Valle, Chicho

Chicho (Amador) Valle. Bandleader, singer, guitarist, b Cienfuegos, Cuba, 2 Jul 1922 or 1924, naturalized Canadian 1961, d Toronto 14 Oct 1984. A pioneer and popularizer of Latin-American music in Canada, Valle began singing in Cuba at nine with the dance orchestra of his brother, Hector, and led a trio 1942-6 in New Orleans nightclubs. Invited to Toronto by CBC radio to sing on 'Latin American Serenade,' he made his debut 19 May 1946 and, after completing the contracted four weeks, remained in Canada, starring 1947-67 on 'Chicho Valle y los Cubanos'. Los Cubanos grew from a trio in 1946 to 10 musicians by 1956 (including the flutist Gordon Day, the bassist Johnny Niosi, the pianist Rudy Toth, and the guitarist Stan Wilson) and later, for special occasions, to a 20-piece concert orchestra of reed, woodwind, brass, and rhythm instruments.

Valle also appeared with small groups in nightclubs or hotels in Toronto (the Cork Room 1950-63; the Inn on the Park 1966-76), Muskoka, Ont (Bigwin Inn, summers ca 1950-63), and Montreal (the Skyline Hotel 1965-6). He was music director 1970-6 for the Four Seasons hotel chain in Canada (which included the Inn on the Park) and thereafter, having retired from performance, maintained a booking agency. He made three LPs: Chicho Valle y los Cubanos (1963, CTL 038), Latin Lustre (1968, CBC LM-42/Cap SN-6289), and Este es Chicho Valle (1970, CBC LM-83). Valle used two theme songs, 'Magic in the Moonlight' and his own 'Buenas Noches Mi Amor'.