Cuban bolero giant César Portillo de la Luz dies at 90


Cuban musician César Portillo de la Luz, one of Cuba’s most celebrated composers, died Saturday in Havana, according to various press reports on the island. He was 90.

Portillo’s Spanish songs such as “Contigo en la distancia” y “Tú mi delirio” were known internationally and various interpretations were performed by some of the world’s most popular artists, including Nat King Cole, Pedro Infante, José José, Lucho Gatica, Luis Miguel, Plácido Domingo, Caetano Veloso and Christina Aguilera.

His cause of death was not reported by Cuba’s offical press. The state-run National News Agency (AIN) said that the musician's body will be cremated, as per Portillo’s wishes. A memorial service is scheduled for Monday at a funeral home in Havana.

"His work as a composer enriched the legacy of Cuban music and universal songwriting,” AIN reported.

Considered a fundamental author of Latin American music, Portillo was one of Cuba’s most prolific composers and a giant in the bolero genre. He, along with other Cuban musicians like Jose Antonio Mendez, was founder of the musical movement called "filin" -- a Spanglish term for the English word "feeling" -- which renewed the bolero genre in the 1950s by incorporating harmonic and melodic elements used in jazz.

Read more Cuba stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category