Issac Delgado is a familiar voice to those who follow the musical development in Cuba. Born into a theatrical and musical family in Havana, he began his artistic career in a band called Proyecto with the virtuoso pianist and composer, Gonzalo Rubalcaba. He eventually moved to Pacho Alonso’s Orchestra and later to the Galaxia Group, recording two albums with each group.
His work with N. G. La Banda, one of the most creative Cuban dance groups, attracted large audiences in Europe, Japan, and the United States. The group’s 1992 release En la Calle included the number one world beat hit of the year, “Necesito Una Amiga.”
In 1991, Issac decided to form his own orchestra by scouting talented young musicians who were interested in starting a new stage in their artistic careers. Dando la Hora, his first album as a soloist, is a collector’s item for tropical music lovers. It featured arrangements by Gonzalo Rubalcaba and the first computer synchronized horn section in salsa. Con Ganas, his second production, was also a resounding success.
Always in search of new horizons, in 1995 Issac Delgado joined the RMM International label, recording El Año Que Viene. This recording had an unprecedented impact on the salsa industry, earning him the opportunity to perform at one of the largest salsa festivals around the world: the New York Salsa Festival at Madison Square Garden with Celia Cruz, El Canario, and Grupo Niche. His second RMM release Otra Idea recorded in New York, united the adventurous Afro-Cuban spirits of pianist Ivan “Melon” Gonzalez and arranger/songwriter Joaquin Betancourt with New York’s most ardent practitioners of new Afro-Caribbean dance music, Isidro Infante, Johnny Almendra, Papo Pepin, and Ruben Rodriguez. Mi Primera Noche, an avant-garde project that does not break the traditions of tropical music, followed this release in 1999.
By 2000, Issac was ready to produce his own recording. At Abdala, the state-of-the art recording studio in Havana, Issac delivered a well-balanced, powerful work. La Formula became an instant success and the number one song in Cuba. This production includes collaborations with Pablo Milanes, Juan and Samuel Formell of Los Van Van, and once again, master pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Delgado pours his passionate, hard-hitting sounds and breaks into all the tracks. The Latin Music Recording Academy recognized this effort and nominated Issac for two Grammy Awards in 2001. The nominations were for Best Tropical Album and Best Tropical Song for “La Formula."
Versos en el Cielo was a well-received follow-up to La Formula featuring all the passion and complexity of his previous work along with a new lyrical sound. Throughout the production is the unmistakable rhythm of Cuba’s timba mixed with the New York sound. Other Seis del Solar members Mark Quinones, Arturo Ortiz and Ruben Rodriguez joined Irizarry in Havana for this unique production. In collaboration with multi-Grammy winner engineer Jon Fausty, it promised to be the next step in the evolution of Caribbean music.
Frustrated by restrictions in Cuba, Delgado and his family walked across the Mexican-United States border to launch a new phase of his career. His first release in the U.S., 2007’s En Ultima Plana, earned Delgado global acclaim including three Grammy nominations, and the hit single “La Mujer Que Mas Te Duele” (featuring Victor Manuelle). Combining Cuban and American Latino, sweetness and drive, musical quality and pop energy in an exuberant demonstration of salsa, timba and son, Delgado and producer Sergio George delivered danceable fun.
His last release, Asi Soy, recorded in Puerto Rico and Miami, is distinguished by great quality of the vocals and of excellent musical direction. Delgado delivers his traditional salsa/timba fused with rhythms and romantic musical influences of pop along with the contemporary sounds of urban music. The singer also acts as composer and producer and is once again accompanied by producer Sergio George and Jose M. Lugo, Gilberto Santa Rosa’s musical director.
Delgado is an artist that assumes challenges and considers music as a vital and inescapable experience. He has studied his roots, identity, history, and culture. During his impressive path, El Chevere de la Salsa has gifted us with the results of his lifetime work—incredibly rich, soulful, beautiful heritage of his musical homage to the land and the people of Cuba.