Pearl mourns the passing of a legend: Francisco Aguabella.


Conguero/Bata Master Francisco Aguabella was surrounded by many friends and loved ones when he passed on May 7, 2010. He was 84. He'll be remembered not only for having a passion for hand drumming but a passion for living every day to its fullest. His unmatched style and brilliant personality is a testament to all.


Francisco first left Cuba in the 1950s to perform with Katherine Dunham in the Shelley Winters movie "Mambo" filmed in Italy. After touring with Katherine Dunham he came to the United States and performed and toured with Peggy Lee for the next seven years. He has performed in Europe, Australia, South America and all over the United States (including the White House). Francisco enjoyed an extensive music performing and recording career and has delighted many audiences with his masterful and powerful rhythms.

He performed with many great jazz artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Palmieri, Cachao, Lalo Schifrin, Cal Tjader, Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson, Poncho Sanchez, Bebo Valdes and numerous others. Francisco's love of music transcends genres as he also performed and recorded with Rock legends Carlos Santana, Three Dog Night, Paul Simon and the Doors. Francisco had the honor of receiving awards such as the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Durfee Foundation's Master Musicians' Fellowship, and recognition by the Los...

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