Orquesta Aragón was formed on 30 September 1939 by Orestes Aragón Cantero in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Although they were not the first charanga band nor did they create the Cha Cha Cha, they were arguably the best Charanga band that played the best Cha Cha Cha in Cuba during the mid to late 1950s. They were one of the first bands whose main feature was not the singer but an instrumentalist. They could perform a wide variety of styles from the Cha Cha Cha to the Danzon and everything else in between. They still perform today and they are still based in Havana, Cuba. Starting from the recordings in 1954, the classic sound of the Orquesta Aragon began to take shape. Pepe Olmo began singing along with the director Rafael Lay Sr. Pepe Palma returned to the piano full time and most importantly the emergance of Richard Egües on the 5-key wooden flute. Richard Egües replaced Rolando Lozano at the beginning of 1954 when Lozano went to Mexico. In August 1955, Celso Valdes was added on violin and thus the first classic lineup of the Orquesta Aragon was in place. The line up at this time was Pepe Olmo and Rafael Lay Sr. (Vocals), Rafael Lay Sr., Filiberto Depestre and Celso Valdes (Violins), Pepe Palma (Piano), Jose Beltran (Bass), Panchito Arbolaez (Guiro), Orestes Varona (Timbales) and Guido Sarria (Conga). Both Lay and Egües were skilled arrangers and composers. Lay composed Que Bien Estamos, Cero Codazos, Cero Cabezazos and Vida Te Adoro which were some of their earliest recordings. Egües' first recorded compsition was Picando De Vicio. Egües would soon composed a classic, El Bodegero. Between 1955 and 1958 the Orquesta Aragon released four LPs for RCA. They were 'Cha Cha Cha' (1955), 'That Cuban Cha Cha Cha' (1956), 'The Heart of Havana' (1957) and 'Maracas, Bongo y Congas' (1958). During this time the Orquesta Aragon recorded nearly one hundred songs for RCA, several of which have never been released on LP or CD. Theses include 'Macuto', 'Por Esta Adoracion', 'El Trago', 'Gallo y Gallina' and 'Cha Cha Cha Navideño' among others.During 1958 and 1959 there occurred one change and one addition to the Orquesta Aragon: Pedro Depestre replaced his father, Filiberto, on violin and in January 1959 Rafael Bacallao was added as a singer. Now the Aragon had three voices which had a unique sound. Bacallao also was a dancer and his dances during their shows always garnered attention and public acclaim. Also in 1959 the Orquesta Aragon issued the first of eight LPs with their new line up on the Discuba label. Discuba was an affiliate of RCA which specialized in Cuban artists such as the legendary Benny Moré.
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