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José Guillermo Quesada del Castillo, better known as Guillermo Portabales, was a Cuban singer-songwriter and guitarist who popularised the Guajira style of Cuban music. With a musical career that stretched from the 1930’s through to the 1960’s, his sound is revered the world. His name now recognised as being one of the greatest in Cuban music.

Guillermo Portabales’ compositions shaped the sounds of Cuban styles, inspiring audiences and musicians far and wide. Reaching as far as West Africa, his music has been covered by an array of artists, with El Carretero being one of his most popular tracks. Written by Guillermo, there have been many renditions of this song by artists such as Cheikh Lô, Africando, Etoile 2000 and Orchestra Baobab.

Needless to say, this Cuban hero has greatly influenced many Latin musicians, including the band members that came together as Buena Vista Social Club – who also covered El Carretero

Guillermo Portabales – El Carretero

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