The Grande Dame of Cuban Music, Maria Teresa Vera was not only the Greatest female trova singer of all time, she was also one of the form's Greatest singers, period. Vera became a professional musician and songwriter and a mightily popular one at that. During the early 20th century, when such a career was virtually unheard of for a woman. Her skill at singing trova a rural folk song style that predated the son dance craze, helped lay the groundwork for the explosion of Cuban Popular Music in the '30s and '40s, and her fame as a trovadora lasted well after the style was eclipsed by other popular trends. Maria Teresa Vera was born in Guanajay, in the province of Pinar Del Rio, on February 6, 1895. She began learning the guitar from Jose Diaz, and in 1911, at age 15, performed publicly in Havana at a tribute to Arquimedes Pous. Vera subsequently formed the first of several duos, a format she would favor throughout her career, with Rafael Zequeira; in addition to performing in Cuba.