Formed in the central port of Cienfuegos in 1939 by Orestes Aragon Cantero as an eponymous charanga-style orchestra (violins, cello, flute, piano, percussion and vocals), Aragon's charanga describes delicate string music originally played for dances and parties in chic salons for the white bourgeoisie. Charange has also come to mean something more African- oriented and brassy, with a stronger pulse. Both branches use similar compelling rhythms- a traditional piano, bass and percussion cushion playing the franchise Cuban syncopated fabric. The intensity varies considerably. In Aragon's case, it is oh so soft and without the bullish and screeching trumpets Cubans are otherwise so fond of. Cha-cha mania brought Aragon to a larger public. In 1955 they began a radio program that continues today. The rise of Fidel Castro aided by the orchestra's popularity as they began to tour behind the Iron Curtain and came to Western Europe in 1965 via the annual French Communist Party rhythmic feel derived from Guinean folk music. They built on their international popularity with extended tours of Africa and Europe, often on the same European stages as big Latin names such as Oscar D'Leon and Tito Puente. Over the past 60 years as the original members pass away other family members replace them, like long-time leader Rafael Lay Apezteguia who died in 1982 and was replaced by his son, Rafael Lay Bravo also a violinist and who now leads the band today whilst two of the bands current violinists are father and son.