HAVANA - With his trademark hat on his head, his guitar case at his side and a cigar in his slender fingers, a new life-sized statue of late Cuban musician Compay Segundo was unveiled in the patio of major hotel.
“We welcome Compay Segundo,” Cuban musicologist Lino Betancourt said Tuesday night at the presentation of the statue at the historic Hotel Nacional. “We thank him for his smile, we thank him for his example, we thank him for his ‘Chan Chan,’” Betancourt added, referring to one of the musician’s most popular songs.
Born Maximo Francisco Repilado Munoz in eastern Cuba, the man later nicknamed Compay Segundo was 95 when he died July 13 of kidney failure.
Compay Segundo had held numerous performances in recent years at the Hotel Nacional, a towering landmark on a hill overlooking Havana’s famous Malecon coastal highway.
Diplomats, Cuban officials, relatives and fellow musicians were among about 100 people who gathered for the presentation honoring the guitarist and singer who skyrocketed to international fame with his performance 1997 Grammy-winning record “The Buena Vista Social Club.”
The statue was created by sculptor Alberto Lescay, a longtime friend of the musician.