Lucho Bermúdez

In being one of the first composers to adapt Colombian traditional idioms for an orchestra, Lucho Bermúdez changed the musical culture of Latin America. Born in the department of Bolivar in 1912, Bermúdez studied music in Santa Marta and, by 1920, had joined a military marching band. He played in, served as musical director, and wrote songs for the Orquesta a Numero Uno de Cartagena and Orquesta del Caribe. The latter group, founded when Bermudez was twenty-two, went to Buenos Aires, Argentina to record for RCA Victor, after which he formed Orquesta de Lucho Bermúdez and made his home in Medellin. It quickly became one of the most successful dance bands in Colombia, with regular shows at Bogota’s Granada Hotel and Medellin’s Rustic Club. From 1952 until 1954, Bermúdez and his orchestra relocated to Cuba and Mexico in an effort to record and spread Colombian music. He recorded prolifically and, upon his return to Colombia in 1954, performed on the first live broadcast on Colombian television. He died in Bogota in 1994.