An Ecuadoran national hero whose records still fill the jukeboxes in his native Guayaquil, Julio Jaramillo recorded thousands of songs -- boleros, valses, pasillos, tangos, even rancheras -- during his (relatively brief) 20-year career. Born in Guayaquil in 1935, Jaramillo learned to play the guitar at an early age, formed a trio with friends, and recorded his first song for a political campaign by the centrist party, Concentración de Fuerzas Populares (CFP). Though he played around the country while still a teenager, Jaramillo actually spent little of his career in Ecuador, leaving for Colombia, then Venezuela, Mexico, and Uruguay. He recorded collaborations with Daniel Santos
, Olimpo Cárdenas, Alci Acosta
, and Pepe Jaramillo. (The LP with Santos
was recorded in a bar, the favorite haunt of both singers).
After more than a decade away, in 1976 Jaramillo finally returned to Ecuador for an anniversary program. He died just two years later, however, bringing thousands of Ecuadorans into the streets for a massive mourning; the day of his birth was named Día del Pasillo Ecuatoriano, a national holiday. ~ John Bush