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Ortiz Davila (Davilita), Pedro

Pedro Ortiz Davila, affectionately known as “Davilita”, was one of the early stars of New York City’s Puerto Rican music scene.

An important part of that scene in the late 1920’s through the next decade was Hernandez Music Store in the Spanish Barrio. It was a place that Puerto Rican and other Latin composers and musicians would visit regularly. It was the locale for Davilita’s chance meeting in 1929 with the venerable Rafael Hernandez as he struggled to compose the now famous song Lamento Borincano (Davilita singing, lyrics).

Davilita liked the unfinished song and offered to record it but Hernandez would not allow it. Soon afterwrds, the recording of the song was arranged by Canario and as fate would have it, Davilito accompanied the legendary lead singer Fausto Delgado, as first voice on that recording when Ramon Quiroz took ill.

Davilita likewise knew and worked with many of the Puerto Rican and Latin American artists in New York during that era. He joined with Pedro Flores in the famous “Sexteto Flores”. The group figured in the performance of some of the most beautiful boleros over a period of many years, in many countries. Davilita was lead vocals for the memorable songs penned by Flores. There is no doubt that this was one of the most fruitful associations in the history of Puerto Rican music.

It was during that time that Davilita recorded many, now classic songs, such as Perfume de Gardenias and El Buen Borincano.

In 1954, he formed a duo with Felipe Rodriguez. Although Davilita’s best years were behind him, Rodriguez was at his prime and the pair achieved great success during a time that the genre was at the height of its popularity.

Over the course of his prolific career, Davilita recorded more than 3,000 songs with Flores, Rodriguez, and others, such as the legendary, Grupo Victoria, but few are available on modern media.

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