TONY CROATTO - Sabor Boricua
Hermes Davide Fastino Croatto Martinis, better known as Tony Croatto (March 2, 1940, some sources state his year of birth as 1939 -- April 3, 2005) was an Italian singer and composer best known for his interpretations of Puerto Rican folk music. He was also a television presenter. Born in Attimis, a comune in the province of Udine, Italy. Croatto's family moved to the border town of La Paz (Uruguay) in the Canelones department of Uruguay when he was 9 years old. While being raised as a carpenter, lumberjack and farmer, music was very much a part of his household. In 1959, at 19, he created his first pop music group with his brother Edelweiss (nicknamed "Tim") and his sister Argentina (nicknamed "Nelly") which was named "TNT". The group came about at Nelly's insistence; since their mother frowned upon the idea of Nelly (who was 15 years old at the time and adamantly wanted to become a singer) touring solo, she would only allow her to sing in public with her brothers as a backup group. The group eventually developed a very strong following, first in Argentina, then in Spain, where TNT moved as their popularity soared. The music pairing of Nelly and Tony then became a duo. In 1968, after travelling across South America and spending two years in Venezuela (his then-wife Raquel Montero was an Argentine-born novela actress, whose good looks and dramatic talent were popular in the country; their mutual children Mara and Alejandro Croatto were born there). Tony moved to what would eventually become his adoptive homeland, Puerto Rico, when "Nelly y Tony" were hired by Puerto Rican promoter Alfred D. Herger to his popular youth television shows. "Nelly y Tony" would perform together until 1974, when Nelly married a Puerto Rican surgeon. She retired from pop music and eventually moved to the United States. While performing with his sister Nelly in New York's Teatro Puerto Rico in 1973, Tony was introduced to New York bred but Puerto Rico born vocalist Roberto Tirado who suggested that he compose a hit song for his idol Lucecita Benítez who was going through hard times in her career. Tony obliged and with poet David Ortiz wrote her number one career refreshing hit, "Soy De Una Raza Pura." That would be the only song that Lucecita Benítez would claim as her opening song for many years later on.