José Antonio Rodríguez died November 6 in Copenhagen at age 52 years. The singer with Sierra Maestra since the band's beginning 26 years ago, he was considered one of the best soneros (or singers of the son style) in Cuba. José Antonio (or ‘Maceo’ as he was known) was born in the Holguin province of Cuba and from early childhood dedicated himself to music. He was the co-founder and the soul of Sierra Maestra. He was baptised by the Cuban people as 'El Pequeno Gran Sonero', ‘The Little Big Sonero’ a reference to his small stature. He was an excellent musician, singer, guitarist and above all an excellent person and a modest man whose talent never diverted him from being extremely straightforward.
Apart from performing on all 14 Sierra Maestra albums, he also sang on the first Ruben González album, the first Afro-Cuban All Stars album and both of Ibrahim Ferrer's solo albums.
On the new Sierra Maestra album Son: Soul Of A Nation, he interprets melodies highly respected by all Cuban singers for their level of complexity, resulting in an excellent legacy of son for future generations.
On the group's previous album Rumbero Soy he sang with Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo. He also sang with Cuban greats such as Miguelito Cuní, Tito Gómez, Carlos Embale and Joseito Fernández (author of ‘Guantanamera’).