Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music



(b Camilo Luis Argum‚dez, '45, Colon, Panama) Salsa singer, bandleader, composer. Both parents were singers; grew up listening to Cuban radio; started singing career on a Sunday amateur radio show; signed first pro contract at age 15 to perform in Peru; sang on LPs Tamboreras Panamenas '61 on Virey by Enrique Linchy Orquesta, La Farolera '62 on Luna by Chachi Maclas Band, Pot-Purri y Descargas '65 on Virey by Peter de Lis Orquesta, En Fiesta de Cumbia '66 on Sonodisco with Carlos Harey. During '66 Panamanian carnival Rafael Cortijo invited Azuquita to relocate to Puerto Rico to work with his band; there also provided lead vocals to LP Se Pone Bueno/It Gets Better '66 on Alegre by Roberto Roena y sus Megatones. While touring '68 left Cortijo to remain in NYC; there sang on two Al Santiago productions: Kako's Live It Up '68 on Musicor and descarga set The Salsa All-Stars c'68 on Salsa with Kako, Charlie Palmieri, Louie Ramirez, Israel 'Cachao' Lopez, Pupi Legarreta, others. Returned to PR '68, sang lead vocals on Cortijo's Ahi Na M /Put It There '69 on Tico and joined Sonora Matancera for six months. Founded own band Melao '71, backed Celia Cruz, Rolando La Serie, others; made solo debut with Aqui Esta Azuquita '71 on Hit Parade; relocated to LA '72, toured and recorded with reorganized Melao '72--6 incl. Azuquita y su Melao En Hollywood '73 on G&G, with Panamanian Victor Paz as mus. dir. and playing trumpet, and Pura Salsa '75 on Vaya (part of Fania family), with mus. dir., arrs, baritone sax, flute, guitar, chorus vocals and percussion by Panamanian Mauricio Smith (who returned as Melao's mus. dir. on Azuquita's '80--84 albums). Returned to NYC '76, there reunited with Kako on Union Dinamica '76 on Alegre, prod. by Louie Ramirez. Replaced Tito Allen '77 as lead vocalist of Tipica 73; sang on their The Two Sides Of Tipica 73 '77 and half of Salsa Encendida '78, both on Inca; invited to share lead vocals on Louie Ramirez y sus Amigos '78 on Cotique; resumed solo career with Llego y Dijo '79 back on Vaya prod. by Johnny Pacheco. Relocated to Paris '79 (which he had first visited '77 with Tipica 73), there made live recording Salsa En Vivo '80 on Az at the Bataclan, Dec. '79, backed by Melao comprised of NY salsa musicians, incl. mus. dir. Mauricio Smith on baritone sax and flute, Jos‚ Madera on bongo (they also wrote over half the arrs), and Paris-based Latin musicians, notably Colombian conguero Rodolfo Pacheco, Cuban trumpeter Ernesto 'Tito' Puentes. He provided lead vocals and penned half of Tito Puentes's Ce' Magnifique '81 on Tico; performed before an audience of 75,000 at a Bob Marley concert '81 in Bourges, France; half of Salsa Internacional 83 '83 on Polydor was made in Paris and the other half in NYC; he teamed with Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran for 2 Campeones '84 on Celluloid. Went to NYC to make Azucar A Granel! '88 on Melao with mus. dir., arrs, trumpet by Jos‚ Febles, prod./piano by Oscar Hern ndez and salsa rom ntica- oriented Amantes Secretos '89 on TTH with mus. dir., prod., arrs, keyboards by Isidro Infante (who had one of his earliest NY recording dates on Llego y Dijo '79); made El Se¤or de la Salsa '92 on Melao in Colombia. La Foule -- Salsa International 1994 '95 on Fremeaux Entertainment compiled tracks from his '83--4 albums. Became a French citizen '95 and made UK debut same year; one of headliners of Salsa Legends UK tour '96; collaboration with Papo Lucca Los Originales '96 on Tonga recorded at Lucca's Piannissimo Studios in PR.