If you were to head over to Google’s homepage on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, you’d be met with a Google Doodle honoring the iconic musical pioneer Tito Puente.
Puente, also known as “El Rey de Los Timbales,” or “El Rey” was a renowned singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer, and percussionist. His most well-known song is “Oye Como Va,” which was popularized by Santana’s re-release of it. Puente’s music and influence even stretched beyond our world, helping out Oscar the Grouch with “Mambo Fever” on Sesame Street.
In the animated Google Doodle, we see moments from Puente’s life being brought to life by New York-based Puerto Rican artist, Carlos Aponte. We see Puente as a kid, banging on pots and pans. That transforms into him as the bandleader during his time serving in the Navy at the time of World War II, his time as a creator and game-changer, until finally, his face lit up in the sky.
Born in New York City, Puente was of Puerto Rican descent (just like the artist of this doodle). And in his illustrious career, he put out more than 118 albums of music that were described as Latin jazz with an ability to appreciate and infuse Afro-Cuban jazz and Mambo into his own work. He is also often credited with popularizing Mambo to the masses alongside the Tito Puente Orchestra.
When the illustrator Aponte was asked what he hoped people took away from his Doodle, he said that it has several messages. “I feel there are several messages. Love what you do, train, study, and be the best you can be. If you excel, everything else will fall into place. There are no shortcuts. Those who make it easily don’t last long. Tito was a perfect example; he was the best!”
Tito Puente’s Google Doodle follows a long line of Latine talent that has been honored throughout the years. Other Latine people to be honored with a Doodle include legendary names like Felicitas Méndez, Selena, Rodolfo Gonzales, Juana Manso, Roberto Clemente, Celia Cruz, Elvia Carrillo Puerto, Pedro Linares Lopez, and the iconic Mexican game, Loteria.