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Antonio Machn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Antonio Machn
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Antonio Machn (Antonio Abad Lugo Machn; 11 February

1903, in Sagua la Grande, Cuba 4 August 1977, in Madrid)
was a Cuban singer and musician. His version of El
Manisero, recorded in New York, 1930, with Don Azpiaz's
orchestra, was the first million record seller for a Cuban
artist.[1][2] Although this was labelled a rumba, it was in
reality a son pregn, namely, a song based on a street-seller's

Antonio Machn

February 11, 1903

Sagua la Grande, Cuba


August 4, 1977
Madrid, Spain

Machn was the son of a black Cuban woman, Leoncia Machn, and a white Spanish father, Jos Lugo Padrn,
who emigrated to Cuba from Galicia. Machn, a dark mulatto, was one of sixteen children. His early years were
difficult: he was forced to work at the age of eight to help pay some of his father's numerous debts. One day, he
was in the street by his house singing quietly. A priest that walked by heard him and immediately encouraged
him to sing at a party. He sang Ave Mara by Schubert. From that day on Machin was determined to become a
singer. Machn's ambition was to sing opera, but this was difficult for a poor coloured Cuban at the beginning of
the 20th century. Thus, he focused on singing popular music. At the age of twenty he had become the idol of the
young women in his neighbourhood. Machn would sing them serenades under the moonlight. He worked as a
mason, also travelling across Cuba as a singer. In 1926 he moved to Havana where he met a Spaniard who
helped him get a contract to sing at a small caf in Havana.
In Havana, Machn was exposed to many kinds of music. He joined several trios, quartets and sextets. In 1924
Machn formed a duo with the trovador Miguel Zaballa. Later he joined the Tro Luna, with Enrique Pelez and
Manuel Luna. In 1926 he was brought into Don Azpiaz's orchestra, the house band at the Havana Casino.[3] In
1930 he went to New York with Don Azpiaz's band, where El manisero (The Peanut Vendor, written by
Moises Simons) was recorded. It became the first Cuban song to become a hit in the U.S., presaging the rhumba
craze of the 1930s. Machn did not return to Cuba after this tour, settling in New York for the time.
In New York, Machn recorded approximately 200 numbers, and formed the Cuarteto Machn in 1932. The
other members were the Puerto Ricans Plcido Acevedo (trumpet), Cndido Vicenty (tres) and Daniel Snchez
(second voice and guitar). Machn himself was first voice. Various other musicians substituted as needed, and
eventually this became the Sexteto Machn, with the great Cuban trumpeter Remberto Lara, for whom Mario
Bauz substituted on some recordings. Machn sang with other groups such as Jos Escarpenter y su Orquesta,
Orquesta Antillana de Rafael Hernndez, Julio Roque y su Orquesta, and Armando Valldesp y su Orquesta, in
addition to performing with Orquesta Machn and Cuarteto Machn.
In 1935 he moved to Europe, living in London and Paris before settling in Madrid in the late 1930s, where he
would remain until his death. In Paris, he formed Antonio Machn y su Orquesta, with Simons on piano, and
continued to record in the city (where Cuban music had been popular since the late twenties). After moving to

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Antonio Machn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

6/12/16, 9:47 AM

Madrid he married Mara de los ngeles Rodrguez, from Seville, in 1943. As the Cuarteto Machn, he made
over 60 recordings in Spain, often recording the works of composers Oswaldo Farrs and Consuelo Velzquez.
He also had an extensive recording career singing with various Spanish bands; the total of recordings in Europe
may be as many as four hundred,[4] giving him a lifetime total of about 600 numbers recorded. If that is
approximately right, he would be one of the most recorded Cuban singers of the 20th century, but behind Celia
He died in Madrid in 1977 and was buried in the San Fernando Cemetery in the city of Seville. He is best
known for singing El Manisero, Dos gardenias, Madrecita, and Angelitos negros.

1. Sublette says it sold a million copies of the Marks sheet music. It is not so easy to check on record sales from those days,
but a million copies of the 78rpm would seem quite reasonable. Sublette, Ned 2004. Cuba and its music: from the first
drums to the mambo. Chicago. p399
2. Another important source is Daz Ayala, Cristbal 1988. Si te quieres por el poco divertir: historia del pregn musical
latinoamericano. Cubanacan, San Juan P.R. p235 et seq.
3. Giro, Radams 2007. Diccionario enciclopdico de la msica en Cuba. La Habana. vol3, p49.
4. Nigel Gallop, who wrote the music sections of the South American Handbook for 1992 (Trade & Travel Publications),
met Machn playing piano in a Majorca hotel during the 1970s. The 400 recordings in Europe, mostly in Spain, was
Machn's estimation.

Antonio Machn ( at

Cuando sal de La Habana; 1898-1997: Cien aos de msica cubana por el mundo by Cristobal Diaz
Ayala, (Fundacin Musicalia. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1998). (Spanish)
Machin, toda una vida by Eduardo Jover. (La Esfera de los Libros. Madrid, 2002). (Spanish)
Calle Antonio Machin. El recuadro by Antonio Burgos, (El Mundo de Andaluca. 2001). (Spanish)
Retrieved from ""
Categories: 1903 births 1977 deaths Cuban musicians Cuban male singers
Cuban people of Canarian descent People from Villa Clara Province 20th-century singers
Rhumba musicians
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