Ray Barretto was born in Brooklyn New York, his family moved from Puerto Rico in the early 20’s. Raised in Spanish Harlem, his primary music influences were from the world of Jazz (Duke Ellington, Count Basie). His earliest hit “El Watusi” was recorded in 1961, that was the first Latin song recorded from a Latino and reached the American Billboard Charts. He was a member of the Fania All Stars since their beginning in 1968, he appeared with them in the UK in 1976 and participated in their 30th anniversary reunion tour in 1994.
Throughout the years Barretto performed and recorded with the best in Latin music and not only, Tito Puente, Charlie Parker, Celia Cruz, Rolling Stones, Ruben Blades, Bee Gees, are some. Barreto died of a heart failure, his body was flown to Puerto Rico, where he was given formal honours by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.
-Voted Conga Player Of The Year in 1975, 1976, and 1980 in Latin NY Magazine Tremendo Trio! (Fania) -Won the ACE Award for best Salsa album in 1983 -Grammy for Ritmo En El Corazon (Fania) in 1990 -Inducted into the Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1999 -Jazz Masters Award, a distinction for lifetime achievement in 2006.