Manolito Simonet (by Damián MadWoman)
  • country:Cuba
  • region:Latin
  • style(s):
    • Salsa
    • Son cubano
  • label:Endirecto / Bis Music
  • type: Band, Composer/Songwriter
  • gender:male
  • instrumentation:instrumental, vocal

Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco is a sixteen-member salsa orchestra and one of Cuba's greatest and best loved timba bands. The group's innumerable international tours to all continents are a mark of its huge success over the past 25 years.

Salsa lovers highly estimate Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco for their innovative and unique sound. Based on the traditional line-up of charanga orchestras (violin, chello, flute, timbales) visionary band leader Manolito Simonet added keyboards, drums and a brass section. Combined with three singers, who all take solos, and you have a powerfull and dynamic act that makes salser@s dance all over the world!

Born in central Cuban city of Camaguey, Manuel Simonet learnt piano and trés with the amateur artists movement. In the early 1980s he became the pianist for two groups, Lágrimas Negras and Inspiración. In 1986 he was selected for the Maravillas de Florida orchestra and at the age of 18 he became their musical director, main composer and arranger, taking them to great popularity in Cuba.

Moving to Havana in 1993 he finally created Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco. “Trabuco” is a colonial pistol and in Cuba a term used as synonym for strength. Manolito’s Trabuco lives up to its name being a very powerful, explosive group.

Already in 1994, “Mi Salsa” – Cuba’s most popular TV music programme – hailed the group as the discovery of the year. Their first record "Directo al Corazón" was released by EGREM in 1995 and the band embarked on their first international tour. Both were an instant success.

Contra Todos los Pronósticos” (1996), “Marcando la Distancia” (1998), “Para Que Baile Cuba” ( 2000), “Se Rompieron los Termómetros” (2001) are the names of the following albums and also titles of now legendary salsa hits of his Trabuco orchestra. Manolito’s composition “El Águila” was awarded by the ASCAP as Best Latin Song after US-salsa star Victor Manuelle covered it. Manolito y su Trabuco also won the dance music award of the most important Cuban Music event, Cubadisco in 1999, 2000 and 2004, as well as the Nicolas Guillen poetry prize for the track “Llegó la Música Cubana”. In 2004 their album “Locos por mi Habana” got again several national awards, among the EGREM price for the year top-selling record. With “Hablando en Serio” in 2006 and “Control” in 2008 two more very popular CDs were published. “Trabuco Una Vez Más” in 2010 was the first album signed by their new label BIS Music. A successful collaboration that continued 2013 with “Sin Freno“, 2016 with “No Puedo Parar”.

Their 2010 “Beat Cubano” recording was their first Latin Jazz Album and proofed the great virtuosity and genre variety of the group. “Hecho en Cuba” released in 2015 showed this outstanding musicianship again – in an album together with Sting’s lifetime collaborator, guitar star Dominic Miller. This quality was also the basis for the “Two Beats One Soul” album in 2017, featuring a line-up of remarkable US R&B artist lead by top producer Ray Chew. This unique collaboration got extended to a cinema documentary, co-directed by Bille Woodruff and Oscar nominee Sarah Nesson, and recorded live during the Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana 2018.

Since 2018, Manolito’s recordings are co-productions between the German label Endirecto, starting with the release of the “La Vida Cambio”, followed by “Resueno El Trabuco” in 2019, a re-recording of his top classicos for the Egrem label.



Head Office/ Email:
Cuba Office/ Email:

Line up

  • David Bencomo (Flute)
  • Ernesto Sanchez (Bass)
  • Evelio Ramos (Congas)
  • Gabriel Rodríguez (Lead Vocals)
  • Hector Olmo (Drums)
  • Ivanovi ‘Pipi’ Garzón (Trombone)
  • Jelien Basó (Violin)
  • Jorge Luis Guerra (Güiro)
  • Kevin Peñalver (Trumpet)
  • Manolito Simonet (Piano, Director)
  • Orestes Calderón (Chello)
  • Osley Patrilge (Trombone)
  • Rafael Arbelaez (Trumpet)
  • Ricardo ‚Amaray‘ Macias (Lead Vocals)
  • Roger Rizo (Keyboard)
  • Rubén Rodríguez (Lead Vocals)


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