The Charanga Legend duo


The Charanga Legend duo

Hansel y Raúl is a charismatic and transgressive Charanga duo of the line of romantic lyrics of the time. They positioned the Cuban “Charanga” rhythm on the top of global popularity, a danceable genre that they imposed on each stage they were invited to and which incorporated their unique Caribbean essence.

This particular duo with three decades of trajectory was born in Miami in 1984 after breaking from the orchestra “Charanga 76”, where they were co-founder members and their main vocalists. With this New York orchestra, born in Brooklyn, they won international recognition and their first Grammy for the album “Encore” in 1978. 

Many of the artists who recorded with them during their stay in “Charanga 76” include the renowned pianist – for many years – by Héctor Lavoe, Gilbert Colón and the first Jewish-American flutist woman, Andrea Brachfeld.

Very pleasant memories come to Hansel‘s mind during this interview, especially his first composition Si no te encuentras tú” for Charanga 76, his voice took a turn and he showed nostalgia as well as pride in remembering it: “I don’t sit to write a song with a guitar or piano. The Inspiration comes to me alone, there is nothing personal”.

Each anecdote that he tells us is remembered as facts that have led to their musical maturity. Each fun fact has been defined as part of their career, such was the case of the great master, Israel “Cachao” López, who with all his musical wisdom and mastery of his instrument, the Double Bass, taught the rhythmic base to the orchestra. “The conguero and the timbalero even the güirero he taught them to play well. He was a teacher of all, including us who learned a lot from him. R.I.P, he was a glory of music”, Hansel said to us.

But that wasn’t all he told us about the legend of Cuban music, “Cachao”, who was the Double Bassist of the “Charanga 76” orchestra for 12 years, also he told us that every time they wen a tour the “Inventor of Mambo” had them buy a plane seat to his Double Bass, he sat it next to him and even put the belt on the string instrument, as is dictated by airline regulations. The funniest thing would come later when the Double Bass received the same attention as each member of the orchestra. Amazing! The Double Bass also had its portion of food during each trip as each musician of the orchestra, and when the flight attendant brought it was when the offer was presented by each musician for that fabulous portion, although the end was always the same, the trumpeter won!

Each experience with Charanga 76 made them evolve in music and although with this orchestra they made themselves renowned professionally, as a duo they flew the fence. They have received multiple musical awards, their sympathetic lyrics, and in some cases, satirical or burlesque have won the applause, admiration, and respect of colleagues in the music industry and the general public on three continents: America, Europe, and Asia.

“The Jersey Boys” was their first youth musical group with only 5 members and although the musical instruments they played were the basics of Rock, their rhythmic concept was Cuban music.

“María Teresa y Danilo” was one of the compositions that brought many satisfactions to this duo. Nowadays it’s still preferred by the fanatical public of the genre. Many debates and speculations were made about this song, but here we tell you the true story. “María Teresa y Danilo” dates its beginnings to the 80s when soap operas like “Dallas” were in fashion. Hansel came up with the idea of diving and writing on this topic. He magically composed the lyric during the plane trip with San Francisco – Miami trajectory and the rest we already know, multiple copies sold, and hundreds of awards granted to them for the feeling that caused this popular theme.

After such overwhelming success as a duo, Hansel y Raúl decides to separate in 1988. What was the reason? Everyone wanted to make another kind of music. Each one followed a different path, for his part, Hansel recorded five solo albums including metals, more trumpets and trombones, and in three of these albums, he included neither the violin nor the flute, assuming almost completely the end of the Charanga rhythm in his music. However, a short time later he realized that this Caribbean rhythm was what identified with his audience and two years later he joined Raúl again to continue their successful career.

Hansel y Raúl has a total of 330 songs recorded and on December 31 this Charanga duo will have a performance in Los Angeles, CA and you may be lucky and they play your favorite single and if don’t you can ask for it. Classics such as Soy”, “Se me nota”, “El ayer”, “María Teresa y Danilo”, “Kukucha kucha”, “Balancea mi corazón” (Yordano), “Ojos Verdes” (Alfredo Gutiérrez), among many others, will be present at this 1: 45min show.

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We hope to see them there singing each of their hits and if you later travel to New York, don’t be surprised to see Hansel in that city because he and his family will be celebrating their daughter’s sweet sixteen, on the second day of January 2020.

Is Hansel a stage name?

Although some may consider that Hansel is a characteristic name of the children’s story “Hansel and Gretel”, this name comes from Germany and it’s of Jewish origin. Hansel Enrique is the name of this singer and songwriter “Charanguero” and he is named so to differentiate himself from Hansel Horacio (father). In Cuba, the tradition is maintained that every male child must bear the name of his grandfather; this is the reason for all his cousins are called Hansel.

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