When singer Isaac Delgado decided to leave Cuba and go live in the United States in 2006, he was running the risk of losing the audience he had cultivated for years to the disconnection that existed at the time between the two countries.
When the word spread that he wouldn’t be coming back to Cuba, his songs faded out at local radio stations, and even a few of his fans refused, on their own initiative, to listen or dance to his music in the privacy of their homes and parties.
Eight years would pass before “El Chevere de la Salsa”, as he is known among timba followers, had the opportunity to perform in Cuba again. It was at a concert of Cuban singer song-writer Carlos Varela.
It happened after Delgado decided to relocate from the United States to the island in 2014, and resume his local career, in a new context of improved cultural exchange between Cuba and the United States –and a renewed perception of artists’ interest to develop their careers on both sides of the Florida Strait.
These first performances in his country of origin were his chance to get an answer to an inevitable question: had Cubans living in Cuba forgotten him and his music?
The first thing he realized was that the people who like to dance had kept their preference for timba and son music, the genres that had made him popular in the 1990’s.
“I have played all over the world, but performing in Cuba gives rise to all kinds of strong feelings,” he told OnCuba.
Delgado, who is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his band in 2015, said that he is certain that the majority of the Cuban public didn’t stop listening to his music.
As of his comeback, he has been performing more often in the country, without setting aside his international commitments. He has also been recording jointly with Cuban musicians.
“In the last few months, I’ve been more to Europe and Latin America,” Delgado told OnCuba shortly before the beginning of the concert that marked the 25th anniversary of the foundation of his group at La Cecilia Night Club, an iconic place for the boom of salsa in the 1990s.
He added that he’s been playing less in Puerto Rico and the United States, but he thinks that his new disc will be appealing to the American audience, and he has already managed to schedule concerts in both countries.
In addition to his Cuban band, Delgado has another band in Puerto Rico. “I want to take my Cuban band to Puerto Rico in June or July, and then maybe come back there after the summer,” he said.
He added that he is very excited about a new album he is still working on, which will be distributed in Cuba by the EGREM record label.
“In late May we want to shoot a video that will include some of my old songs, as well as new ones. There will be guest musicians joining me as well,” he said.
Delgado started his career as a member of Los Kini Kini band, and then joined NG la Banda. In 1991, after a successful run with NG la Banda, and hits like “Necesito una amiga”, he decided to try his luck, and founded his own group –that included famed drummer Giraldo Piloto.