Justo Betancourt

Chris Coyne

Justo Betancourt

The heir to his family’s solid musical tradition, Justo Betancourt was an unparalleled sonero, possessed of a uniquely personal style.

He began his career at a very early age in his native Cuba, where he participated with orchestras and bands.

In the 1960s, he arrived in New York, where he launched a new, brilliant stage of his career, singing vocals for the legendary and inveterate group, La Sonora Matancera, who was already established in the city. Betancourt stayed with the group for five years.

In later years, he was a member of the chorus for various groups, including Eddie Palmieri’s and Ray Barretto’s.

At the end of 1971, he signed on with Fania Records, where he demonstrated his musical experience: he collaborated on a series of successful albums, making a name for himself as the lead singer of the Fania All Stars during a period that would expand the label.

He collaborated on such albums as “Tributo a Tito Rodríguez,” which featured his song, “Cara de payaso;” and 1982’s “Leguleya no,” which earned extensive radio play.

A talented director and vocalist, Justo Betancourt’s name will forever be imprinted on the popular music scene.

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