Gilberto Oviedo La Portilla (Papi Oviedo) passed away this past Monday. The cause of death was pneumonia.
Papi Oviedo, as he was known internationally, was born in Havana in 1937, the son of legendary Cuban musician Isaac Oviedo, He started to play the tres professionally while still an adolescent.
Papi Oviedo worked his way up through local bands to be the primary tres player for singer Orlando Contreras. Between 1957 and 1969, he was the featured tresero for Conjunto Tipico Habanero, Conjunto Chappottín and Estrellas de Chocolate. Between 1980 and 1995, he teamed up with Elio Revé in a re-formed version of charanga outfit Orquesta Revé. In 1995, Papi left Orquesta Revé to release his own solo LP Encuentro Entre Su Soneros. For many years he toured internationally with the Buena Vista Social Club.
One of Cuba’s nest known tres players, during the last years of his life he had formed a group known as the Soneros All Star. He was a great defender of the son and other traditional forms of Cuban music as part of a musical patrimony belonging to all Cubans.