The group formed under the name "Guaguancó Matancero" in 1952, in Barrio Marina, Matanzas, Cuba. Among their first recordings was the song "Los muñequitos" (Esteban Lantri) which made reference to comic strips in Cuba. Such was the popularity of this record that the public changed the name of the group to "Los muñequitos" (Cuban term for comic strips, literally "little dolls"). Three generations of the same family are represented in the band. They have also performed with singer Carlos Embale.
Los Muñequitos de Matanzas has been instrumental in the preservation of African traditions such as the secret society of the Abakuá and the Lukumí belief system (see Santeria), while simultaneously looking to their Spanish heritage for inspiration. The music of Los Muñequitos directly reflects the syncretism that exists in Cuba as sacred songs to the orishas often coexist with more secular themes and adaptations of Spanish songs in a single record or performance. Los Muñequitos received a Grammy Award Nomination in 2001.