Santiago Cerón, the Dominican Republic’s first internationally known salsa singer, died Tuesday in New York City at the age of 70 from a heart attack. Best known for his hit “De Borojol le traigo un son”, he had recently undergone heart surgery.
Cerón studied at the Bellas Artes institute in Santo Domingo and developed a successful career in his home island in the 1950s. In 1963 he migrated to New York City, where he worked in collaboration with Arsenio Rodríguez en 1965 and sang with the Pete “Conde” Rodríguez Orchestra. He also collaborated with Tony Pavón and La Protesta, with whom he recorded an album titled “Salsa y Pimienta”. In 1976, Cerón signed up with Fania and went on to record with salsa pioneers Héctor Lavoe and Adalberto Santiago.
After leaving Fania, Cerón began a long collaboration with Mary Lou Records, where he would gain fame as a solo artist, with albums like “Abriendo puertas“, “Navegando con sabor” and “Canta si va a cantar.” He also recorded with Sabroso Records and Combo Records.
Santiago Cerón was a great admirer of singers like Gregorio Barrios, Fernando Fernández, Beny Moré, Tito Rodríguez, Andy Montañez and, above all, Ismael Rivera, of whom he used to say that he was “the best there was.”