I like to think that someone who starts writing poetry on his own at age six is destined for something big. This describes Hugo Duarte, who did indeed become a poet at a very early age.

At age fourteen, a friend loaned him an old guitar and before long, Hugo had taught himself how to play. Having grown up in South Carolina and North Carolina, he called his music “country,” but it wasn’t long before other musical influences had their way and today Hugo’s music is very eclectic.

Starting in 1976, Hugo played just about every music venue in Key West and shared the stage with Jimmy Buffett many times.  This was before the term “Parrot Head” was coined and Jimmy was a minor celebrity who loved to make good music with the musicians then living in Key West. What a great opportunity for Hugo…. And also for Jimmy!

Hugo left the southernmost tropics in 1990 and moved to Nashville. He later lived in North Carolina and spent much of his time touring on the road. I had the good fortune to hear him and Jeff Pike last year, teamed up as “The Frozen Gringos.” It was a memorable night of great original music. Hugo is a master at making the song a story, like a novel, as he describes it.

Much of his music lends itself to the blues, but he considers himself as part of the fabric that is Trop Rock. His three CDs are Another Day in Paradise,Places along the Road and Don’t Be Fooled By the Hat

We recently lost this legend in Trop Rock music to the effects of cancer and his absence has been felt by throngs of fans and musicians across the nation. His sincere personality and depth of his music will not be forgotten and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.


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