Combining the musical traditions of Cuba with American rock and jazz, Cuba-born and South Florida-based vocalist and bandleader Willie Chirino helped to create the "Miami Sound" of Salsa music. The composer of more than one hundred songs, Chirino's material has been covered by a lengthy list of artists including Raphael, Ricardo Montaner, Rocio Jurado, Celia Cruz, Oscar D'Leon, Angela Carrasco, Jorge Muniz and Nydia Caro. Chirino's song, "Soy," has been recorded by more than sixty artists including The Gypsy Kings, whose interpretation sold more than four million copies. Chirino also composed and performed the theme songs for Spanish-language television soap operas, "La Zulianita" and "Pobre Diabla."
Chirino has received numerous awards throughout his career. He was named "King" of Miami's Calle Ocho Festival in 1993. Two years later, a section of NW 17th Avenue in Miami was christened "Willie Chirino Way". Chirino received a UNICEF award for his work for children via the Willie Chirino Foundation.
In May, 1989, Chirino opened a restaurant and night club, Zarabanda, in Coral Gables, Florida. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi