Carlos Enrique Estremera Colón (2 September 1958 – 28 October 2020) was a Puerto Rican Salsa singer who was a native of Santurce, Puerto Rico. Estremera, who was an albino, was nicknamed -and billed- as "El Cano" ("The Light-Colored Haired One"), a word which is commonly used in Puerto Rico to refer to people of light complexion. He was arguably the most famous albino in the Caribbean country, and as such, raised public awareness of the condition's traits and limitations (such as limited vision, which Estremera openly acknowledged, even in the occasional song).
Cano Estremera developed his talent as a singer while residing in Residencial Las Casas, a public housing complex in the area of Santurce, not far from Trastalleres, where Daniel Santos, Andy Montañez and Ossie Ocasio were raised. As Héctor Lavoe did before him, Estremera acknowledged Puerto Rican jíbaro country singers as a strong influence. He developed a reputation for being a fast and clever improviser, in the same vein as Marvin Santiago, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Oscar D'León and other salsa singers who could improvise dozens of soneos (improvisations within a call–response format) on the spot. Later in his life Estremera would use the title "Dueño del soneo" ("Owner of the Soneo") as a marketing concept, emphasizing his prowess as an on-the-spot improviser.
In 1978, Estremera joined Bobby Valentín, among other replacements to Valentin's band -namely Santiago and former Sonora Ponceña singer Luiggi Texidor. Estremera recorded six albums before stating his own band in 1984. He was the lead singer on many of the best selling hits by Valentín's band, particularly the band's best seller ever, "La boda de ella" ("Her Wedding"), written by Roberto Angleró.
Estremera began touring all over the United States by 1989. He enjoyed wild success in Puerto Rico as well as in Brazil and Peru, among other places. His best known hit as a solo artist is "El Toro" ("The Bull"), a humorous take on infidelity (and, in one line, about his low vision).
Estremera participated in "soneo" battles with other salsa singers, most famously with Domingo Quiñones. He also faced two incidents where he was blacklisted from venues in Puerto Rico for using profanity onstage. As a result, he often polled audiences before addressing specific subjects onstage.
A 2003 CD release celebrated his twenty years in the music industry.
Health problems and death
It was announced on 25 September 2018, that Estremera was battling pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that is common among albino people. On 2 November 2018 Mr Estremera underwent a dual lung transplant operation at a Philadelphia Hospital. After almost a year of his surgery, Estremera was back in Puerto Rico, striving and undergoing physical therapy to regain strength in his legs. The dual lung transplant performed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia was an amazing success.
Cano Estremera died in San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 28 2020 at age 62.
- Puerto Rican Masters, La Historia de la Salsa (2003)
- Opera Ecuajey Vol. 1 (2002)
- Sonora Ponceña 45 Años (1999)
- Diferente (1999)
- Encuentro Histórico (1998)
- Punto y Aparte (1996)
- Cambio de Sentido (1994)
- Éxitos del Dueño del Soneo (1991)
- Dueño del Soneo, Vol.2 (1990)
- Dueño del Soneo, Vol.1 (1989)
- Salvaje '88 (1988)
- El Niño de Oro (1986)
With Bobby Valentín
- En Acción (1984)
- Brujería (1983)
- Presenta a el Cano Estremera (1982)
- Siempre en Forma (1981)
- El Gato (1980)
- La Espinita (1979)
- La Boda de Ella (1978)