Giovanni Hidalgo

Giovanni Hidalgo
Background information
Also known as "Mañenguito" Chucho
Born November 22, 1963 (age 52)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Genres Latin jazz, world music
Occupation(s) percussionist and educator
Instruments Drums, bongos, congas and timbales

Giovanni Hidalgo a.k.a. "Mañenguito" (born November 22, 1963) is an educator, percussionist and recording artist in the genre of Latin jazz.

Early years

Hidalgo was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he received his primary education. His grandfather had also been a musician, as well as his father José Manuel Hidalgo "Mañengue", who was a renowned conga player. Therefore, Hidalgo was raised in a household surrounded by drums, bongos, congas and timbales.[1] He received a conga for his eighth birthday which had been handmade by his father. As a young child he practiced and developed his speed and playing skills on the conga and on the other instruments in his house. Hidalgo would drum a tune with sticks and then play the same tune with his hands.[2]

Musical career

External audio
You may listen to Giovanni Hidalgo in Conga Virtuoso here.

Hidalgo auditioned and was hired by the Batacumbele Band in 1980. In 1981, he traveled with the band to Cuba where he met a musician by the name of José Luis Quintana "Changuito". Together they were able to create a unique style of rhythm and ushered in a new musical era in Latin music.[1][2]

In 1985, Hidalgo was performing with Eddie Palmieri at The Village Gate in New York City, when the legendary jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie walked in and listened to Hidalgo play. He was so impressed with Hidalgo that he told him that someday in the future they must get together and play. In 1988 Hidalgo joined Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra.[1]

In 1992, he was hired as an adjunct professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. There he taught many types of rhythms; Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, reggae, African and jazz. He held this academic position until 1996.


In 1991 Hidalgo received a Grammy Award in the category of world music (the first year the category existed) as part of Mickey Hart's percussion ensemble Planet Drum for the album of the same name. He also performed on the 1993 Arturo Sandoval album Danzon (Dance On) which won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance, and received Grammy nominations in the same category for the albums Hands of Rhythm in 1997 and The Body Acoustic in 2005. In 2009 he collaborated with Hart again as part of the Global Drum Project, whose title album won the world music Grammy that year.

Recordings with other musicians

Among the musicians with which Hidalgo has either performed or recorded with are:

On October 31, 2010, Giovanni performed with the legendary jam rock band Phish during their special Halloween 'musical costume' concert. The band learned Little Feat's "Waiting for Columbus" and performed it in its entirety along with Giovanni Hidalgo on percussion and Aaron Johnson, Stuart Bogie, Ian Hendrickson, Michael Leonhart, and Eric Biondo on brass during set two of three for the evening. He also returned along with the horn section to perform "Julius" the encore for the evening.[3]


With other artists


See also


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