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Born in Pativilca, Peru, Acuña played in local bands from the age of ten, and moved to Lima as a teenager. At the age of eighteen he joined the band of Perez Prado, and in 1967 he moved to Puerto Rico. In 1974 Acuña moved to Las Vegas, working with artists such as Elvis Presley and Diana Ross, and the following year he joined the jazz-fusion group Weather Report, appearing on the albums Black Market and Heavy Weather. Acuña left Weather Report in 1978, and became a session musician in California, recording and playing live with (amongst many others) Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Jim Walker (musician), Chick Corea, Whitney Houston, Plácido Domingo, Phil Keaggy, Sergeant Petter, Sam Phillips, former Weather Report bandmates Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Beck, Roberta Flack, U2, and Al Jarreau. He can be found on recordings by musicians as culturally diverse as Javier Malosetti, Lee Ritenour, Peter Gabriel, Johnny Clegg, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and Flavio Sala.
In the 1980s Acuna also recorded and toured with the Christian jazz band Koinonia, which featured session musicians Abraham Laboriel, Justo Almario, Hadley Hockensmith, Harlan Rogers, and Bill Maxwell. He played on Willy DeVille's Crow Jane Alley album and 1987 together with the TCB Band of Elvis Presley in the Roy Orbison TV-Special "A Black and White Night". He played percussion on Blondie's number one "The Tide Is High".