Cheo Feliciano

Jose Luis Feliciano Vega, better known as Cheo Feliciano (born July 3, 1935 in Ponce, Puerto Rico), is a composer and singer of salsa and bolero music. Feliciano was raised and educated in the city of Ponce, which is located in the southern part of Puerto Rico. As a child, he was nicknamed "Cheo" by his family - a name which means Jose and is a term normally only used by close friends and family. However, the name stuck and became part of his everyday name (using the nickname avoids confusion with Jose Feliciano, another major Puerto Rican singer to whom he is not related). ...show more

Jose Luis Feliciano Vega, better known as Cheo Feliciano (born July 3, 1935 in Ponce, Puerto Rico), is a composer and singer of salsa and bolero music. Feliciano was raised and educated in the city of Ponce, which is located in the southern part of Puerto Rico. As a child, he was nicknamed "Cheo" by his family - a name which means Jose and is a term normally only used by close friends and family. However, the name stuck and became part of his everyday name (using the nickname avoids confusion with Jose Feliciano, another major Puerto Rican singer to whom he is not related).

At a young age he was influenced by the bolero music of the "Trio Los Panchos". When he was only eight years old he formed his first group with his friends and named it "El Combo Las Latas". They were so poor that their musical instruments were made out of cans. Cheo attended the Free School of Music in Ponce after finishing his primary education where he studied and became a percussionist.

In 1952, Feliciano moved with his family to New York City and settled down in Spanish Harlem. Here he auditioned as a percussionist in the "Ciro Rimac's Review" band - giving him his first professional musical job. Bandleader Tito Rodriguez, heard Feliciano play and offered him a job in his orchestra; this he accepted but after playing for some time with Tito, he left the band to play the conga for Luis Cruz. Despite leaving he always remained on friendly terms with Tito. ...show less