Singer Julio Cesar Bovea died in Bogota late Friday night. He was considered one of the most legendary vallenato singers of Colombia and is the second ‘maestro’ of the iconic Colombian music genre to pass away this year.
Bovea died just before midnight after being admitted to hospital earlier that day.
The artist was one of the most famous composers and singers of vallenato, one of Colombia’s most famous music styles.
Bovea, born in Santa Marta in 1934, had been an active musician for more than 60 years.
Success came when he left his job as barber to play guitar for Guillermo Buitrago, a legendary vallenato singer who died at 29 in 1949. Buitrago’s band played covers of the songs of Rafael Escalona, the vallenato composer who died earlier this year.
Bovea left Buitrago’s band to form ‘Bovea y sus Vallenatos‘, a group that had great impact and helped to popularize vallenato music in Colombia.
After singer Alberto Fernandez left the band, Bovea took up singing himself. His records on the renowned Discos Fuentes label were hits and brought him fame from as far away as Argentina, where the singer lived for a while.
Bovea spent the last years of his life in Bogota where a cardiac arrest and failing kidneys ended his life just days after his 75th birthday.