[JPL] Afro-Cuban rumbero who changed NYC's Latin & jazz scene passes at 60

Arturo Gomez arturo at kuvo.org
Thu Aug 14 12:45:10 EDT 2008

Orlando Ríos better known as "Puntilla" (tack) passed away at Montefiore
Hospiotal in The Bronx NY, he was 60 years old. Born in Havana, Cuba
December, December 26th, 1947. Orlando was raised in the Afro-Cuban rumba,
dance and religious tradition. He was one of the few rumberos capable of
playing complex Afro-Cuban secular and scared polyrhythms on the
tumbadoras(congas) and sing at the same time. Throughout the 1970s he was an
educuator at the prestigious Havana school, Escuela Nacional Artística de
Cuba (National Artistic School of Cuba)during the day while performing at
the best venues during off hours, he also continued performing at religious
ceremonies. He left Cuba along with Daniel Ponce in 1980 as part of the
Mariel Movement and after a brief stay in Miami arrived in NYC where he
immediately made his presence known and freshened the then stale NYC
Afro-Cuban music scene by injection the innovations made in Cuba since the
US blockade of 1961.

Over the last few years Puntilla's health had declined and it affected his
playing and singing ability, he returned to Cuba lat year to visit family
and friends for the last time, he was under dialysis treatment for the past
2-3 years and on Tuesday August 12th he passed away from a haert attack as
he was being prepared for surgery.

Orlando Ríos is seen with his Nueva Generación(New Generation) Afro-Cuban
Folklore Ensemble featuring the late Carlos "Patato" Valdés and Andy
González in the acclaimed film, Calle 54. Puntilla worked with Kip Hanarahan
for 2 albums of Deep Rumba with an all star cast of guests on Justin Time,
he is part of the NYC rumba classic, Totico y sus Rumberos with Jerry
González- check out their killer-diller rumba version of What's Your
Name-the vocal harmony smash hit. Punti also appears in several films and
documentary about AfroCuban rumba, dance and religion.

Puntilla y su Nueva Generación are scheduled to appear on Sunday Lincoln
Center's 93th Birthday tribute to the First Lady of Afro-Cuban Jazz,
Graciela (Pérez) of Machito and Mario Bauzá orchestras fame. I am sure there
will be a moment to commerate the departure of Puntilla as well as a
Afro-Cuban drumming session in his honor. Ríos latest recording is for
Smithsonian Folkways, "A Tribute to Tío Tom(a legendary Cuban rumbero) as by
"Puntilla y el Conjunto Todo Rumbero"

Ibae, ibae tuni Puntilla

Arturo Gómez

Here's Puntilla & group Calle 54 appearance

Puntilla talks about the batá drum with English sub-titles

Afro-Cuban religious drum ritual featuring the 3 batá drums, father, mother,
son with Puntilla http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbhEcL5p0nQ&feature=related

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