Tatá Güines, like many musical veterans who started
playing professionally in the 1940s and 50s, a golden age
for Cuban music, he found international fame in the 1990s
at the end of the cold war, when some Cubans were allowed
Most recent of his long career trajectory, Güines had played
on “Lágrimas Negras” the 2003 flamenco-Cuban disc that
saw émigré Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés and Spanish
vocalist El Cigala win two Latin and five Spanish Grammies.
Güines and Valdés' musical friendship dated back to the
1950s, when in a group with bassist Israel "Cachao" López
they recorded what became Cachao's “Descargas” and
Valdés' “Sabor de Cuba” albums.
Although Güines was known as "el rey de los tambores"
(king of the drums) a title that referenced his following of the
Afro-Cuban Santeria religion, which speaks to its Orisha
deities through drums, he began by playing the bongos