Grammy-winning trombonist, vocalist, composer, and arranger Alberto Barros is affectionately known as "El Titán de la Salsa." Before founding his own award-winning orchestra, Los Titanes, he arranged and played trombone for the most important Colombian salsa bands, including Fruko y Sus Tesos, Joe Arroyo, Pacho Galán, Adolfo Echeverría, and many others. He served as music director and chief arranger for Grupo Niche for 14 years. Barros has collaborated with some of the genre's biggest superstars while enjoying his own successful recording career that boasts numerous solo efforts as well as those with Los Titanes.
Barros was born in Barranquilla, Colombia in a musical household. His father, the famous Colombian composer José Benito Barros, guided his son in pursuing music from a young age. At 14 he began formal music studies at the Conservatory of the Universidad del Atlántico, and later attended university in Medellin, to study harmony and orchestration.
He founded Los Titanes in 1982 and won the Golden Congo at the Barranquilla Carnival Orchestra Festival with his first recorded hit, "La Palomita." Other early hits for the group included "Sobredosis de Amor," "Por Retenerte," and "En Trance." Barros' reputation as a musical director spread far and wide. In addition to his own band, he was recruited to helm the performing bands of international salsa and Latin jazz artists including Celia Cruz, Óscar de León, Héctor Lavoe, Andy Montañez, and Pete "El Conde" Rodríguez, among others. Los Titanes eventually became one of the leading Colombian salsa groups of the 1990s. Their run of hit albums during the decade included Amor y Salsa (1990), Tentacion (1991), Basto una Mirada (1994), Sexta Avenida (1995), Rompiendo Esquemas (1996), Salsa al Máximo Voltage (1998), and Tributo a Héctor Lavoe "La Voz" (1999). They continued in the 21st century with Salsa Magic (2001) and Salsa Super Power (2003).
Concurrently, Barros made his full-length solo album debut in 1995 with El Titan de la Salsa, a live set on Sony. In 2001, he was nominated for his first Latin Grammy for his work on Grupo Niche's Propuesta. He also issued a series of acclaimed independently released albums including Alberto Barros y Su Titanez de la Salsa (2003), Alberto Barros y Su Titanez de la Salsa en Vivo (2004), Titan de la Salsa (2006), and Mano a Mano (2008). In 2005, Barros was again nominated for and won his first Latin Grammy for his production on Marc Anthony's Valio la Pena. (In all, he has been nominated in various categories seven times and won three.) His initial in-concert CD/DVD recording, Tributo a la Salsa Colombiana (2007), was a major-label release on the Universal subsidiary Machete Music and became a blueprint for half a dozen more volumes. The album spawned a hit on the tropical airplay charts with "La Palomita."