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Enrique Chia

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Biography

Enrique Chia is a Cuban-American pianist and prolific recording artist whose unique and organic playing style is rooted in the grand pre-revolutionary musical traditions of Cuba, and additionally in the Great American Songbook and sophisticated pop of his adopted homeland. Whether he is playing boleros, sons, descargas, tangos, or pop hits, his pianistic signature is a quiet, romantic intimacy paired with a flawless technicality. Since the 1990s, when he began pursuing music full-time as a career, he has released over 40 recordings that have sold remarkably well across the Americas, the Caribbean, and Mexico, and have provided the framework for his stirring, always sold-out live performances. Chia was born in Cienfuegos, on Cuba's south coast in full view of the ocean with literally thousands of fishing boats emitting twinkling lights in the pre-dawn skies as scenery. His piano-playing mother was his initial inspiration. Though he had tinkered on the piano since the age of three, it wasn't until he was five that she perceived his potential, which warranted his studying with maestro José Manuel Vázquez of the Conservatory of Music of Havana. She also instilled in her son her belief that music was for personal pleasure, and not for making a living. With her encouragement, he left Cuba in 1961 to attend Georgia Tech in Atlanta, where he earned a Master's degree in metallurgy in 1967 and a PhD in 1975. Although he frequently played piano at parties, Chia remained focused on his professional life. After working as an adjunct professor in Georgia Tech's materials engineering department, he accepted a special faculty position at Georgia Tech Research Institute in 1986. Four years later, he began working at the American Fine Wire Corporation in Selma, Alabama, rising to the position of executive vice-president. He retired from the company in the mid-'90s after having registered no less than 46 U.S. patents for developments in metals and processing. At the behest of his father-in-law, Chia recorded and released a cassette of Cuban dancehall standards from the '40s and '50s in 1993, now known as Unforgettable Piano. Copies were made and circulated among friends to increasing popularity. They eventually found their way into several small record shops in Miami, where they were snapped up as soon as they arrived. The constant demand persuaded Chia and his wife, Diana Beguiristain, to set up the Begui label, home to all his subsequent recordings. CDs were pressed and circulated through homemade distribution chains to the Caribbean, South America, Mexico, and even Europe. The demand was so overwhelming that Chia began recording whenever he could find the time. He also formed a band. His 40-plus recordings include the 2001 Grammy-nominated (in the classical crossover category) The Music of Ernesto Lecuona. He has recorded other tribute albums, including two volumes dedicated to the music of Augustin Lara, and one each to Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Armando Manzanero, and bolero kings Los Panchos. He has also recorded musical tributes to the regions of Tuscany, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, in addition to Cuba and the U.S. Chia has filmed several concert DVDs including the 2008 Emmy Award-winning Cuba Eterna, which premiered on PBS and has been a perennial staple ever since. Between 2003 and 2009, he released multiple albums per annum. As a touring professional, Chia spent his first decade performing benefit concerts. Since 2010 he has become a massive draw across the Americas and in the Caribbean, and has released recordings with reliable frequency, including 2011's El Alma de Cuba, 2013's Memorias Musicales de Cuba, and 2018's Piano Under the Stars at Vizcaya. ~ Thom Jurek
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Noche Cubana
  3.   Santa Isabel de Las Lajas/Cienfuegos
  4.   Añorado Encuentro
  5.   Damisela encantadora, for piano
  6.   Los Aretes De La Luna / Plazos Traicioneros
  7.   The Rose
  8.   Mi cielo tropical, bolero
  9.   Te Sigo Amando (I'll Keep on Loving You)
  10.   Noche azul, for piano
  11.   El Cuatro de Tula
  12.   He Renunciado a Tí
  13.   Mentiras Criollas / La Mujer De Antonio / El Paralítico (Suelta La Muleta Y El Bastón) / Buche Y Pluma
  14.   Siboney
  15.   Nosotros
  16.   Cien Años
  17.   Bruca Manigua
  18.   Babalu
  19.   Lola (Eran las Tres de la Tarde...)/La Ola Marina/El Volumen de ...
  20.   La Puerta
  21.   Sabor A Mí
  22.   La Comparsa, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  23.   El Que Siembra Su Maiz/Échale Salsita
  24.   Sabrá Dios
  25.   Mírala Que Linda Viene (E. Grenet) / Yayabo (D.R.) / Los Carnivales de
  26.   Patricia
  27.   Que Seas Feliz
  28.   Ritmando Cha, cha, cha
  29.   All I Ask of You
  30.   The Way We Were
  31.   Como Fue/Preferí Perderte
  32.   Sombras Nada Más
  33.   La Negra Tomasa (Bilongo)
  34.   Para mi Cuba yo Traigo un Son / Parece que Va a Llover / Amalia Batista
  35.   La Pachanga
  36.   El Reloj
  37.   El manisero
  38.   What I Did for Love
  39.   Que rico mambo
  40.   Sogno
  41.   La Vida Es un Sueño
  42.   Si Me Pudieras Querer
  43.   Veinte Años/Juramento/Aquella Boca
  44.   La Gloria Eres Tu/Total
  45.   Suavecito/En Manzanillo Se Baila el Son
  46.   Inolvidable
  47.   My Way
  48.   Que Viva Changó
  49.   Se Me Olvidó Otra Vez
  50.   The Prayer
  51.   Frutas del Caney
  52.   Abrázame Así
  53.   La Bella Cubana, for violin & piano
  54.   Pare Cochero/Olga la Tamalera
  55.   Somewhere in Time
  56.   Todo y Nada
  57.   Danzonete
  58.   Through the Years
  59.   El Sucu Sucu
  60.   Songo le Dio a Borondongo/Quimbara, Quimbara
  61.   La Hiedra/La Enramada
  62.   Como Han Pasado Los Años
  63.   You'll Never Walk Alone
  64.   Mi Último Fracaso
  65.   Almendra, danzón
  66.   Nuestro Amor
  67.   You Raise Me Up
  68.   Con los Brazos Abiertos
  69.   Si Tu Supieras
  70.   Burbujas de Amor
  71.   Isora Club
  72.   Olvido/Hoy la Rumba
  73.   Si Nos Dejan
  74.   Yellow Days (Se Te Olvida)
  75.   Sabrás Que Te Quiero
  76.   Siempre Contigo
  77.   La Sitiera/Junto Al Palmar del Bajio
  78.   Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)
  79.   Mata Siguaraya/Bonito y Sabroso
  80.   Lágrimas Negras
  81.   Guantanamera
  82.   Amor Eterno
  83.   Mama Inez
  84.   Historia de Un Amor
  85.   Siempre en mi corazón, for piano
  86.   Tres Lindas Cubanas
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