Award-winning vocalist, composer, and performer Issac Delgado is one of Cuba’s most well-regarded modern salsa musicians, known for his essential role in the evolution of Cuban music. Born in 1962 in Havana to a theatrical family, Delgado spent his childhood studying music, specifically the salsa and timba genres. Today, he has earned the nickname “padrino” all across Cuba, sharing his talent and knowledge with the community by mentoring emerging artists.
As a solo artist and in groups, Delgado is known for his creative melodies and unique, fresh fusion of traditional Cuban techniques with modern sound. His work has received two Latin Grammy nominations and several EGREM awards, the Cuban equivalent of a Grammy.
Timba is often described as a category within salsa, but it is more of a technical combination of traditional Cuban music with rock, jazz, and hip-hop. The complex genre requires impressive musicianship and a thorough understanding of music theory, which Delgado has mastered over the course of his career. His first band, Proyecto, was led by the famous composer and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who became an inspiring mentor to Delgado in his early years.
Delgado then joined Pacho Alonso’s Orchestra at 18, going on to record and tour internationally with the group. He also worked as a vocalist for the Galaxia Group before forming his own band, NG La Banda.
Known for their innovative improvised beats and funky Afro-Caribbean sound, Delgado and NG La Banda established timba as one of the first forms of popular Cuban dance music in several decades. In 1992, their hit album “En la Calle” attracted large audiences in Japan, Europe, the U.S., and Latin America, with the hit track “Necesito una Amiga” becoming the number one worldbeat single of the year.
Into the late 90s, Delgado continued to break barriers, pairing electronic elements and Afro-Caribbean beats with pop and jazz. His first solo album, Dando la Hora, featured a track with the first computer-synchronized horn section. He signed with RMM in 1995, releasing El Año Que Viene, followed by Otra Idea in 1997. He released several more solo albums throughout the early 2000s, as well, including a greatest-hits album in 2000, Los Grandes Exitos de Issac Delgado.
After spending more than 10 years in the United States, Delgado returned to Cuba in 2019 to release “Lluvia Y Fuego,” his most recent album, which focuses on the themes of renewal and transformation.
Delgado continues to perform regularly and maintain his reputation as one of the most famous interpreters of Cuban salsa in the world.