b. Dominican Republic. Beginning in the mid-50s, singer, band leader, composer, arranger and producer Cuco Valoy and his guitarist brother Martín worked as the duo Los Ahijados. They released a series of albums on which they performed songs in a typical Cuban style. In the 70s Valoy organized a 12-piece band which he called both Los Virtuosos and La Tribu. He changed the name to Nueva Tribu when a handful of new members were added in the mid-80s. The personnel included Martín (bass guitar), Cuco’s sons Ramón Orlando Valoy (known as Ramón Orlando; piano, arranger, composer) and Marcos Antonio Valoy (trombone), and the magnificent vocalist Henry García (who performed with the band between the mid-70s and mid-80s). In the mid-80s Ramón departed to become a band leader in his own right. The line-up of Cuco’s band comprises lead and chorus vocals, rhythm section and a varying frontline of two or three trumpets, one or two saxophones and often one trombone.
Until the mid-80s, Valoy included a mixture of salsa and merengue (the Dominican Republic’s major dance form) material on his albums. He then broke from this policy to release a number of albums that were predominantly or entirely devoted to merengue. Many of Cuco’s finest tracks were peppered throughout the string of albums he released on the Discolor and Kubaney labels between 1975 and 1983. A number of these songs were later collected on a series of CD compilations. Between 1983 and 1987, Valoy recorded for small companies, including his own CVR label, and then returned to Kubaney in 1988. Some gems also appear on his albums from this mid-80s period, such as on Cuco Valoy Y Su Tribu, Mejor Que Nunca and Con Sabor Del Tropico. Probably his best albums to date (1991), in terms of being consistently strong, are Salsa Con Coco, Tremenda Salsa, Arrollando and Tiza!. 1989’s A Petición Popular... Salsa marked a significant return to salsa with all the arrangements written by the prolific Isidro Infante. In 1991 Cuco and Ramón were reunited on the J & N/Fuga Records release La Gran Obra Musical De Cuco Valoy.