Rumba king Ros dies aged 100

22nd October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Latin-American musician and vocalist Edmundo Ros has died at his home in Spain at the age of 100, the Grand Order of Water Rats showbusiness fraternity said Saturday.

"He died last night peacefully at his home in Spain, two months short of his 101st birthday", said secretary John Adrian, adding that he had died of old age.

Ros was the most accomplished man of his generation in the field and the infectious beat of his world-famous rumba band was a cheering sound in wartime Britain and the post-war austerity years.

Edmundo Ros and his Orchestra made hundreds of recordings and sold millions of records.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, then a princess, made her first public dance to the music of Ros's band in the 1940s.

Ros was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on December 7, 1910. His mother was Venezuelan while his father was of Scottish origin.

He lived in Venezuela for 10 years and played in the Venezuelan Military Academy Band and the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra.

He later studied harmony, composition and orchestration at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

His bands were based in London clubs and restaurants. His tune "The Wedding Samba" (1949) sold three million copies, while the "Rhythms of The South" album (1958) sold one million.

In 1975, at the age of 64, Ros dismantled the band and destroyed all the arrangement sheets.

"He was a major figure, one of the biggest names", Adrian said.

"He retired in 1975, but between '39 and '75 he was a big, big name, had his own club in London and played around the world.

"His discography is massive. He was the one who really popularised Latin American music in this country."

He retired and moved to Spain's Costa Blanca, giving his last performance in 1994.

A Freeman of the City of London, he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2000.

© 2011 AFP

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