The history of Afro-Caribbean music in Puerto Rico could not be written without the name of Angel “Cachete” Maldonado, percussion teacher who died last Friday afternoon after battling a cancer that put his life out at age 68. Maldonado died at his residence in Villa Palmeras, in Santurce, in the company of his wife, Carmin Colon, and several of his daughters. Funeral events will begin on Monday January 13th 2020, from 9:00 a.m., at the Ehret funeral home, in Rio Piedras, where it will be veiled. On Tuesday, the hearse will leave at 1:00 p.m. towards the cemetery of Villa Palmeras. Along the way, several musicians will join the funeral procession to the holy field, according to Felix Giovanni Franceschini, spokesman for the family.
Known as “The son of the drum”, Maldonado was one of those responsible for popularizing bata drums in music and his concept of the genre combination in Puerto Rico. His sound wisdom revolutionized Latin music with groups like Batacumbele, which in Yoruba language means kneeling in front of the drum, and later, with Los Majaderos. Teacher of teachers, Maldonado participated in more than 500 recordings of all kinds of music, including the Mexican rock band Los Jaguares, with which he played at the end of the nineties. It was also an inspiration for many drummers in the country and gave the opportunity to many musicians, who broke through thanks to him.
“Cachete” saw the potential of musicians and that is why he gave so many musicians of the country a chance. If you come to see, everyone who played with Cachete was going to play or sing with other groups. He gave him the opportunity to start, he taught them to play the drums, what was the foundation, ”Franceschini said.
In 2002 the musician’s health was affected by a stroke, which would be repeated in 2005 affecting his body and speech, but never his sonic spirit that continued to resonate like a drum. Maldonado did not leave the stage, and even if he were in a wheelchair, he always arrived at the Los Majaderos presentations with shekere in hand to play, no matter how difficult it was.
With a sincere smile and expressive eyes, the musician was born on October 16, 1951 in Santurce, in a family of musicians. His father, Ruben Maldonado was a bassist who had played in prominent orchestras during the time and urged him to take piano lessons. But Maldonado felt the call for percussion and began to play drums, until he ran into the bata drums, which only those who had sworn in the Yoruba religion could play, which he endorsed, as he explained to journalist Elivan Martinez in a interview published in El Nuevo Dia in June 2008.