By Dr. Alan Carlos Hernandez on March 2, 2017
HOLLYWOOD (Herald de Paris) — Â Only a few people in show business are recognized by just one name. Charo is one of those people. A virtuoso guitarist, singer, composer, actress and comedienne, Charo is an American music and pop-culture icon.
She just told, Herald de Paris Consulting Editor, Dr. Al Carlos Hernandez,Â “Im so happy to be joining Dancing with the Stars.Â It’s one of the best shows on TV because it’s fun, family entertainment.Â After a hard day, it cheers you up and can be really good therapy. Â I’m excited to try out my Flamenco moves but I’m also nervous about learning the other dances.”
The unmistakable Charo is instantly recognizable by her trademark expression, â€śCUCHI-CUCHI,â€ť which has endeared her to millions around the world and made her name synonymous with music, fun and excitement.
Charo is short for Rosario, her given name of Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza. Born in the town of Murcia, Spain, she learned to play the guitar at an early age and studied under the world-famous master of Flamenco guitar, AndrĂ©s Segovia. Becoming a recording artist in her early teens, Charo appeared in the Spanish film classic, â€śDon Juan Tenorio,â€ť and was featured in a childrenâ€™s television show that brought her to the attention of famed Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat. Charo joined Cugatâ€™s band and traveled to Las Vegas, where the band played in all the major casinos, including Caesarâ€™s Palace, The Flamingo and The Tropicana.
Soon, Charo began performing as a solo artist at the Congo Room at the Sahara Hotel and Casino, sharing the stage with the likes of Johnny Carson, Joey Bishop, Danny Thomas, Buddy Hackett, Jim Nabors and George Burns. During this time, she recorded her hit disco albums, â€śLa Salsaâ€ť and â€śFlamenco Salsa,â€ť on Capitol Records. The single, â€śCuchi Cuchi,â€ť went platinum and became a hit in nightclubs worldwide. Her follow-up album, â€śOle-Ole,â€ť on Salsoul Records, contained the single â€śStay with Meâ€ť and became an international hit, achieving gold status. With the introduction of her international hit, â€śDance a Little Bit Closer,â€ť Charo created and established a new bilingual salsa style – â€śThe Charo Rhythmâ€ť – which has been emulated by other performers.
“If you believe in what you do, you are immortal. The day that you don’t believe it, the day you’re taking other people’s opinion, you better go to Tijuana.”
In 1985 she and her husband, Swedish businessman Kjell Rasten, visited Hawaii and fell in love with the islands and relocated her family there.Â While in Hawaii, she executive produced and starred in the variety show â€śTropical Heatâ€ť at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort in Waikiki, and for 10 years it was the most successful show in Hawaii. It was during this time that she began preparing her critically acclaimed album â€śGuitar Passion,â€ť which earned her Female Pop Album of the Year at the Billboard International Latin Music Conference and reached platinum status worldwide.
Charo returned to mainstream show production and headed for Las Vegas. In 2001 she headlined and produced â€śBravo,â€ť at The Venetian Hotel & Casino. It was named â€śBest Variety Show in Las Vegasâ€ť by Time Magazine. She recently starred in several episodes of the CWâ€™s â€śJane the Virgin.â€ťÂ She and her family also recently appeared on an episode of ABCâ€™s â€śCelebrity Wife Swap,â€ť bringing to millions the antics and hilarious situations in her crazy Beverly Hills household.Â She also appeared in such films as â€śMoon Over Parador,â€ť with Richard Dreyfuss, and â€śAirport 79: The Concord.â€ť She is also currently at work on her latest album and other projects, including an exercise video, â€śEjercicio.â€ť Charo also enjoys huge popularity among gay audiences and has appeared several times on â€śRuPaulâ€™s Drag Race.â€ťÂ She also teams up with world famous DJs and producers from around the world, who add their dance mixes to her virtuoso guitar performances and come up with dance hits, one of which earned her a World Dance Music Award Nomination.
Charo is a humanitarian and an activist for animal rights and is a member of PETA, who speaks out against animal cruelty.Â She was recently back on the Billboard charts with her latest single dance club hit, â€śEspaĂ±a CaĂ±Ă,â€ť the traditional bullfighting song, which she recorded in protest against bull fighting. She also teamed up with World of Wonder to produce the video entitled â€śEspaĂ±a CaĂ±Ă:Â Dance, Donâ€™t Bullfight,â€ť which became a viral hit.Â Charoâ€™s efforts eventually led to a ban on bull fighting in the Catalonia region of Spain.
“Around the world, I am known as a great musician. But in America, I am known as the cuchi-cuchi girl. That’s okay because cuchi-cuchi has taken me all the way to the bank.”
Charoâ€™s other accolades include being the recipient of the 2014 Ricardo MontalbĂˇn Lifetime Achievement ALMA Award, twice voted â€śBest Classical Flamenco Guitarist in the Worldâ€ť â€“ Guitar Player Magazine, vice president of Muscular Dystrophy Association, winner of the prestigious Golden Eagle Award for Outstanding Entertainment of the Year, received the Key to the City of Las Vegas by Oscar Goodman (03/14/04), and honored with the â€śCharo Week Proclamationâ€ť from the City of San Francisco (08/02/05).
Follow Charo @CharoCuchiCuchi