Tite Curet Alonso

Tite Curet Alonso

Composer of popular music. More than 2,000 compositions flowed from his pen, including some 1,200 that have been performed by numerous Puerto Rican and Latin American singers. He was one of the most prolific Puerto Rican composers.

Tite Curet was born February 12, 1926, in the El Hoyo Inglés sector, a cane-growing area in the municipality of Guayama. His parents were Eduardo Curet — a professor of Spanish and music with the Simón Madera orchestra — and Juana Alonso, a seamstress. From the age of two, Curet lived with his grandparents in the Barrio Obrero sector of San Juan.

As an adolescent, he studied music theory and composition under the tutelage of Jorge Rubian. He later studied for several years at the University of Puerto Rico. He went to work for the United States Postal Service in the late 1940s and worked there for more than 30 years.

In the middle of the 1960s, he moved to New York, where he wrote sports stories for the newspaper La Prensa. It was in New York that he first became known as a songwriter. In 1965, singer Joe Quijano and his band, Cachana, recorded his song “Efectivamente.” In 1968, he wrote the bolero “El gran tirano” for the Cuban singer Roberto Ledesma. When Ledesma declined, Tite Curet changed the name of the song to “La tirana” and adapted it for Guadalupe Victoria Yoli Raymond, better known as La Lupe. Curet went on to write many other songs for La Lupe, among which were “Carcajada final” and “Puro Teatro.”

His work as a composer and producer for La Fania — a record company known for promoting Latino musical genres such as salsa, boogaloo and Latin jazz — began in the late 1960s. Many of the songs recorded by artists for the record company were written by Tite Curet, such as “Anacaona,” “Pa’ que afinquen,” “Juan Albañil,” “Mi triste problema” and “Tema de tu regreso,” performed by Cheo Feliciano; “Barrunto” and “Juanito Alimaña,” recorded by Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe; “Periódico de ayer” by Héctor Lavoe; as well as “Mi música,” “La Perla” and “Las caras lindas,” which were performed by Ismael Rivera.

Other artists who recorded compositions by Tite Curet included La Sonora Ponceña, Raphy Leavitt and La Selecta, Rubén Blades, Willie Colón, Nelson Ned, Andy Montañez, Bobby Valentín, Tommy Olivencia, Roberto Roena and his Apollo Sound, Celia Cruz, Frankie Ruiz, Rafael Cortijo, Marvin Santiago, Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, Tito Rodríguez and Los Panchos Trio, among others.

Curet had a talent for writing personalized songs for a particular artist, taking into consideration the singer’s style and voice. His compositions covered a wide range of themes, such as love, deceit and patriotic pride. Among his works are “Pena de amor,” “Planté bandera,” “Que me lo den en vida,” “Pa’ Colombia,” “Tú y tu guarapo,” “Tú loco, loco, y yo, tranquilo,” “Isadora” and “Marejada feliz.” He also translated various songs into Spanish, such as “Si yo fuera rico,” the theme song for the movie and Broadway play Fiddler on the Roof, and “Usted abusó,” an adaptation of the bossa nova classic “Você abusou.”

He also worked as a writer for various publications, such as Variedades, Estrellas, El Mundo, El Reportero, El Vocero and Primera Hora. For ten years, he was also the producer and host of Tropicalísimo, a radio program about tropical music that was broadcast by WRTU 89.7, University of Puerto Rico Radio.

He has received numerous honors, among which are honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Turabo and the University of Puerto Rico; the National Salsa Day (1990) music festival was dedicated to him, the Tite Curet Alonso Cultural Library (2000) was named in his honor and in 2001 he was inducted into the Latin Music Hall of Fame. His compositions have won awards at international music festivals such as the Buga Song Festival in Colombia, the Caracas Salsa Festival and the International Festival of Río de Janeiro.

From 1995 to 2009, his music was not heard on the radio because of an intellectual property and rights of public execution lawsuit over his musical catalog. Tite Curet Alonso did not live to see the settlement of this dispute as he died on August 5, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, the city where his daughter lived.

In January of 2009, the Curet estate and the music industry reached an out-of-court settlement that placed the business Emúsica in charge of granting the rights to 695 songs by the composer.

References

“Tite Curet se despide de sus caras lindas”. Letralia. Jorge Gómez Jiménez, 18 agosto 2003. En línea. 10 septiembre 2009.

“Guerra judicial por las líricas de Catalino Curet”. Diálogo Digital. Periódico Diálogo, 23 Febrero 2009. En línea. 10 septiembre 2009.

Díaz, Mario. “A don Tite Curet Alonso, in memorian”. Diario Digital RD. Diario Digital RD, s.f. En línea. 10 septiembre 2009.

Burgos, Jorge Luis. “En manos del pueblo la música de Tite Curet”. El Vocero. Vocero de Puerto Rico, 6 Enero 2009. En línea. 10 septiembre 2009.

González Cruz, Elmer. “Espejo de pueblo la obra de Tite Curet”. Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular. Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular, 17 agosto 2007. En línea. 10 septiembre 2009.

Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 03, 2014.

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