José Carbajal (Uruguayan musician)

José Carbajal

José Carbajal on February 2010
Background information
Also known as El Sabalero
Born (1943-12-08)December 8, 1943
Origin Uruguay
Died October 21, 2010(2010-10-21) (aged 66)
Genres Popular music
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Guitar
Associated acts Alfredo Zitarrosa, Los Olimareños, Daniel Viglietti, Pablo Estramín, Larbanois - Carrero, Los Zucará

José María Carbajal Pruzzo (Juan Lacaze, Colonia, 8 December 1943 – Villa Argentina, Canelones, 21 October 2010), known as El Sabalero was an Uruguayan singer, composer and guitarist.



He completed his primary education at the Don Bosco Industrial School in Puerto Sauce and attended high school for a single year at the public lyceum. He dropped out after starting to work in a textile factory. But he completed his studies later, at a public nocturnal lyceum.

Artistic beginnings

El Sabalero on 1973.

In 1967 he migrated to Montevideo and started to act in folk clubs, singing his own compositions. The same year, he released his first recording, for the Orfeo label, which featured fellow guitarist Roberto Cabrera.

This record made up of four chamarritas went virtually unnoticed, and two years later he recorded his first LP album, Canto Popular.

With a foreword by poet Idea Vilariño, and instrumental support by Yamandú Palacios and Roberto Cabrera, this record was a remarkable success in Uruguay and Latin America. The record features some of his most famous songs, such as Chiquillada, La sencillita y A mi gente.


In the 1970s he became famous in the whole of Latin America with his song Chiquillada, also performed by Leonardo Favio and Jorge Cafrune.

Between 1970 and 1973 he lived in Buenos Aires, leaving in exile at the onset of the Uruguayan dictatorship due to his communist ideals. He travelled to México, France and Spain, eventually settling in the Netherlands with his Dutch wife Anke van Haastrecht.

Later years and death

El Sabalero providing a concert in 2010.

He returned to Uruguay in 1984, going back to the Netherlands in 1992, albeit keeping a band in Montevideo.

On October 21, 2010 he died in his house of Villa Argentina (Canelones Department) of a cardiac arrest.[1] His remains were incinerated. A public celebration was held in his honor at the national velodrome.[2]


Long Plays

EP and singles

Reissues and compilations


  1. Falleció José Carbajal "El Sabalero". (Spanish)
  2. "Good bye to El Sabalero" (in Spanish). EL PAIS. 2010-10-27.
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