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From an early age, the Atlantic native Gabriel Alonso Suárez Romero was inclined towards music. In his adolescence he joined groups such as Pedro Carranza, Julio Ojito's Águila Orchestra and the Panamanian Sextet. Thanks to a contest at Emisoras Unidas de Barranquilla he managed to join Pacho Galán's orchestra as a singer, and from that moment, to differentiate himself from a cyclist of the time also called Gabriel Suárez, he decided to artistically assume his mother's surname to become Gabriel Romero.

GFC 2024 - Post Artista - Gabriel Romero.webp

Ofelia Peláez and Luis Felipe Jaramillo in the Discos Fuentes book “Musical Colombia: a history… a company…” say the following words about Romero: “known not only as Cumbiambero Mayor but also as El Piragüero, he became the best singer of the cumbias, the joints, the merengues, the walks and other vernacular airs of the Colombian coasts, where cumbia originates. And with his group, the incomparable Romero walks gracefully through the lands of his beloved Colombia and other nations of the American continent.”

Born in Sabanagrande, Atlántico, on September 20, 1945, Romero left Pacho Galán's orchestra at the end of the 1960s to seek luck in Medellín as a singer with the Hermanos Martelo, a group he joined in 1967. Soon At the same time, the record label Hernán Restrepo Duque invited him to be part of Los Black Stars, a nascent and youthful group on the Sonolux label, with which he recorded more than 15 long-playing albums and more than 100 songs, many of them of his own.

Among all those pieces, there was one that, in his voice, in 1969, became a kind of second national anthem in the key of cumbia: “La piragua”, by José Barros, arranged by the recently deceased pianist Luis Carlos Montoya.

Romero himself has stated that he was always the first singer to record the classic songs of Barros's second compositional stage, long before any of his colleagues. And for the sample are his recordings of “Violencia”, “Mango Chupa”, “El Minero”, “Juana Rosa Manzano”; “Dialogue”, “The Death of Choperena” and “Los Terrones del Camino”, among other creations by this now legendary Banqueño creator.

Owner of a powerful, characteristic and deep voice that has accompanied Colombians for more than half a century, Romero has also stood out as a composer. Many of his hits such as "El machete", "I care a damn", "How good is the cumbión" and "Damn Christmas" have been popularized in their own version. Some of his other songs have been part of the most requested repertoire of artists such as Los Melódicos (“Se le pegó la manta”), Billo's Caracas Boys (“Porro sabanero”), Gran Combo de Puerto Rico (“Camino de poppies” and “My Friend”), Johnny Ventura (“The Man in Love”), the Rosario Brothers (“It Was You”), Oscar D'León (“I'm Going to Cali”) and Kinito Méndez (“The Dance of the Sua Sua” ); and at the beginning of this year he achieved a conjunction of stars with his new song, “El noticionón”, for whose recording four greats of Dominican merengue came together for the first time: Eddy Herrera, Rafa Rosario, Wilfrido Vargas and Sergio Vargas.

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