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Joe Arroyo

The Colombian singer Joe Arroyo began singing in his working-class community but eventually rose to become one of the best-known interpreters of Caribbean music in his nation. Born in 1955 in the northern state of Bolivar, Arroyo began singing at the age of eight, performing in neighborhood brothels. Through 1971, Arroyo sang with a series of bands. He was discovered by the bandleader, composer, and bassist Ernesto Estrada. Estrada recruited Arroyo for his group, Fruko y sus Tesos, signed to Discos Fuentes. In 1981, Arroyo embarked on a solo career and formed his own band, La Verdad. His ability to combine myriad African diasporic musical idioms made him and his group overnight sensations in Colombia. Through the 1980s, Arroyo released one album per year. In 1990, his eleventh album reached the Billboard Tropical Albums chart, which sparked interest from Sony and by 1991 Arroyo had been signed to the label. He returned to Discos Fuentes in 2005 and released  El Super Joe in 2007, which resulted in Arroyo's second, and last, Latin Grammy nomination. He died in 2011 after suffering multi-organ failure. After his death, Arroyo was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2011, which cemented him in popular memory as one of the most innovative and vibrant interpreters of Caribbean music.