Latin musician Ros dies, aged 100
The man responsible for popularising Latin American music in the UK has died at the age of 100.
Edmundo Ros passed away on Friday night at his home in Spain, showbusiness fraternity the Grand Order of Water Rats confirmed.
Secretary John Adrian said: "He died last night peacefully at his home in Spain, two months short of his 101st birthday". He said the musician, who made his career in Britain, had died of old age.
Ros was the most accomplished Latin-American musician and vocalist of his generation and the infectious beat of his world-famous rumba band was a cheering sound in wartime Britain and the post-war austerity years.
He first achieved what was to be long-lasting fame when the then Princess Elizabeth in the 1940s arrived with a party at London's Bagatelle Restaurant and made her first public dance - to the music of Ros's band.
From that moment he became a household name and remained as such for decades with the insistent beat and stomp of music redolent of South America which, according to one fan "set dance halls and night clubs alight" the world over.
He was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on December 7, 1910. His mother was a black Venezuelan and his father was of Scottish origin. The family lived in Caracas, Venezuela from 1927 to 1937.
Ros played in the Venezuelan Military Academy Band as well as being a tympanist in the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra. Later he received a music scholarship from the government, under which from 1937 to 1942 he studied harmony, composition and orchestration at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
In August 1940 he formed his own rumba band, and the following year he cut his first tracks, with Parlophone. The group played regularly at the Coconut Grove club in Regent Street. His bands were invariably based in London night-clubs or restaurants. His number The Wedding Samba, 1949, sold three million copies, and his album Rhythms of The South (1958) sold one million copies. Altogether he made over 800 recordings.
Ros, who retired to Alicante, in Spain, became an OBE in the 2000 New Year Honours List at the age of 90. He was a Freeman of the City of London.