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Cuban Singer Xiomara Alfaro Dies at 88

Billboard logo Billboard 26/06/2018 Judy Cantor-Navas

a man and a woman standing in front of a crowd: Xiomara Alfaro © Courtesy Photo Xiomara Alfaro

Cuban singer Xiomara Alfaro passed away in Cape Coral, Fla. on June 24 at the age of 88 from respiratory failure, as Miami’s Nuevo Herald newspaper reports.

Alfaro​’s career took her from Havana’s Tropicana to New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Moulin Rouge in Paris. She toured with the avant-garde choreographer Katherine Dunham, with whom she appeared, along with stars Sylvana Mangano, Vittorio Gassman and Shelly Winters in the 1954 film Mambo, shot in Italy. Alfaro also starred in Olé...Cuba!, a 1957 movie that also featured Celia Cruz.

​A coloratura soprano, Alfaro was known for her signature interpretation of Ernesto Lecuona’s “Siboney” and of other Cuban classics. She is featured on 28 albums recorded for RCA Victor and other labels over the course of her career. Alfaro left Cuba in 1960.

The popular singer is survived by Panamanian pianist Rafael Benitez, to whom she was married for five decades.

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