound memory of several generations remain many issues, and references to his music outshine that of other contemporary groups in the same format and repertoire. No wonder he was hailed as the Eternal Charanga in a wide survey conducted by the magazine Salsa Cubana, in the last year of the last century, even though their presence in the media and popular dances is rare. Carnegie Hall in New York and Paris Olympia are part of Aragon circuit, with an impressive approval from critics; they were chosen to be the artistic part of the awards ceremony of the IAAF in 2007, honor earned in previous years for such a popular group like Kool and The Gang US; be the first group of popular music playing in the Tchaikovsky Theatre in Moscow in the 60s, made repeated in Brescia in the 90; also it has the merit of being one of the first groups to join the Hall of Fame Latin Music in the United States; Pablo Picasso hold the Order granted and be considered UNESCO World Heritage Site, in addition to being nominated 2 times Grammy
Awards, facts which are only milestones in an infinite enumeration. Currently, they remain valid in the field of Cuban popular music and continue to occur successfully in the most varied world stage, where usually share the stage with dissimilar and important personalities from the world of salsa and jazz.