[Dixielandjazz] For our Central & South American List Mates

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 29 13:30:05 PST 2003

Bill Gunter wrote:

> Hi Steve,
> >PS. If you got that far, don't you just love the name: "El Banda Gigante"?
> Yes I do. I'd probably like it better if it was "La Banda Gigante."
> Cheers,
> Bill "Pero mi banda is muy pequeño" Gunter

Bill & List Mates:

If one googles for "Banda Gigante," preceded by either "El or La" one gets
quite a few hits about Senor More and this astounding group. Most in Spanish,
however the below snipped example is in English and only part of the story
about this Big Band.

Banda Gigante

The first performance of Moré's Banda Gigante was in the program Cascabeles
Candado of the station CMQ. The Banda was a large ensemble, numbering up to
forty musicians, only comparable in size with the big band of Xavier Cugat.
Although Moré could not read music, he arranged material by singing parts to
his musicians.

In the years 1954 and 1955, the Banda Gigante became immensely popular. In
1956 and 1957, it toured Venezuela, Jamaica, Haiti, Colombia, Panama, Mexico
and the United States, where the group played at the Oscar ceremonies. In
Havana, it played at the dance halls La Tropical and El Sierra. In 1960, it
started performing at Night and Day.

Moré was offered a tour of Europe -- France in particular -- but he rejected
it because of fear of flying (he had by that time been in three air

In the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution, many of Moré's colleagues, such as
singer Celia Cruz, left for the US where they earned large amounts of money
performing and recording. However, Moré preferred to remain in Cuba, among, as
he said, "his people."

When Moré died in 1963 of cirrhosis, an estimated 100,000 fans attended his

His memory is honored in Cuba in September of every year by a festival in
Cienfuegos that bears his name. Many Cuban singers refer to him in their

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