Cheo Feliciano
Cheo Feliciano

José "Cheo" Feliciano was born on July 3 rd, 1935 and took his first formal steps into the field of music as a student Free Music School in his native Ponce, Puerto Rico. At the age of 17, he moved with his family to New York where he began his professional career as a percussionist with a band known as "Ciro Rimac's Review".

He went on to work as a "bandboy" in Tito Rodriguez' orchestra and as a conguero with Conjunto Marianaxi led by maestro Luis Cruz, and as a percussionist with the orquestra of "Kako y su Trabuco". On the recommendation of Tito Rodriguez, Feliciano auditioned for and won a job with the Joe Cuba Sextet as a vocalist. With Joe Cuba, he had his first success on the radio. Songs such as "A la seis", "El ratón", "Como ríen" and "El pito", marked his years with the famous Cuban combo; a time when he briefly appeared with the orchestra of Eddie Palmieri.

At the end of 60's, Feliciano decided to halt his career in protest against the United States' undeclared war against Vietnam. After three years, he reactivated his career with a historic recording entitled Cheo. Breaking all sales records, for the Vaya record label, he had hits with songs such as "Anacaona", "Mi triste problema", "Pa' que afinquen" and "Si por mí llueve". He received numerous awards for his efforts, including the Front Page award from the New York Daily News.

His years recording under the Fania label produced hits such as "Juguete", "Salomé", "Los entierros de mi gente pobre" y "Juan Albañil". His works were also featured in the first salsa opera "Hommy". In the 80's, Feliciano launched his own independent record production company: Coche Records. At the start of the 90's he completed several important projects including two albums with the Rondalla Venezolana and his work in Cuba, where he edited the CD recording: "Cheo en Cuba".

At the end of 1999, Feliciano edited a well-reviewed production entitled "Una voz, Mil Recuerdos". In that work, Feliciano paid homage to music figures such as Tito Rodríguez, Ismael Rivera, Frankie Ruíz, Mon Rivera, Gilberto Monroig and Santitos Colón, among others. The National Foundation chose the album as one of the twenty best of 1999 for Popular Culture, for songs such as Camionero. ~ Music of Puerto Rico