Cortadito is a Miami-based collective which focuses on the traditional folk and acoustic music called son. A two-century old musical genre which blends Spanish and African styles, such as the tres guitar and call and response sections, son started in the eastern highlands of Cuba, notably in the city of Santiago de Cuba. By the early 20th century, it had spread as far west as Havana, where there was a booming son scene. Cortadito’s members say they belong to “The Guajiro Triangle”; named for the indigenous Guajiro people of Cuba, and for that fact that son (like the members of cortadito as well) moved from Santiago de Cuba, to Havana, to Miami, making a triangle on a map.
Born in the Dominican Republic to Cuban parents, Frontman Jose Elias is veteran of the Latin music scene in Miami. In 2011, after a twelve-year stint in the Grammy nominated Conjunto Progresso, Elias founded Cortadito alongside Julio Cesar Rodriguez Delet from Santiago de Cuba. The duo released their first EP titled Abriendo Caminos in 2012, which featured one original composition by each by Elias and composed by Delet.
After Julio Cesar Delet moved to Houston, Texas in 2013, Elias began collaborating by Humberto Upierre from Guanabacoa, Cuba. The group added Andres Polanco Rivas from Holguin, Cuba and became a trio. In 2014 , Elias reunited with Delet, now their producer, to record new tracks. Cortadito also added Eduardo Saborit on guitar from Santiago de Cuba, percussionist Santiago McCook, Wilfredo Fuentes Cespedes, and Horacio Rodriguez. Most recently, the full group lineup features Elias, McCook, Upierre, and Polancao Rivas, with new additions Alberto Pantaleon on bass, and percussionists Antonio “Pacha” Portuondo and Andres Polanco Rivas.
Cortadito have played such events as the GroundUp Music Festival in Miami, Los Dells Festival in Wisconsin, the Afro Roots Fest in Gainesville, and the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs. In 2019, Cortadito was named “Best Latin Act” by the Miami New Times in their “Best of Miami” series. Their latest album, Canciones de Julio on Afro Roots Recordings, was written and produced by the group’s co-founder Julio Caesar Rodriguez Delet.