The band Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco was born in 1993. “I have a bit of the Maravillas de Florida in the Trabuco,” he tells us and then explains that his band has flutes, violins and cellos besides trumpets and trombones because, as he says, he “fell in love with the sound of strings.” The band was an almost immediate success. The TV show called Mi Salsa, which had huge audiences those days, became his natural promotional spot, and it was there that the band was called first Trabuco. In Cuba, trabuco is a word used for strong, powerful things. The word itself comes from a medieval weapon used to topple walls: the trebuchet. Manolito explains further: “People started to make comments at rehearsals saying, ‘Did you see the trabuco Manolito had going?’ or ‘Hey, Manolito, your band is fantastic! What a trabuco!’ And so, trabuco stuck.”
In a few short years, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco have become famous. In 1999, the band won the Cubadisco Grand Prize in Cuba and received five nominations for the music awards in Spain. From 2001 to 2004, Manolito was even on the jury of the Latin Grammies in the United States.
The band has gone on many national and international tours. They played at the Royal Wedding of Prince William of Holland and at the birthday of Felipe, Prince of Asturias, Spain’s brand new King Felipe VI. In twenty years, he has recorded around one album every two years and always with resounding national and international accolades. Manolito’s tunes have gone on to make up the repertoires of important salsa bands, such as the Puerto Rican Latin Power and Andy Montañés, who has four great hits composed by Simonet. And in 2004, the album called Locos por mi Habana became the most sold Cuban album in the world.