Cuban Composer and Tres Guitar Player Arsenio Rodriguez

Arsenio Rodriguez. Photo: Berkleyside

Por Zahrah

HAVANA TIMES – Blinded by a horse at the age of seven, Arsenio Rodriguez (1911-1970) went on to become one of Cuba’s greatest musicians, composers and bandleaders: “El Ciego Maravilloso” (The Marvellous Blind One).

He revolutionized the traditional septeto set-up with the introduction of a tumbadora (conga drum) and a second trumpet (he would later add a third trumpet, giving birth to the Latin horn section), against which he played his tres guitar.

Arsenio also modernized the son montuno and introduced layered guajeos (typical Cuban ostinato melodies), thus creating the precursor to what would later become salsa music.



Havana Times Music playlist can be accessed on all of our pages both in English and Spanish.


  1. Pimienta
  2. Papaupa
  3. Mami Me Gusto
  4. Rumba Guajira
  5. El divorcio
  6. No me llores mas
  7. Dundunbanza
  8. Guaragui
  9. Semilla de cana brava
  10. Fiesta en el solar