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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, March 31, 2023


On his fourth trip to St. Thomas, Latin legend Tito Puente said his message to St. Thomas and its people is, "I love you -— you have given me inspiration for my music."
Puente, who is from Ponce, Puerto Rico, was the headliner for BeachJam ‘99. Puente said he believes God gave him a gift of musical talent and he will play "for as long as my health holds up."
In an interview before his afternoon performance at Magens Bay, he said he had a special connection to St. Thomas and its people.
"St. Thomas people understand Latin music," he said.
He remembered a special St. Thomian: Milo Francis, former band leader of Milo and the Kings, whom Puente recalled playing with at the Palladium in New York City in 1964.
"I loved Milo," he said. "I remember drinking rum with him."
Puente brought the house down with his famous "Oye Como Va," made popular by the band "Santana," but written by Puente.
When asked about the tune that most people think was written by Carlos Santana, Puente said, "I don't mind. I love getting those nice royalty checks."

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