July 21, 2007
A downpour and several rounds of lightning three hours before the first pitch did nothing to deter a large contingent of Willy Chirino’s most loyal fans from heading out to Dolphin Stadium.
Whether they are Cuban exiles that arrived in Miami 40 years ago or yesterday, most of them have adopted Chirino as a uniting voice for his socially conscious songs. He says what most of them want to hear.
The singer didn’t disappoint Saturday night as he rewarded a predominately Cuban audience that gathered around the infield – after the Marlins victory over the Reds –with a heartfelt, energetic performance (and a handful of his emotionally charged anthems).
Appearing vibrant and relaxed, Chirino smoothly made his way through a medley of songs, including "Soy," "Medias Negras" and "Castigala," with the assistance of a blistering orchestra directed by Juan Carlos Valladares.
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Several minutes later he showed off his versatility by doing solos on bass, timbal and the keyboard.
Halfway through the show Chirino granted the wishes of a woman in the front row pleading with him to sing "Porque Tu Eres Mejor" (Because You’re Better). Chirino sang several verses of the song over a light piano as the woman frantically screamed into a cell phone. But obviously she wasn’t the only one who walked away feeling a sense of pride on this night.
He capped it off with a captivating rendition of “Nuestro Dia Ya Viene Llegando" (Our day is Arriving) that drew plenty of loud cheers and even a few tears. Leave it to Chirino to sing what everybody wants to hear. -- Fernando Ruano Jr.