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American and Cuban Entertainers who performed at El Circulo Cubano

Naisys Mendez

Singer/performer Naisys Mendez born in Guanajay, Cuba and moved to Tampa when she was 12 years old. Can be contacted at

Raúl Aurelio Brito Pérez

Raúl Aurelio Brito Pérez (11/12/1917 - 10/10/2005). He preformed with his Cuban orchestra at the Cuban Club in the 50’s. He was from Villaclara, Cuba. (Photo courtesy of his daughter, Celia Brito Melgarejo)

Cuban orchestra

This Cuban orchestra was founded by three Brito brothers. Above is the father of Celia Brito Melgarejo, Raúl Aurelio Brito Pérez (5th from the left). Celia’s uncle is also in this picture and his name is Rogelio Brito. (photo courtesy of Celia Brito Melgarejo)

The Brito Family

The Brito Family, along with other musicians in the 50’s and early 60’s from Cuba would come and perform at El Círculo Cubano. (Photo courtesy of Celia Brito Melgarejo, daughter of Raul Aurelio Brito Pérez)

Daniel Richard (Danny) Nardico

Daniel Richard (Danny) Nardico (July 3, 1925 – November 22, 2010) was an American professional boxer who was once ranked the fifth-best light heavyweight boxer by Ring Magazine. He was the only fighter to knock down Jake LaMotta.

Giacobbe "Jake" LaMotta

Giacobbe "Jake" LaMotta (born July 10, 1921) is an American retired professional boxer, former World Middleweight Champion, and stand-up comedian.

Jack Espinosa Sr.

Jack Espinosa Sr. (1931-present) Ybor City born author, teacher, public servant and comedian. “King of Comedy in Cuba"

Velia Martínez Febles

Velia Martínez Febles

Velia Martínez Febles

Velia Martínez Febles (1920-1993) Ybor City born actress, singer and dancer. Got her start when she was a teenager in "La Seccíon Infantile” of the Circulo Cubano of Tampa. Came to fame in the bilingual sitcom, “¿Que Pasa, U.S.A.?” as ”Abuela Adela”

Corina Carrera

Corina Carrera (1938-2011) (“Corina y Los Caballeros”) Ybor City Born Latin Singer, Radio and Television Performer in US and Throughout Latin America

Eligio Sardinas Montalvo

Eligio Sardinas Montalvo (1910-1988) Cuban Boxer, 1st Cuban World Champion in History of Boxing “Kid Chocolate”

Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz (1925-2003) Cuban Latin Singer, 23 Gold Albums, Grammy and Latin Grammy Winner

Ernesto Lecuona

Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963) Cuban Composer, Virtuoso Pianist

Jose Marti

Jose Marti (1853-1895) Cuban Poet, writer, national leader, Political activist, key leader in Cuban iWar of Independence against Spain

Benny Moré

Benny Moré (Bartolomé Maximiliano Moré Gutiérrez, 24 August 1919 – 19 February 1963), Cuban singer

Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller (Alton Glenn Miller - March 1, 1904 – missing in action December 15, 1944) American big band musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era

Thomas Francis "Tommy" Dorsey, Jr.

Thomas Francis "Tommy" Dorsey, Jr. (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956) American jazz trombonist, composer and band leader of the Big Band era, late 1930’s into the 1950’s

Carlos “Charlie/Nene” Menendez, Jr.

Carlos “Charlie/Nene” Menendez, Jr. 1930-2008. Born in Ybor City, he is from the Carrera family. Professional tenor singer “opera”, preformed at El Círculo Club de Tampa many times

Daniel Santos

Daniel Santos (February 5, 1916 - November 27, 1992) Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Daniel was a singer and composer of boleros, and an overall performer of multiple Caribbean music genres, including guaracha, plena and rumba. He preformed at El Círculo Cubano.

Gabriel “Gaby” Castillo

Gabriel “Gaby” Castillo Born in Cuba, raised in Ybor City/Tampa Cuban American Singer/Performer throughout Miami, Central Florida and Tampa.

Gabriel “Gaby” Castillo

Gabriel “Gaby” Castillo performed with his group, “The Rock and Roll Circus” in El Circulo Cubano back in the 60’s. Gaby in the middle, and sitting is Rick Pupello.

Thomas “Tommy” Eugene Gómez

Thomas “Tommy” Eugene Gómez (December 25, 1919 - April 27, 2006) Known as “Tampa Tommy,” Tommy Gomez was born in Port Tampa and had a career record of 76 and 9 with 66 KO’s and 2 draws as a heavyweight under the management of Joe Leto. Tommy, who was awarded a Purple Heart for his service in World War II, passed away in 2006. For many years he had his own line of cigars, "Tommy Gomez Champs", manufactured in Ybor City.

“Tony” Leto (1907-1964)

“Tony” Leto (September 09, 1907 - May 16, 1964) Featherweight Boxer Tony Leto. Leto went 71 and 23 with 7 draws and 22 KO’s between 1925 and 1934.


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