|Real Name :
|Wilfredo Jose Chirino
|April 5, 1947
|Birth Place :
|Consolacion del Sur, Pinar del Rio, Cuba
Willy Chirino is a singer who was born in Cuba in the small town Consolación del Sur, in the cuban province of Pinar del Río. His father was the town’s State Attorney and his mother was a pharmacist who worked at home. He was the only boy in his family (he had three sisters). His town did not have any crime and was very peaceful; the worst thing that happened was someone trying to steal medicine from their house. He lived a calm life in this town for fourteen years.
After Fidel Castro seized power of the island in 1959, many Cubans were forced to flee and seek refuge in the United States. Many thought that the turmoil was temporary and hoped to return soon afterwards, but things became progressively worse and in 1960 Willy came to the United States through “Operation Peter Pan”, designed to get Cuban children out of the country due to, among other things, fears of the Castro government taking them from their parents. This US government sponsored program, in conjunction with the Catholic Welfare Bureau, eventually transported approximately 14,000 Cuban children to the United States and placed them in foster homes until their parents could leave the island. Much later, Willy would record “(Nuestro Día) Ya Viene Llegando”, a song loosely based on his experiences as a refugee which has become an anthem for Cuban exiles everywhere.
Willy began his artistic career in Miami, releasing his first album in 1974. Since then, he has recorded over 20 albums, several of which have attained platinum and gold status. In 2006, his album “Son del Alma”, won a GRAMMY for Best Salsa/Merengue Album. As founder of the Willy Chirino Foundation, his philanthropic efforts have been recognized by UNICEF and the Department of State. Willy celebrates his 35th Anniversary in music with his latest released album “Willy Chirino Live-35th Anniversary” (“Willy Chirino En Vivo-35 Aniversario”), a CD/DVD combo of his 35th Anniversary Concert. This album brought him his first nomination at the 2007 Latin_Grammy_Awards for best Salsa Album. Most recently, Willy and singer/song writer, and wife Lissette Álvarez, released their first ever duets album Amarraditos (Bound to One Another). The CD includes a potpourri of classic Spanish language love songs.
He was first married to Olga Maria Rodriguez and they had three daughters, Angie, Olga Maria and Jessica. He later married the singer Lissette Álvarez and had three more children, Nicole, Alana, and Gianfranco.
Willy’s latest album, “Pa’lante” , was released at spring 2008, after which he launched his world tour