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Oscar Cruz

Panama

Cruz

Biography

Oscar Cruz was born in the district of San Miguel in Panama City. The contact with music started since he was a child listening to great singers like Ismael Rivera, Tito Rodriguez, Cheo Feliciano, Hector Lavoe and Ismael Quintana. Oscar recalls that the revolution caused by the Fania All Stars and the boom of the orchestras from New York, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, were big influences for his generation and especially for him.

Oscar began playing in groups at age 8. At the age of 14 Oscar was part of Reinaldo Alfu Quartet for two years and then he joined the salsa orchestra of the U.S. Army which was stationed in Panama. This orchestra was called "Puerto Rico Orchestra". At 16, Oscar started playing with the Rafael Labasta Orchestra, the Orchestra of the National Police, and the Orchestra Saoco.

In 1993 Oscar was called to join the Orquesta Cimarron under the direction of Dino Nugent. The orchestra recorded with Ruben Blades the albums "La Rosa de los Vientos”, "Tiempos” and "Canciones del Subdesarrollo", all three won Grammy awards. 

In 2002 with Chispa Lawson and his brother Rey Cruz, Oscar created the K'shamba project that started as a sextet and today is a 12 piece orchestra.

With La K’Shamba Oscar has accompanied ROBERTO BLADES, OMAR ALFANNO, GILBERTO SANTA ROSA, RICHIE RAY Y BOBBY CRUZ, LUIGI TEXIDOR, ROBERTO LEDEZMA, OLGA GUILLOT, RAUL DiBlasio, LUIS FONSI, ISMAEL MIRANDA, CANO ESTREMERA, TONY VEGA, LUISITO CARRION, CHEO FELICIANO, PEDRO ARROYO, Andy Montañez, MAELO RUIZ, FRANKIE RUIZ JR, YOLANDITA RIVERA, WILLIE GONZALEZ, MICKIE TAVERAS, RAY SEPULVEDA, JHONNY RIVERA, Hildemaro, MAURICIO SILVA, MONCHO RIVERA, Adalberto SANTIAGO, TITO ALLEN, Pedro BRULL, Wichy CAMACHO, ERIC, AMILCAR BOSCAN, HECTOR TRICOCHE, PAQUITO GUZMAN, CARLOS SANTOS, SAMMY GONZALEZ and many more.

With K'Shamba, Oscar is also actively involved in charitable activities for the Panama Children’s Hospital where the Orchestra performs several shows a year.

Currently Oscar is a member and director of the Orquesta La K’shamba and teaches percussion at the DANILO PEREZ FOUNDATION.

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