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‘Father of Boogaloo’ Joe Cuba Dies at 78

Joe Cuba, the salsa bandleader known as the “Father of Boogaloo,” died Feb. 15 in New York City from complications of a bacterial infection. Cuba, who reached the pop charts twice in 1966 and ’67, with “Bang Bang” and “Oh Yeah!,” was 78.

Born Gilberto Miguel Calderón in New York City’s Spanish Harlem, of Puerto Rican descent, Cuba took up the conga drums after a broken leg during his childhood kept him from participating in sports. He continued to play after the leg healed, and joined his first band after graduating high school. During college, after being encouraged by Latin bandleader Tito Puente, he played for J. Panama and La Alfarona X, then formed his own band, first called the Jose Calderón Sextet and then the Joe Cuba Sextet.

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