La Negra Tomasa — Español-English

“La Negra Tomasa,” or “Bilongo,” is a song written in 1937 by the Cuban composer Guillermo Rodríguez Fiffe (1907-1995).

Guillermo Rodríguez Fiffe (1907-1995)
http://www.ecured.cu/Guillermo_Rodr%C3%ADguez_Fiffe

This song is an enduring classic because it is such an infectious dance tune. My current favorite version of “La Negra Tomasa” is by Los Guaracheros de Oriente, but there are many many recorded versions available on CDs, or electronically (for sale, or gratis on internet sites like YouTube).

To learn more about the Cuban music of which “La Negra Tomasa” is one example, see the lovely documentary “Música Cubana en Santiago de Cuba.”

Musica Cubana en Santiago de Cuba (Documental “Cuba es Musica”)
[1:00:09]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeHHn26dW30

Este documental es precioso. Se ve gente que son totalmente musical, que son parte de una población a quien la música es tan necesario para vivir como la sangre y el aire. Y mira que nadie se puede aguantar sin mover cuando oyen la música.

This documentary is precious. You see people who are totally musical, who are part of a population for whom music is as necessary for life as blood and air. And see how nobody can keep from moving when they hear the music. The documentary is photographed with beautiful clarity, and is entirely in Spanish, but don’t worry if Spanish is not one of your languages because most of the documentary’s hour is taken up with enchanting musical performances. A delight for the ear, the eye and the soul.

The Spanish lyrics of “La Negra Tomasa” follow, along with some notes on a few of the Afro-Cuban expressions, and then my English translation of this song. After that, I list a few recorded performances posted on the Internet. Enjoy!

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Cuba Antes 9 - Version 4Med

LA NEGRA TOMASA (BILONGO, 1937)
Guillermo Rodríguez Fiffe (1907-1995)
[Letras a la manera de Los Guaracheros de Oriente, mas o menos]

Estoy tan enamorao’ de la negra Tomasa
Que cuando se va de casa
Que triste me pongo
Estoy tan enamorao’ de la negra Tomasa
Que cuando se va de casa
que triste me pongo.

¡Ay! – ¡Ay! – ¡Ay!

Esa negra linda
Que me hecho bilongo.
Esa negra linda
Que me hecho bilongo.

Na’ ma’ que me gusta la comida
Que me cocina.
Na’ ma’ que me gusta la cafe
Que ella me cuela.
Na’ ma’ que me gusta la comida
Que me cocina.
Na’ ma’ que me gusta la cafe
Que ella me cuela.

¡Ay! – ¡Ay! – ¡Ay!

Esa negra linda
Que me hecho bilongo.
Esa negra linda
Que me hecho bilongo.

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

Asi canta el gallo en la finca

—> cantantes improvisan
—> y música instrumental

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>
—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!

—>

Kikiri-BU ¡mandinga!
Kikiri-BU ¡man-din-ga!

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enamorao’ = enamorado (enamored, in love)

bilongo = under a spell, bewitched

mandinga = A catchall name in Cuba for a variety of Senegambian peoples who were captured and forced into slavery, arriving in Cuba around 1830. — Ned Sublette

Kikiri-BU mandinga = The mystery [of the meaning of “Kikiribu mandinga”] is easily solved if you refer to the next line in the song. “Asi canta el gallo en la finca” Which means, “Thus sang the rooster in the farm” Kikiriki or Quiquiriqui is the usual Spanish onomatopoeic spelling of a rooster’s crow. “BU” is a syllable shouted to scare someone. Therefore “Kikiri Bu” is a rooster crow meaning to scare someone who might be trying to take him, in this case a “mandinga.” “Mandinga” was a term used in Cuba to refer to slaves brought over from the Senegambia region of Africa. If you listen carefully to the song, you will hear that the “BU” is emphasized when sung and there is a slight pause from the “kikiri” to the “bu” separating the words. I hope this clears the mystery. — Magicflute (at the following link)

“Kikiribu mandinga”
http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/kikiribu-mandinga.487323/

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Abajo están las improvisaciones de Compay Segundo en su version de “La Negra Tomasa,” una de sus grabaciones de 2000 bajo el nombre “Las Flores de la Vida.”

Below are Compay Segundo’s improvisations in his version of “La Negra Tomasa,” one of his recordings of 2000 under the name “Flowers of Life,” (without English translation; that’s your homework).

Quiquiribu mandinga
Quiquiribu mandinga.

Alla en La Habana tasajo
Y alla en Oriente mabinga.

Quiquiribu mandinga
Quiquiribu mandinga.

Yo conoci a un cocinero
Que cocinaba mabinga.

Quiquiribu mandinga
Quiquiribu mandinga.

Y machacaba los ajos
Con la cabeza el mortero.

Quiquiribu mandinga
Quiquiribu mandinga.

Como bailaba Tomasa
En el barrio de la timba.

Quiquiribu mandinga
Quiquiribu mandinga.

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BEWITCHING TOMASA
[an English translation of “La Negra Tomasa”]

I’m in love so completely
with that black witch Tomasa,
when she’s out cause she hasta’
I get so sad and lonely.
I’m in love so completely
with that black witch Tomasa,
when she’s out cause she hasta’
I get so sad and lonely.

Aye! — Yay! — Yay!

Oh me, that black beauty,
she has made me spellbound.
Oh me, that black beauty,
she has made me spellbound.

The only food I want to eat is
what she’s been cooking.
The only coffee I want to drink is
what she’s been making.
The only food I want to eat is
what she’s been cooking.
The only coffee I want to drink is
what she’s been making.

Aye! — Yay! — Yay!

Oh me, that black beauty,
she has made me spellbound.
Oh me, that black beauty,
she has made me spellbound.

Ki-ki-ri-BOO, Mandinga!
Ki-ki-ri-BOO, Mandinga!

The cock spooks the witch to stay a free winger.

Ki-ki-ri-BOO, Mandinga!
Ki-ki-ri-BOO, Mandinga!

—> ETC.

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Los Guaracheros de Oriente — “La Negra Tomasa”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_8mX1Ar5lw
[Posted by Ramoberg, with a good slide-show video, and detailed notes about Ñico Saquito, the founder and leader of Los Guaracheros de Oriente.]

This same recording as above is posted multiply by ORFEON, the record label:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKlktMNWxk4
and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOMHR3AQkuU
[all three above have good sound]

Biografia De Los Guaracheros De Oriente
sábado, 27 de julio de 2013
http://sandritocubanito.blogspot.com/2013/07/biografia-de-los-guaracheros-de-oriente.html

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Sexteto La Playa — Bilongo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_-mhbm28yY
[A lively recording from back in the day (~1950s).]

Compay Segundo — La Negra Tomasa


[A modern (2000) music video with that wily old pro (of Buena Vista Social Club fame) Compay Segundo.]

Ruben Gonzalez (piano) — La Negra Tomasa (Bilongo) — instrumental (mostly)

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Trio Matamoros, Old and New

Cubana BailaDon’t we all like to hear the music of those early years when we were young, beautiful and fancy free? I was born in the upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, and lived just uphill from Riverside Drive, on 136th Street. As a child, I used to love putting my parents’ 78 rpm and 45 rpm records of Cuban music onto the Victrola, and listen to the music my mother and father had gone dancing to before live bands in the 1940s. One of my first and everlasting memories is of “El Agua Del Pon Pon.”

El Agua Del Pon Pon
(Tito Gomez y La Orquesta Riverside)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGyv17hkukw

Another one of my favorites from those times is “La Bola y La Pelota”

Mi mamá — no quiere — que yo vaya — a la pelota.
Mi mamá — no quiere — que yo vaya — a la pelota.

La Bola y La Pelota
(Conjunto Casino)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZWlk72UKng

The tightest bands I have ever heard, with the punchiest horn parts and most infectious driving rhythms, are Cuban and Latin dance bands.

Cuba En Las '50sAnother song I first heard in my earliest days and which continues to fascinate me still is “Lágrimas Negras,” composed by Miguel Matamoros (1894-1971) in 1929 and recorded by the Trio Matamoros in 1931. I wrote about this song in a earlier post.

Lágrimas Negras — Español-English
14 November 2013
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2013/11/14/lagrimas-negras-black-tears/

A nice web page (in Spanish) about Miguel Matamoros is hosted by EcuRed.

Miguel Matamoros
http://www.ecured.cu/index.php/Miguel_Matamoros

Miguel Matamoros had a high, penetrating tenor voice, and wrote many songs with elegantly clever phrasing of knowing, witty and warmly human-hearted lyrics. He knew how to turn a phrase, pun and joke, wail broken-hearted with tongue-in-cheek, and sling the slang. He was a voice of the Cuban soul.

Matamoros was intuitively musical, and taught himself guitar, as well as harmonica and “corneta china” (Chinese cornet, a short oboe type woodwind that looks like a recorder with a trumpet flare at its end). He was composing music by the age of 16 (in 1910) and performing publicly by the age of 18 (in 1912). In 1925 he formed the Trio Matamoros, with Rafael Cueto (1900-1991) playing the second guitar, and Siro Rodríguez (1899-1981) as the second voice (baritone) who also played the maracas. Both Rafael Cueto and Siro Rodríguez also composed, and Cueto added his voice to the choruses of songs, or the occasional third vocal part, as needed. Matamoros, Cueto and Rodríguez formed a very tight musical unit that remained together and active for 35 years.

During their long career the Trio Matamoros travelled beyond Cuba to perform in Europe and Latin America, and for some tours would add musicians to perform as a sextet or septet (Conjunto Matamoros). One lovely example of the Trio Matamoros playing, with three extra hands (Los Guaracheros de Oriente), is this version [the link below the lyrics] of “Mi Veneración,” a song written by Miguel Matamoros in 1929 and gifted to Noemí Matos (the wife of Rafael Cueto) as the designated author who would collect the royalties. La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre is the patron saint of Cuba.

For more about this song see the blog site (in Spanish) by Brismaida Morfitis.
http://originalescancionesyletras.blogspot.com/2013/07/mi-veneracion-virgen-de-la-caridadtrio.html

“Miguel 11/04/2014” presents the most accurate lyrics I found, at
http://lateclaconcafe.blogia.com/2011/051605-la-cancion-mas-popular-a-la-virgen-de-los-cubanos.php

“Cachita” is to “Caridad” as “Chuck” is to “Charles”
[from: Ushuaia “castellano rioplatense,” in Buenos Aires]
http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/cachita-nickname.2012650/

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MI VENERACIÓN.
Autor e Intérprete: Miguel Matamoros.

Cuando tú vayas a Oriente
Mi legendaria región
Tierra que tiembla caliente
Cuna del sabroso son
Llégate al Puerto Boniato
Mira la loma San Juan
Vete al Caney por un rato
Y prueba las frutas que allí dulce están.

Cuando tú vayas a Oriente
Mi legendaria región
Tierra que tiembla caliente
Cuna del sabroso son
Llégate al Puerto Boniato
Mira la loma San Juan
Vete al Caney por un rato
Y prueba las frutas que allí dulce están.

Y si vas al Cobre (¡Ay!)
Quiero que me traigas
Una Virgencita de la Caridad.

Y si vas allá, donde está Cachita
traeme una estampita para mi mamá

Y si vas al Cobre
Quiero que me traigas
Una Virgencita de la Caridad.

Y si vas al Cobre
Traeme una estampita
Que sea bendita de la Caridad.

Y si vas al Cobre
Quiero que me traigas
Una Virgencita de la Caridad.

(¡Ay!) Y si vas a Oriente, traeme de allá
algo reluciente de la Caridad.

Y si vas al Cobre
Quiero que me traigas
Una Virgencita de la Caridad.

Y si vas al Cobre
Busca a mi negrita
Que es mi Virgencita de la Caridad.

Y si vas al Cobre
Quiero que me traigas
Una Virgencita de la Caridad.

Cuando pienso en mi morena
Que se llama Caridad
Rezo como alma buena
Por toda la humanidad
Virgencita tú eres buena
Hazme un milagro de amor
Mira que muero de pena
si tú no mitigas a mi cruel dolor.

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Mi Veneración
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0v-nl8DSpM

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Here is a description of the Trio Matamoros, lifted from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trio_Matamoros):

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The Trio Matamoros was one of the most popular Cuban trova [Cuban troubadour] groups. It was formed in 1925 by Miguel Matamoros, Rafael Cueto and Siro Rodriguez. All three were singers and composers. The Trio Matamoros played boleros and son. They toured all Latin America and Europe and recorded in New York. In 1940 Guillermo Portabales performed with the trio. Matamoros expanded the trio into a conjunto for a trip to Mexico and hired the young Benny Moré as singer from 1945 to 1947. They recorded many 78rpm records and LPs; some of their output is available on CDs. The group were renowned for the harmony of their voices, and the quality of the lyrics. Miguel Matamoros was one of the greatest and most prolific composers of Cuban son. His first hit was “El que siembra su maíz”, followed by classics such as “Lágrimas negras” and “Mamá, son de la loma” (a.k.a. “Son de la loma”).
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As a noun in Spanish the word “son” refers to a harmonic rhythmic form of Cuban music. As a verb in Spanish “son” is a plural form of “am,” thus used in the sense of “they are” or “they are from.” The tale (an admixture of myth and fact) behind Matamoros’ song “Mamá, son de la loma” is that a young girl was so taken with the performances of an early Matamoros-led trio in a hotel lobby that she asked aloud where the musicians were from, and immediately reported to her mother Matamoros’ answer: “mamá, son de la loma,” “mommy, they are from the hill.” The reference to “la loma,” “the hill” (a variant being “el monte,” “the mountain”) is simply an idiomatic phrase for the rural mountainous back country, basically “they’re hillbillies.” The members of Trio Matamoros were from Santiago de Cuba, in Oriente province at the far eastern end of the island. An idiomatic reference to La Habana, that vibrant urban center on a coastal plain in northwestern Cuba, is “el llano,” “the plain.” So “Mamá, son de la loma” can be taken as both a statement of the band’s geographic and cultural origins, and as an exclamation of delight on coming upon the sound of their music and recognizing its form “mommy!, son (music) from the hill!”

Mamá, son de la loma
Miguel Matamoros, 1922

Mamá, yo quiero saber
de donde son los cantante’,
que lo encuentro muy galante
y los quiero conocer,
con su trova fascinante
que me la quiero aprender.

Mamá, yo quiero saber
de donde son los cantante’,
que lo encuentro muy galante
y los quiero conocer,
con su trova fascinante
que me la quiero aprender.

¿De dónde serán? (Aye mamá)
¿serán de La Habana?
¿serán de Santiago? tierra soberana.
Son de la loma, y cantan en ‘llano.
Ya verá’, tú verá’.

Mamá, ello’ son de la loma,
mamá, ello’ canta en ‘llano.
Mamá, ello’ son de la loma,
mira mamá, ello’ canta en ‘llano.
Mamá, ello’ son de la loma.

¿De donde serán? (Aye mamá)
¿serán de La Habana?
¿serán de Santiago? tierra soberana.
Son de la loma, y cantan en ‘llano.
Ya verá’, tú verá’.

¿De donde serán? (Aye mamá)
¿serán de La Habana?
¿serán de Santiago? tierra soberana.
Son de la loma, y cantan en ‘llano.
Ya verá’, tu verá’.

The instrumentation in Trio Matamoros (and Conjunto Matamoros) was simple: guitars, maracas, hand-drumming on guitar bodies (as in flamenco); and maybe some acoustic bass, bongo drum and clave accompaniment. Trio Matamoros also recorded as part of an Orquesta Matamoros in the 1930s, and this could include wind instruments and trumpet. BennyG commented on Trio Matamoros sound production as follows.

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In the early days, son was roughly divided into two categories, the big band conjunto format performed by groups like Sexteto Habanero, and the more guitar-based trio format of which Trio Matamoros were the greatest exponents. The typical Matamoros arrangement has two guitars, maracas, and of course the three voices. ‘Trio’ really refers to these three voices — many ‘Trio’ Matamoros recordings also have acoustic bass, bongo, and clave — some even have a trumpet. Matamoros’ style of singing ranges from a more trova or bolero-son style on songs like “Mariposita de Primavera” and “Juramento,” to the upbeat call and response of “Hojas para baño” or “Alegre Conga.” Their most pervasive style is the bolero-son, which usually opens with a melodic, slow tempo, romantic bolero style with rich vocal harmonies, but after two verses transitions into an up-tempo call and response between the lead voice and the chorus. The guitar and voice on this [and every Trio Matamoros] album are raw and soulful. Trio Matamoros [recorded] a natural flowing sound that is intensely musical. In comparison, music being made today sounds much more choreographed [‘auto-tuned’].

BennyG, 4 March 2005
http://www.amazon.com/China-En-Rumba-Trio-Matamoros/dp/B000027WME
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A more detailed description of how Trio Matamoros produced their sound follows (in Spanish then English).

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Trío Matamoros.
http://www.vintagemusic.es/biografias/330/trio-matamoros/
mostly copied from:
http://www.ecured.cu/index.php/Tr%C3%ADo_Matamoros

Fundado en Santiago de Cuba, Oriente, el 8 de mayo de 1925. Este trío legó, en infinidad de grabaciones, un singular panorama de sones, boleros y otros géneros de la música popular, que se difundieron casi a escala planetaria. Agrupación de este tipo que alcanzó tal nivel de popularidad e influencia en los más diversos estratos sociales. Hicieron que su música fuera y siga siendo una de las más genuinamente populares síntesis de cubanía

Miguel, director, voz y guitarra primas, empleaba de un modo libre la sustancia rítmica y melódica de la lírica popular. No hacía armonías rebuscadas; su música era eminentemente tonal; en sus acompañamientos no empleaba disonancias ni otras asperezas armónicas, y algunos críticos de la época lo tildaron de tradicionalista y anticuado. No obstante, Miguel, compositor de ideas frescas, ritmo elocuente, buen gusto y acento profundamente cubanos, hizo que su música —interpretada magistralmente por su trío— fuera genuinamente popular.

Cueto, guitarrista acompañante, no hacía, como Miguel, el típico rayado característico de la mayoría de los trovadores orientales, sino un movimiento melódico-armónico que realizaba en los bajos de su guitarra, que es lo que comúnmente se conoce como «tumbao», al que Cueto le añadía algunos elementos de percusión en la tapa de su instrumento, que se yuxtaponía al rayado hecho por Miguel en la guitarra prima. De este modo evitaba la cacofonía, tanto rítmica como armónica, muy común en otros intérpretes de la época. Esta fue la clave de Cueto como guitarrista acompañante de Miguel y parte del éxito del Trío Matamoros.

En este ejemplo, las figuras tipo romboide significan los golpes que deben producirse en las inmediaciones de la tapa de la guitarra. Este efecto se logra utilizando los dedos de la mano derecha completamente abierta. La línea ondulada representa el glisado, pero realizado en forma inversa a la normal o natural. En este caso debe deslizarse el dedo índice de la mano derecha desde la primera cuerda hasta la tercera o la cuarta. El pequeño ángulo colocado sobre la línea ondulada, indica que el glisado se realizará desde los sonidos agudos hacia los graves. Obsérvese que la línea ondulada que aparece en el acorde de este ejemplo, no tiene ningún señalamiento, por tratarse del glisado natural que siempre se ha producido en la técnica guitarrística del grave hacia el agudo.

Siro, voz segunda y maracas, poseía un intuitivo concepto armónico que le permitía confeccionar una armonía correcta que yuxtaponía al canto protagonista que hacía Miguel. Asimismo, eran sobresalientes algunas figuraciones melódicas que «inventaba» para «florear» la armonía de la segunda voz; todos estos elementos los empleaba con gran fluidez, gracia rítmica y sandunga, y los enriquecía con el accionar rítmico de sus maracas.

El trío viajó por vez primera a Estados Unidos en 1928, donde realizó sus primeras grabaciones; en 1929 va a México; en 1930 a Santo Domingo, República Dominicana, y en 1933 realiza una gira por Venezuela, Panamá, Curazao, Puerto Rico y Colombia, y en 1960 se presenta por última vez en Estados Unidos. A su regreso a Cuba, después de 35 años de intensa vida artística, el Trío Matamoros se desintegra.

El impar éxito alcanzado por el trío, es debido al carácter de gran innovador que todos le conceden a Matamoros, cosa que logró al crear el bolero-son, es decir que al tema lírico que viene expresado en todo bolero el le añadió el montuno (parte final del son), haciendo del bolero un género bailable. Conciencia, Mata y Beby, y Santiaguera son tres buenos ejemplos.

Sobre estas bases se afianzó la preferencia de que gozaron los Matamoros. El resto fue ”coser y cantar”, sobre todo esto último, ya que lo hicieron por más de treinta y cinco años, durante los que tuvieron numerosas presentaciones en el extranjero.

Actuaron por última vez para el pueblo cubano en el Teatro Chaplin a principios de marzo de 1960. En ese mismo mes viajaron a los Estados Unidos, regresando poco tiempo después, acogiéndose de inmediato al retiro.

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[Translating, editing and paraphrasing the above.]

Founded in Santiago de Cuba, Oriente province, on 8 May 1925 [Miguel Matamoros’ 31st birthday], this trio bequeathed in countless recordings a unique panorama of ‘sons,’ boleros and other genres of Cuban popular music, which spread in popularity on an almost planetary scale. Musical groups of this kind reached a high level of recognition and musical influence in all social strata during the 1930s. The type of music Trio Matamoros produced was popular then, and it remains so today as one of the most genuinely appreciated syntheses of the Cuban idiom to a world audience.

Miguel Matamoros, the trio’s director, lead singer and lead guitarist, used his instrument in a free-flowing manner to sustain the rhythm and melody of popular yet sophisticated lyrics. He did not make gimmicky harmonies nor songs, his was essentially tonal music. Trio Matamoros guitar accompaniments did not have harmonic dissonances nor other harmonic asperities, and some critics of the time called Miguel Matamoros a traditionalist and outdated. However, Miguel was a composer of fresh ideas, eloquent rhythm, good taste, and all with deeply Cuban accents, who made music that was masterfully played by his Trio, and that became hugely popular.

Rafael Cueto, the accompanying guitarist, did not use the typical strum that was characteristic of most of the troubadours of eastern Cuba, as Miguel did, but instead performed a melodic-harmonic movement in the bass strings of his guitar, which is what is commonly known as “tumbao,” and to which he added some elements of percussion by finger and hand tapping on the top of his instrument, which composite sound was juxtaposed to Miguel’s strumming and finger-picking. Thus, Cueto avoided creating a cacophony, both rhythmically and harmonically, which was very common in other performing groups of the time. This is how Cueto was able to add the effect of a clave [percussion sticks] into his guitar-bass accompaniment to Miguel, and part of what made the sound of Trio Matamoros so successful. [The three musicians produced a total of four instrumental parts — treble and bass guitar, clave, maracas — and three voice parts — lead tenor, harmony baritone, and the third voice for chorus parts.]

In this example [of a sheet of Trio Matamoros music, which is not shown], the rhomboid type figures mean the taps that must be produced in the vicinity of the top of the guitar. This effect is achieved by using the fingers of the right hand wide open. This wavy line (with an additional angular marking) in the sheet music represents the glissando, but made inversely to the normal or natural one. In this case the guitarist should slide the index finger of the right hand from the first string [highest] to the third or fourth [bass]. The small angle placed on the wavy line indicates that the glissando should be stroked from treble [acute sound] to bass [deep sound]. Note that the wavy line in this other example does not have any other mark because it is for the natural glissando that occurs in guitar technique, from the bass [deep sound] to the treble [acute sound].

Siro Rodríguez, who was the second voice [baritone] and played maracas, had an intuitive harmonic sense that allowed him to properly juxtapose his voice to Miguel’s singing. Also outstanding were some of the melodic figurations that Siro “invented” to “embellish” the harmony of the second voice. Siro used these elements with great fluency, rhythmic grace and joyful acuity, and they were enriched by the rhythmic drive of his maracas.

The trio first travelled to the United States in 1928, where they made their first recordings; in 1929 they travelled to Mexico; in 1930 to the Dominican Republic on the island of Santo Domingo; in 1933 they toured Venezuela, Panama, Curacao, Puerto Rico and Colombia; and in 1960 a final trip to the United States [they had also travelled to Europe before that]. Upon their return to Cuba, after 35 years of intense artistic life, the Trio Matamoros disbanded.

All agree that the unmatched success of the trio was due to the innovative Matamoros, who created the bolero-son, which is the combination of a lyrical theme as it is expressed in all boleros, with the addition of a montuno (the ending section of a son), and this innovation produced a ‘dance-able’ [rhythmic] form of bolero. “Conciencia,” “Mata y Beby” and “Santiaguera” are three good examples.

The popularity that Trio Matamoros long enjoyed first took hold on the basis of these elements [described above]. After that “it was a breeze,” and they continued for thirty-five years, during which they gave many performances abroad.

Their final concert performance for the Cuban people was in the Chaplin Theater in early March 1960. Later that month they travelled to the United States, and on returning shortly afterwards immediately withdrew into retirement. [Their last performance was on a Cuban TV special on 10 May 1960.]

Trío-Matamoros-vintagemusic_es(1)

Trio Matamoros — Pobre Bohemia
(from VintageMusic.es; good sound, and a single color graphic)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBoEPow_r7g

Trio Matamoros — Pobre Bohemia
(from VintageMusic.es; as above, with muted video of the Trio’s 1960 TV appearance)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yimJXKetADA

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Pobre Bohemia
(Miguel Matamoros)

Pobre Bohemia que sola vaga
por esos mundos sin compasion,
llego en el alma cual una que-te-haga
por tu martirio, por tu aflicción.

No vez, Bohemia, que yo te quiero
con todo el alma, mi dulce bien.
Ven a mis brazos que ya me muero
por tu evasiones, por tu desdén.

No llores tanto mujer querida,
por esa senda, senda tan cruel.
Ven a mis brazos, ven enseguida,
quiero salvarte, por Dios mujér.

Yo tengo una mujér que echa candela
cuando me voy a parrandear,
yo tengo una mujér que echa candela
cuando me voy a parrandear.
Ella me plancha la ropa
y luego la quiere mojár
entonces yo le digo no (¡que va!)
y ella me dice que sí.

Mi ropa, mi ropa, ¿porque no me da mi ropa?
Mi ropa, mi ropa, ¿porque no me da mi ropa?
Demonio de esa mujér como me moja la ropa
mi ropa, mi ropa —

[Miguel]
Por poquito se rayo mujér, como me ha mojado todo la ropa —

[Rafael]
Y tanto cuento con tu mujér, entra la a palos para que tu vea como se acaba todo eso —

[Siro]
O acusa la, Miguel, acusa la, muchacho —

[Miguel]
Mira chico, ni la acusa ni la entra a palos.
Ustedes son muy criminales.
Esa es mi mujér y yo la quiero mucho,
y además — está parida.

[Siro]
P-a-r-i-d-a — ¡Ay!

[Todos]
Mi ropa, mi ropa, ¿porque no me da mi ropa?
Mi ropa, mi ropa, ¿porque no me da mi ropa?
Demonio de esa mujér como me moja la ropa.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poor Bohemia
(an English translation)

My poor Bohemia who wanders vaguely
in lonely worlds with no compassion,
a soul arriving to one that’s ready
for being martyred, for affliction.

You see, Bohemia, it’s you I’m loving
with all my being, my dear sweetness.
Come into my arms for I am dying
from your evasions, your separateness.

Please stop your crying, woman you’re so loved,
don’t take that pathway, so cruel a plan.
Come into my arms, come into my hug
I want to save you, for God’s sake woman.

I’ve got myself a woman that spits fire
whenever I party and carouse.
I’ve got myself a woman that spits fire
whenever I party and carouse.
She’ll iron all of my clothing
and later wants to splash it again
so then – I say no (come on!)
and she – will tell me yes.

My clothing, my clothing, why won’t she give me my clothing?
My clothing, my clothing, why won’t she give me my clothing?
Damn it all, that woman, she splashes all my clothing.
My clothing, my clothing —

[Miguel]
I’m just about to blow a fuse woman, you’ve soaked all my clothing —

[Rafael]
Too many excuses from your woman, give her a few smacks and you’ll see all that come to an end —

[Siro]
Come on man, accuse her, Miguel, come on accuse her —

[Miguel]
Look boys, I’ll neither accuse her nor smack her.
You two are complete crimminals.
She is my woman and I love her very much,
and besides — she’s calved.

[Siro]
She’s – calved – , — ooh!

[All]
My clothing, my clothing, why won’t she give me my clothing?
My clothing, my clothing, why won’t she give me my clothing?
Damn it all, that woman, she splashes all my clothing.

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Since I mentioned Los Guaracheros de Oriente earlier above, I think it would be nice to take a little diversion to hear them in the following selection, with: voices, guitar, bongo, clave and acoustic bass. The particular YouTube video that accompanies this song is sweetly amusing but it can also be distracting. Make sure you hear the song again later with your eyes closed, or perhaps in the dark at night, so you can just soak in the music. Enjoy!

La Cumbancha — Los Guaracheros de Oriente
[composed by Agustín Lara]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0TP67idHLM

LA CUMBANCHA
[Agustín Lara]

Oiga usted, como suena la clave.
Mire usted, como suena el bongo.
Dígame, si las maracas tienen
El ritmo que nos mueve el corazón.

Oiga usted, como suena la clave.
Mire usted, como suena el bongo.
Dígame, si las maracas tienen
El ritmo que nos mueve el corazón.

Ultima carcajada de la Cumbancha
Llévale tus tristezas y mis cantares.
Tú que sabes reír,
Tú que sabes soñar,
Tú que puedes decir como tengo el alma de tanto amar.

Ultima carcajada de la Cumbancha
Llévale tus tristezas y mis cantares.
Tú que sabes reír,
Tú que sabes soñar,
Tú que puedes decir como tengo el alma de tanto amar.

Ultima carcajada de la Cumbancha
Llévale tus tristezas y mis cantares.
Tú que sabes reír,
Tú que sabes soñar,
Tú que puedes decir como tengo el alma de tanto amar.

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La Cumbancha
[Intérprete: Los Guaracheros de Oriente]

Oiga usted, como suena la clave.
Oiga usted, como suena el bongo.
Diga usted, si las maracas tienen
El ritmo que conmueve el corazón.

Oiga usted, como suena la clave.
Oiga usted, como suena el bongo.
Diga usted, si las maracas tienen
El ritmo que conmueve el corazón.

La ultima carcajada de la Cumbancha
Llévate mis tristezas y mis pesares.
Tú que sabes reír (tú que sabes reír),
Tú que sabes llorar (tú que sabes llorar),
Tú que puedes decir como tengo el alma de tanto amar.

La ultima carcajada de la Cumbancha
Llévate mis tristezas y mis pesares.
Tú que sabes reír (tú que sabes reír),
Tú que sabes llorar (tú que sabes llorar),
Tú que puedes decir como tengo el alma de tanto amar.

La ultima carcajada de la Cumbancha
Llévate mis tristezas y mis pesares.
Tú que sabes reír (tú que sabes reír),
Tú que sabes llorar (tú que sabes llorar),
Tú que puedes decir como tengo el alma de tanto amar.

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The music of Trio Matamoros is “folk” or “country” music, without horns, woodwinds, pianos and keyboards, trap drums, or bowed strings. But this was very lyrically sophisticated and harmonically elegant Cuban country music. I find it spellbinding to listen to, and burst out laughing every now and then when I finally realize the meaning of some previously unnoticed phrase of the Afro-Cuban-idiom Spanish lyrics.

In this Cuban-idiom Spanish, the endings of many words are simply left off. For example “pa’ na’” has it formal Spanish equivalent as “para nada,” which means “for nothing.” The “s” of words like “vamos” (let’s go) and “Matamoros” could be left off, so one would hear “vamo” and “Matamoro.” A similar linguistic tail-chopping happens in the idiomatic speech of American urban and Afro-American communities, and is used lyrically in popular music (“gangsta” versus “gangster”). You may have noticed quite a bit of tail-chopping and clipping (dropping the ending s, swallowing the “el” before “llano”) in the lyrics of “Mamá, son de la loma,” above.

The song “Conciencia,” written by Miguel Matamoros around 1934, is a blues-son (Cuban blues) in which Matamoros sings of himself as “washed up,” as is so typical of many good blues songs. In “Conciencia” Matamoros sings (with Rodríguez harmonizing):

Ya Matamoro’, ay Matamoro’, ya Matamoro’ no sirve pa’ na’
con su guitara, y su’ maraca’, aun que quisiera ya no suena ma’

Ya Matamoro’, ay Matamoro’, ya Matamoro’ no sirve pa’ na’
que no es mentira, que si es verda’, que Matamoro’ no sirve pa’ na’

[Chorus] pa’ na’ — pa’ na’ — pa’ na’ — …

Now Matamoro’, yeah Matamoro’, Matamoro’ good fo’ nothin’ no mo’
with his guitar(s), and his maraca(s), though he wants to he’ll sound off no mo’

Now Matamoro’, yeah Matamoro’, Matamoro’ good fo’ nothin’ no mo’
and that’s no lie, and that’s the truth, that Matamoro’ good fo’ nothin’ no mo’

[Chorus] no mo’ — no mo’ — no mo’ — …

Notice the clipped endings:
Matamoro’ -> Matamoros
pa’ -> para (“for”)
na’ -> nada (“nothing”)
su’ -> sus (plural form of “his”)
maraca’ -> maracas (plural form of “maraca,” instruments usually spoken of as a pair)
ma’ -> mas (“more”)
verda’ -> verdad (“true”).

Conciencia – Orquesta Matamoros
(blues son) M. Matamoros / 30 Julio 1934
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD4tN6nnbFY

Conciencia – Trio Matamoros
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5baTpr5RNWU
Los Cubanos Miguel Matamoros, Siro Rodríguez y Rafael Cueto, gestores del Trio Matamoros y denominadores comunes de esa agrupacion que llegó a ser conjunto, sexteto, septeto y hasta orquesta, protagonizaron uno de los fenomenos mas influyentes en el despunte inicial del son como ritmo armonico y el bolero como melodia capaz de incluir cadencia. Su fórmula del bolero-son impactó el desarrollo de la musica afrocaribeña en las decadas de 1920 y 1930 principalmente.

The Cubans Miguel Matamoros, Siro Rodríguez and Rafael Cueto, the members of Trio Matamoros and common denominators in musical groupings that went from trio to conjunto, sextet, septet, and up to orchestra, were the protagonists of a (musical) phenomenon that was one of the greatest influences in the initial blending of son as harmonic rhythm, with bolero as melody capable of including cadences. Their formula of bolero-son impacted the development of Afro-Caribbean music, principally in the decades of the 1920s and 1930s.

Today, there are numerous CDs available of Trio Matamoros music (and one can also buy it electronically). It is clear that the recorded sounds of Trio Matamoros that one hears today have been electronically filtered or “cleaned up” or “enhanced” or “changed beyond recognition,” depending on your age, taste, and degree of prior exposure to their music from old records (pre 1980s). In this regard, comparing the numerous postings on YouTube of Trio Matamoros songs — from the transcriptions of muffled low-bandwidth sound from scratchy 78s, all the way to filter-equalizer computer processed “clean” bright deep echo-chamber maraca-less sound — is most helpful to gaining a sense of what must have been the true Trio Matamoros sound. Thinking about how so much popular music is artificially produced today, it is amazing to remember that Matamoros, Cueto and Rodríguez performed (and recorded) all their songs live and whole: three musicians performing three (to four) instrumental parts and two to three voice parts all at once. It must have been such a joy for them to perform together and share in a resonant and harmonic mutuality of sensation and emotion.

Of the CDs of Trio Matamoros music that I have bought, the following ones issued by YOYO, EGREM and TUMBAO are the best.

Trio Matamoros (Yoyo)“Serie Inmortales, Trio Matamoros, Todos sus Éxitos,” issued by YOYO (from Colombia) in 2002, has 15 of the most popular songs (“all their hits”) by Trio Matamoros, with a clean fresh sound that has been very nicely processed and thankfully not over-processed. You hear the words, you hear the instruments, even the sound of the maracas is crisp, and there is no noticeable background noise (even with headphones, but playing through actual speakers into an actual room always makes for warmer sound with less noticeable background noise from: needle drag, tape hiss, and electronic hum). I rate this CD five stars (*****). The cover photo of the Trio shows, left-to-right, Siro Rodríguez, Miguel Matamoros and Rafael Cueto in casual white outfits and hats. The notes (2 pages) accompanying the CD are good and in Spanish, though the song type and the composer of each selection are not shown (“El Fiel Enamorado” was written by Paquito Portela, not Miguel Matamoros as implied).

Trio Matamoros (EGREM)“Legendario Trio Matamoros, La gloria del bolero son,” issued by EGREM (from Cuba) in 2000, has 21 songs by Trio Matamoros, and is also rated by this reviewer at five stars (*****). The songs on this CD were recorded in Cuba between 1928 and 1951. To my ear the processing by EGREM was a bit more conservative than that by YOYO, but the difference between the two is slight; the YOYO selections seem a bit brighter and louder, while the EGREM selections seem a bit warmer and perhaps to more mature ears burnished and perhaps thus “more authentic.” However, a slight twist of the volume knob (or, alas, fingertip slide to the right) and the EGREM recording fills the room (or your headphones) just as abundantly as the YOYO recording did. The cover photo of the Trio shows, left-to-right, Rafael Cueto, Miguel Matamoros and Siro Rodríguez in elegant dark suits. The five pages of notes (in Spanish) accompanying the CD are superb, and include four photographs of the group, in 1926, 1929, ~1954 and 1961; also, the song type and composer of each selection are noted.

51B4qYgZcoL“Trio Matamoros, La China en la Rumba,” issued by TUMBAO (from Spain), has 24 songs by Trio Matamoros, and is rated by this reviewer at five stars (*****). This compilation was made in 1994, and the sound quality is very close to that of the EGREM recording (above). I am sure many of these songs were transcribed from old platter records (78 rpm) that were in very good condition, or perhaps even copied from the original master recordings. To my ear this TUMBAO compilation sounds like the result of excellent analog sound engineering from the old sources. At some of the quiet intervals I hear old-record needle-drag hiss, faintly. What I do not hear — most gratefully — is any indication of excessive and all-too-modern electronic filter-equalizer computer processing, those ultra-clean silences and liquid-like moldings of the sound that make you think you are listening while floating in an immense amniotic sac. To some older ears this CD may seem to have “the most authentic” Trio Matamoros sound, that which one could have heard from the old records when they were new if the turntables, phonograph needles and audio amplifiers of the 1990s had been available in the 1920s. Again, with adjustment of the volume knob and projection via speakers into a room, the sound from this CD can be experienced in a most satisfying way. It can also be quite lovely through headphones. The five pages of notes, in Spanish and English, are very good, and the song type and composer of each selection are noted.

These three CDs, as listed here, range from brighter sound with fewer songs to softer sound with more songs. However, the variation from bright to soft here is small (and can be offset by hearing the softer sounding CDs at slightly higher volume). Despite their differences they all earn my five star rating because each is a well-rounded whole of: song selection, quantity of music (playing time) and sound quality. There is some overlap in song selections between the three CDs, but not enough to make any one of these CDs redundant. With a computer and applications such as iTunes, one can reshuffle the individual songs from these CDs into longer playlists.

I do not care for the 2 CD, 24 song compilation called “Trio Matamoros,” issued by OK Records in 2011. The song selection is excellent, but the sound has been over-processed to the point of distortion, vocals accompanied by a liquidy-spacey maraca-less instrumental sound. How can you strip off the sound of Siro Rodríguez’s maracas, as if it were part of 78 rpm scratchiness and needle drag noise, and still call the result the sound of Trio Matamoros? The cover graphic of this dual-CD is a largely black field with white dotted curved lines (suggesting a close-up view of the grooves of an old platter record), with two red stars, and a small photo of the Trio Matamoros in their later years, with Rodríguez, Matamoros and Cueto (left-to-right). Young ears that had never heard the original muffled sound of Trio Matamoros from scratchy recordings, or the later nicely processed sound (as described above), might find the “noise free” (and maraca-free) clear vocals and sometimes viscous-spacey sounding instruments of the OK recordings an enjoyable addition to the popular recorded music soundscape of today. I am sure that if Matamoros, Rodríguez and Cueto would have heard themselves as portrayed in the OK Records compilation they would have laughed, imagining they were hearing Martians who had eavesdropped on the Cuban music of the 1920s to the 1950s via Martian short-wave radio; and then they would have written a parody. At most this rates 2 stars (**), for song selection and availability (at a price), but I don’t listen to it at all now, and can’t recommend it given the CD and YouTube alternatives.

51TzWAE9ygL“The Legendary Trio Matamoros 1928-1937,” issued by TUMBAO in 1992, has 20 songs recorded in New York City between 1928 and 1937. “Legendary” is the operative word here, the repertoire is that of Trio Matamoros’ first decade of phenomenal impact as both musical innovators and popular entertainers. The stocks of this CD have been depleted, and only used copies are available now, and for “legendary” prices. The 1931 recording of “Lágrimas negras,” which was indelibly imprinted on my mind as a toddler over 60 years ago, is on this CD. However loving and intelligent and technically masterful the sound processing by TUMBAO was to produce this compilation, it is inevitable that the selections will have an antique sound because the original recording technology just did not have the wide bandwidth (“high fidelity”) to capture fuller, clearer sound; hi-fi technology would increasingly become available from 1941. This collector’s item rates 5 stars (*****). The photograph of Trio Matamoros on the CD case dates from 1926, and shows Cueto, Matamoros and Rodríguez (left-to-right):

Vestidos de <<cubanos>>, con polainas, guayaberas blancas y pañoletas rojas, están armados de guitarras, maracas y machetes. Todo muy típico.

Dressed as “Cubanos,” [rural men] with chaps, white “guayabera” jacket-shirts and red kerchiefs, they are armed with guitars, maracas and machetes. All very typical.

Lágrimas negras — Trio Matamoros, 1931
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-HNOcWWzLg

Let me say “thank you” to all the kind souls who have posted songs on the internet like “Lágrimas negras” with good sound, tasteful accompanying video and/or photos and graphics, and from hard-to-get albums. All we have left today of the Trio Matamoros is their recorded music, and by now that is a treasure that belongs to the world.

I am also grateful that TUMBAO and EGREM in particular, and now also YOYO have done such good jobs of maintaining and carefully polishing the sound quality of Trio Matamoros recordings, and presenting them to the world at affordable prices.

It is interesting and enjoyable to find young musicians of today who perform Trio Matamoros songs with fresh and artistically engaging interpretations. Perhaps you will be one of them.

Enjoy!

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Lágrimas Negras 7X
https://youtu.be/_uWjeLLiO2o

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Piel Canela — Español-English

Piel Canela is a popular song for dancing to, written before 1952 by Félix Manuel Rodríguez Capó (January 1, 1922 – December 18, 1989), a Puerto Rican singer and songwriter who had a long and fruitful career under the name of Bobby Capó. He was a prolific songwriter and very popular crooner with a mellifluous voice and elegant style of singing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Cap%C3%B3

Piel Canela was first recorded when Bobby Capó was the singer with the legendary Cuban band Sonora Matancera, in Havana. Rogelio Martínez, the bandleader of Sonora Matancera, had chosen Piel Canela for recording from out of numerous unpublished songs Capó had shown him (in 1952).

The story of Bobby Capó, in Spanish, is given at the following web page.

Bobby Capó, “El Ruiseñor de Borinquen”

Piel Canela
[Bobby Capó]

—> [instrumental breve]

Que se quede el infinito sin estrellas
O que pierda el ancho mar su inmensidad
Pero el negro de tus ojos que no muera
Y el canela de tu piel se quede igual

Si perdiera el arco iris su belleza
Y las flores su perfume y su color
No seria tan inmensa mi tristeza
Como aquella de quedarme sin tu amor

Me importas tú
Y tú y tú
Y solamente tú
Y tú y tú

Me importas tú
Y tú y tú [coro]

Y nadie mas que tú

Ojos negros piel canela
Que me llegan a desesperar

Me importas tú
Y tú y tú
Y solamente tú
Y tú y tú

Me importas tú
Y tú y tú [coro]

Y nadie mas que tú

—> [instrumental]

Me importas tú
Y tú y tú
Y solamente tú
Y tú y tú

Me importas tú
Y tú y tú [coro]

Y nadie mas que tú

Ojos negros piel canela
Que me llegan a desesperar

Me importas tú
Y tú y tú
Y solamente tú
Y tú y tú

Me importas tú
Y tú y tú [coro]

Y nadie mas que tuuuuuú

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Cinnamon Skin
[a translation of the lyrics sung by Bobby Capó]

—> [brief instrumental]

Let the infinite sky lose all of its star-shine
And the oceans wide lose all their immensity
But that gleam in your black eyes must always cheat time
As that cinnamon in your skin should always be

If the rainbow were to lose all of its beauty
And the flowers all of their perfume and color
Though sad I would find each a minor tragedy
Compared to that of never being your lover

I care for you
for you, for you
So totally for you
for you, for you

I care for you
for you, for you [chorus]

And no one else but you.

Your black eyes and cinnamon skin
Drive the desperation that I’m in.

I care for you
for you, for you
So totally for you
for you, for you

I care for you
for you, for you [chorus]

And no one else but you.

—> [instrumental]

I care for you
for you, for you
So totally for you
for you, for you

I care for you
for you, for you [chorus]

And no one else but you.

Your black eyes and cinnamon skin
Drive the desperation that I’m in.

I care for you
for you, for you
So totally for you
for you, for you

I care for you
for you, for you [chorus]

And no one else but youuuuuu.

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Piel Canela

Bobby Capó


[The songwriter singing his song, a recording both of its time and for the ages. Bobby Capó’s singing was so velvety smooth, caressingly warm, and yet so clear, fluid and briskly paced; this is a recording of his sound in the early 1950s.]

another posting of the song with Bobby Capó:

Eydie Gormé y Trio Los Panchos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVNf_CfdamM
[The wonderful Eydie with Los Panchos in a meltingly happy rendition, both bright and elegant, from 1964.]

Natalia y La Forquetina
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS85aKyRxhw
[A little girl voice and a band with sci-fi spacey electronic sounds hip-hopping through Piel Canela in 2005. Massively popular. Great songs live through every generation’s stylings because they are pure at heart.]

Bobby Capó canta Piel Canela con la Sonora Matancera
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhNPzLLv4l8
[Bobby Capó at an outdoor concert celebrating the long life of Sonora Matancera, this being 1989 and their 65th year. Bobby Capó remained the smooth elegant crooner to the end.]

La Sonora Matancera (65 aniversario, concierto completo)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooI8M7Ks_yk

[Sadly, this video is now gone!]
[This video with a playing time of 1:45:15 shows the complete 65th anniversary concert by Sonora Matancera with many singers in New York City’s Central Park in the spring of 1989. Bobby Capó’s entrance to the stage begins at 1:11:27 and his set ends at 1:19:00. Daniel Santos follows and continues till 1:27:14, then Celia Cruz powers through to the finish. Rogelio Martínez had joined the band in 1926 and became its director in the 1930s. For traditionalists, Rogelio Martínez’s death in 2001 marked the end of the band, as few of its musicians from the 1950s remained. Javier Vásquez, who had joined Sonora Matancera in 1957, carried on with a younger group in Las Vegas, Nevada, continuing with the name “Sonora Matancera.”]

Manny Manuel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BUWLcdMBv0
[A stylish reimagining of a dance club of the late 1940s and early 1950s with a performance of Piel Canela, for Puerto Rican TV in 1997. This video is just one segment of an entire program of Bobby Capó music, called “Siempre Piel Canela – La Musica de Bobby Capó.” Totalmente borinqueño.]

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Obsesión — Español-English

Pedro Flores (March 9, 1894 – July 14, 1979) was one Puerto Rico’s best known composers of ballads and boleros. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Flores_%28composer%29

Pedro Flores’ song “Obsesión” was written before 1935, the date of its recording for Columbia Records. This is a male’s love song in the ancient tradition of declaring love and pledging fidelity by showing passion, “obsession,” in an effort to win the affections of a wisely playing-hard-to-get female. Such songs come out of times and cultures where decorum was expected and practiced, so the obsession being displayed here was understood to be only a sincere amorous expression that was uninhibited in relation to antique social norms. It was not intended to be anything like the psychotic behaviors we are now accustomed to seeing erupt unhappily, and too often, in our mad modern hyperactive inattentive mind-numbed zeitgeist. “Obsesión” soon became very popular and many women singers, also, have made it their own since its early years. This song translation is poetic, not literal.

Obsesión
(Pedro Flores, letras según la grabación de “Como Es El Amor” por Panchito Riset y Daniel Sanchez con Pedro Flores, 1935)

—> (instrumental)

Por alto está el cielo en el mundo,
por hondo que sea el mar profundo,
no habrá una barrera en el mundo
que un amor profundo
no pueda rompér.

Amor es el pan de la vida,
amor es la copa divina,
amor es un algo sin nombre
que obsesiona a un hombre
con una mujér.

Yo estoy obsesionado contigo
y el mundo es testigo
de mí frenesí,
y por más que se oponga el destino
serás para mí(ííí). (1)

Por alto está el cielo en el mundo,
por hondo que sea el mar profundo,
no habrá una barrera en el mundo
que un amor profundo
no rompa por tí.

—> (instrumental)

Yo estoy obsesionado contigo
y el mundo es testigo
de mí frenesí,
y por más que se oponga el destino
serás para mí(ííí). (1)

Por alto está el cielo en el mundo,
por hondo que sea el mar profundo,
no habrá una barrera en el mundo
que un amor profundo
no – rompa – por – tí(ííí). (2)
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1. se extiende el “í” de “mí.”

2. Rallentando, se extiende el “í” de “tí.”

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Obsession
(Pedro Flores, lyrics following the recording of “How Love Is” by Panchito Riset and Daniel Sanchez with Pedro Flores, 1935)

—> (instrumental)

As high as the sky is above us,
as deep as the ocean’s cold darkness,
never will barriers between us
stand fast against my focus
unbroken by love.

Love’s the bread of every soul’s lifetime,
love’s the cup of fulfillment divine,
for love is that something so nameless,
a swirling where one man obsesses
on one woman’s love.

I am so completely obsessed to love you,
this world is just background in view
of my frenzied mind,
and even if destiny opposes, it’s true
you have to be mine –. (3)

As high as the sky is above us,
as deep as the ocean’s cold darkness,
never will barriers between us
stand fast against my focus,
I’ll break them in time.

—> (instrumental)

I am so completely obsessed to love you,
this world is just background in view
of my frenzied mind,
and even if destiny opposes, it’s true
you have to be mine –. (3)

As high as the sky is above us,
as deep as the ocean’s cold darkness,
never will barriers between us
stand fast against my focus,
I’ll – break – them – in – time –. (4)

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3. The “i” of “mine” is extended.

4. Rallentando, the “i” of “time” is extended.

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Panchito Riset y Daniel Sanchez con Pedro Flores – Como Es El Amor (Obsesión)

[The original, the year is 1935, music from Puerto Rico.]

Barrio Boyzz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o0VGhLO7ws
[Jazz a cappella quartet in concert; both crisp and honeyed. 1996]

Suzzette Ortiz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b7CjaM9W44
[Suzzette plays the piano and sings, both with great sensitivity; live. A touching performance giving the song a woman’s voice. 2010.]

Daniel Santos & La Sonora Matancera


[Puerto Rico’s great singer with Cuba’s great band, a recording from probably the late 1940s.]

another recording of the song with Daniel Santos (good sound!):

The Latin Jazz Coalition
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrR0ewYYiUI
[A Latin Jazz band in a live outdoor performance in Queens, New York City; the Afro-Cuban Currents Concert, 2006.]

Irene Atienza & Douglas Lora
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUBFv9kaJUU
[A Brazilian duo perform live; Irene sings, Douglas plays classical guitar. Intimate and nice. “Amor es un tango sin nombre que obsesiona un hombre por una mujér.” 2013.]

Konnoduo+nao
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTZ32zUF-Bg
[Japanese instrumental trio: flute, guitar, conga; wonderful live performance. 2010.]

Virginia Lopez y Trio Imperio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpmYJatUY1E
[Light soprano voice of the 1950s, very atmospheric of its time. Virginia, a Puertorriqueña, was born in New York City’s West Side.]

Guasabara Cuarteto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAU1iVIS8NE
[Potent Puerto Rican jazz combo and singer propel this bolero through their own extended and modernized version; studio live. 2013.]

Placido Domingo & Maggie Carles – Perdon & Obsesión
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfX5z1k43mg
[A medley of “Perdon” and “Obsesión” as duets in concert; big voices. “Obsesión” begins at 3:33. 2009.]

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Cardo o Ceniza — Español-English

María Isabel Granda Larco (3 September 1920, Cotabambas, Apurímac, Peru — 8 March 1983, Miami, United States), better known as Chabuca Granda, was a Peruvian singer and composer. She created and interpreted a vast number of Criollo waltzes with Afro-Peruvian rhythms. Her best known song is “La flor de la canela” (The Cinnamon Flower). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chabuca_Granda

I have taken greater poetic liberties for my English translation of “Cardo o Ceniza” than has been the case with my previous translations of Spanish songs. I see this song as a male fantasy of female orgasm, as that fantasy is imagined by a female (the songwriter and all the subsequent female singers). I have chosen to present these orgasmic lyrics in more poetically florid English than I would normally use, since the only other alternative I could think of was a clinical explicitness that risked making a mockery of the sentiment. As is always the case, poetry and song lyrics are best in their original languages.

If this song did not resonate with so much of the sexual fantasy life of males worldwide, it would not be so popular. Without such resonance this song would be like so much of feminist literature, which can be quite explicit and yet attract little male interest. The song is basically a lament about a woman’s inability to find partnership despite being generous and passionate in the giving of her love. We assume the wayward lover is male, but the lyrics are general enough to allow for a lesbian interpretation. The sexual yearning of the female voicing this lament, her submissiveness to the longed-for lover, and the obvious power he holds over her despite her misgivings and prior disappointments at being used, are all very popular male fantasies even as a number of them are thoroughly dishonorable. That resonance with the male id, along with the identification many women will have with the substance of the lament, all make for a universally popular song.

The music of the song is quite nice, always necessary for making a song popular with foreign audiences who do not understand the lyrics.

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Cardo o Ceniza
(Chabuca Granda 1920-1983)

¿Como será mi piel
junto a tu piel?,
¿Como será mi piel
junto a tu piel?,
¿Cardo, cenizas,
como será?

¿Si he de fundir mi espacio
frente al tuyo?
¿Como será tu cuerpo
al recorrerme,
y como mi corazón
si estoy de muerte,
mi corazón
si estoy de muerte?

Se quebrara mi voz
cuando se apague,
de no poderte hablar
en el oido.
Y quemará mi boca
salivada
de la sed que me queme
si me besas,
de la sed que me queme
si me besas.

¿Como será el gemido
y como el grito
al escapar mi vida
entre la tuya?
¿Y como el letargo
al que me entregue
cuando adormezca el sueño
entre tus sueños?

Han de ser breves
mis siestas.
Mis esteros despiertan
con tus rios. (1)

¿Pero, pero como serán
mis despertares?
¿Pero como serán
mis despertares?
¿Pero como serán
mis despertares,
cada vez que despierte
avergonzada,
cada vez que despierte
avergonzada?

Tanto amor
y avergonzada,
tanto amor (tanto amor)
y avergonzada.

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Thistle or Ash
(a translation of Chabuca Granda’s “Cardo o Ceniza”)

How will my skin feel
pressed to your skin?
How will my skin feel
pressed to your skin?
Thistle or ashes,
how will it feel?

Should I open myself to you?,
open myself for you?
How will your body feel as you
drape me completely?
Will it make me come alive
or will it feel deadly?
Will it make me come alive
or will it feel deadly?

My voice will fade away
silenced by the rush,
with no whispered sighs to hear,
no breaths in your ear.
My mouth will wet ravening,
burning for love,
fired by every kiss
thirsting for love,
fired by every kiss
thirsting for love.

How will I whimper to your love
and cry out as mine comes?,
to escape into your life
as now both take flight.
What of the sweet surrender,
the sinking of let down?
Dreams fade in sleep so tender,
will you remember?

My times of peace
are all too brief.
What love I can give is freed
from love received. (1)

Tell me, tell me, how will it be
the morning after?
Tell me, how will it be
the morning after?
Tell me, how will it be
the morning after?
Every time I wake alone
with all my shame,
every time I wake alone
with all my shame.

I love so much
and end so shamefully,
I love so (very very) much
and end so shamefully.

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Note #1. Literally: “my estuaries awaken with your rivers.”

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Chabuca Granda – Cardo o ceniza
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwpvFOvG9EA
[Modern (<1983) folk-style popular music from Peru; the original version of this song.]

Pamela Rodriguez – Cardo o Ceniza
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m423SJBMB4
[Current youth-oriented Latin-American popular music, a cover more popular than the original, “the hit.”]

Niyireth Alarcón – Cardo o ceniza
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z2ddoCotck
[An elegant current version from Colombia.]

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Siboney — Español-English

Ernesto Lecuona (1896-1963) published his classic Cuban song Siboney in 1929. It has been sung and played by many many performers since, in a multitude of styles.

Ernesto Lecuona was a contemporary of George Gershwin (1898-1937), and both played similar roles in the development of the music of their respective countries, Cuba and the United States. They were each classical musicians, piano virtuosos and brilliant composers, who brought Afro-American strains of folk music characteristic of their countries — son cubano and jazz, respectively — into musical theater works (zarzuelas and musicals, some considered as operas today), piano concertos, works for solo piano, and many songs.

Siboney is a song that has said “Cuba” to the ears and hearts of listeners around the world since 1929, in the same way that George Gershwin’s Summertime has infused listeners with a sense of Mark Twain’s America since 1935. These aren’t national anthems, they’re better, they are the songs of the soul.

Siboney (1929)
(música y letras de Ernesto Lecuona)

Siboney,
yo te quiero,
yo me muero
por tu amor.
Siboney,
en tu boca
la miel puso
su dulzor.

Ven a mí,
que te quiero,
y que todo tesoro
eres tú para mí.

Siboney,
al arrullo
de la palma
pienso en tí.

Siboney,
de mi sueños,
¿si no oyes la queja de mi voz?

Siboney,
si no vienes,
me moriré de amor.

Siboney,
de mi sueños,
te espero con ansia en mi caney,

Porque tú
eres el dueño
de mi amor, Siboney.

Oye el eco
de mi canto
de cristal,
no se pierda
por entre el rudo
manigual.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Siboney
(a poetic translation of Ernesto Lecuona’s lyrics)

Siboney,
how I want you,
I would die to
have your love.
Siboney,
honey’s sweetness
from your lips wings
like a dove.

Come to me,
I who love you,
my treasure, and want you
as close to me as can be.

Siboney,
breezes whisper,
as palms murmur
thoughts of you.

Siboney,
my dreams call out,
can’t you hear my voice for you all about?

Siboney,
if you don’t come
I’ll die with your love away.

Siboney,
with tides dreaming
in my hut awaiting you anxiously.

You alone
are that person
who owns all my love, Siboney.

Hear the echo
of my song so
crystal clear.
Don’t lose your way
in the shadows of
swamp night fear.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eduardo Brito (1931)


[The recording that made Siboney a hit, sung by an excellent baritone; a superb rendition: full, flowing, tuneful, without distracting affectations or showiness. Classic.]

Lecuona plays Siboney (1954)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlOSe79FuKM
[Ernesto Lecuona plays Siboney on the piano. Perfection.]

Plácido Domingo (1984)


[The Caruso of our time gives us the ultimate Siboney.]

Alfredo Kraus (1982)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrptSvmjCkg
[Alfredo Kraus was a lyric tenor with a sparkling and powerful voice. This recording has nice sound and is accompanied by a slideshow of scenes of the Canary Islands — one can imagine Cuba from them — and historical notes on both Lecuona and Kraus, who each had roots in the Canary Islands.]

Xiomara Alfaro (1950s)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpx4ev8atSE
[An Afro-Cuban coloratura sings Siboney in this video from a TV broadcast.]

Los Sabandeños (2012)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyvXS2KU9gI
[A big chorus! A slideshow of photos of the beach called Siboney, in the province of Santiago de Cuba in southeastern Cuba, accompanies the music; there are also historical notes.]

Concha Buika (2013)


[A black Afro-Cuban propulsive jazz rendition with a smokey/raspy?-voiced singer.]

Aurelio Gabaldón (2007)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDOaotiQOEI
[A video of Siboney performed at this tenor’s recital (in Spain?). He did a nice job.]

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Sabor a mí — Español-English

Sabor a mí was written in 1959 by the Mexican agricultural engineer and songwriter Álvaro Carillo Alarcón (1921-1969).

Sabor a mí (1959)

Tanto tiempo disfrutamos de este amor
Nuestras almas se acercaron tanto así
Que yo guardo tu sabor
Pero tú llevas también
Sabor a mí.

Si negaras mi presencia en tu vivir
Bastaría con abrazarte y conversar
Tanta vida yo te di
Que por fuerza tienes ya
Sabor a mí.

No pretendo ser tu dueño
No soy nada yo no tengo vanidad
De mi vida doy lo bueno
Soy tan pobre, ¿qué otra cosa puedo dar?

Pasarán más de mil años, muchos más
Yo no sé si tenga amor la eternidad
Pero allá, tal como aquí
En la boca llevarás
Sabor a mí.

A Taste of Me
(a translation of Álvaro Carillo’s lyrics for Sabor a mí)

We had spent so much time savoring our love,
Our souls came so close together and yet stayed free,
Tasting still how you would love,
As you too must also have
A taste of me.

If you now negate my presence from your life,
Hugs and conversation now and then’s alright.
I know you have come to be
Infused indelibly with
A taste of me.

Not pretending that I own you,
I am nothing, and I have no vanity.
Giving what good in life I do,
As I’m so poor what else do I have to give you?

A thousand years must pass at least, and even more,
I do not know if love is in eternity,
Whether there or here where you may be
Your lips will always savor
A taste of me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Álvaro Carrillo (1960s)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGhcaT1HSM
[The composer sings his song, accompanying himself on the guitar (a sound recording). Completely endearing.]

Alvaro Carrillo: Amor mio, Un poco mas, Sabor a mí (1960s)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH_jng60ewU
[A video of a TV show with Álvaro Carillo performing a medley of three of his own compositions, accompanying himself on guitar. Absolutely precious.]

Eydie Gormé & Trio Los Panchos (1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yVQeLirfIg
[Eydie Gormé’s biggest hit, and the recording of Sabor a mí that brought the song into popular consciousness worldwide. This particular posting of the recording has good stereo sound, and video of Eydie singing; also extensive notes on Eydie. Eydie’s big, sunny and warm singing style blends perfectly with the refined ensemble guitar playing (and singing) by Los Panchos, to produce an irresistible rendition of Sabor a mí. It is both of its time and ageless.]

Gustavo “Pájaro” Ogara & Ximena Bedó (2013)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji3k7rsVW8A
[One guitarist and one singer, perfection in its simplicity, sencillo y así puro. Very nice guitar playing by Gustavo “Pájaro” Ogara, and very nice singing by Ximena Bedó.]

Cover Estereo Son (2012)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11SvEFdXZEc
[I like this trio of young musicians: Voz – Karen Mondragón, Bajo – Wilfredo Vinasco, Synth – Jhonatan Herrera. Karen’s singing is expressive, honeyed and brisk (contralto?). Both Wilfredo and Jhonatan are very adept at their instruments. The group produces a unified uncluttered sound that moves gracefully through their performances: modern (youthful enthusiasm in a streamlined format), warm, moving and polished. I wish them success. I liked their Lágrimas Negras, which is how I first heard them.]

Guadalupe Pineda (1980s-2000s?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45gHIZFcEdI
[A refined production, large though graceful, framing Guadalupe’s bell-like tones.]

Javier Solis (1960s)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jBvVwR8_Tw
[El rey del bolero ranchero. Silky smooth and sentimental.]

Los Lobos (1990s-2000s?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU-LeccqS48
[“Just another band from East L.A.” But one of the best. This performance is both solid and elegant; urban, unpretentious, sincere and aware of its roots. Sabor a mí is a guitar player’s delight.]

Classico Latino (2012)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bAcvnd29e0
[Performed at the Teatro Colsubsidio in Bogotá, Colombia, June 2012. Elegant and polished, with piano, violin, cello, conga drums, guitar and electric bass, all backing soprano Eirini Tornesaki.]

Beatriz Marquez (2007)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBfmsqtI9Lo
[Beatriz Marquez, a long-established Cuban singer from a musical family (at least 3 generations), plays the piano as she sings Sabor a mí, accompanied by guitar and percussion. A live performance at an Italian restaurant in Cuba, captured on video by a tourist.]

Manoella Torres (1980s-2000s?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiF4hsKlYWk
[A soft velvety rendition, something for an evening on the Riviera in tux and gowns. Born in New York City of Puerto Rican parents, Manoella Torres moved to Mexico as a child and lives there still. She was first recorded for discs in 1966, as a twelve-year old. In 1971, she signed with Columbia Records, and launched the career that continues today.]

Maridalia Hernandez (1980s?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhKM1DNTQik
[Smooth melodious alto (?) from Santo Domingo, in a gently lush production.]

Laura Fygi (1990s-2000s?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeDC3xyerQA
[A beautiful rendition, slow silky smooth sensuousness without sloppiness, but a bit of crackle on the sound recording.]

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Twelve Spanish Songs — Español-English

I have completed a project that is of great significance to me, but of little importance otherwise (isn’t this true of most of what everybody accomplishes?). Like the Little Red Rooster jumping up to the barn roof at dawn to wake up the world to his pride of place, I am sending out this notice about my new work.

For many reasons, because of my family, ethnicity, first language, cultural inclinations, artistic interests, and time and place in history (20th century US Latino), I have been interested for some time to learn, and translate into English, some of the most beloved and enduring Spanish songs of the 20th century.

Toward that end, I have selected twelve Spanish language songs — most of which I can remember hearing from my earliest days — and then sought out (through the ease of the Internet, and sheet music) the earliest and likely authentic lyrics, and devised poetic translations of them. By “poetic translations” I mean English language poems that faithfully convey the Spanish language intent of the originals, and are as close to literal translations as can be achieved without sacrificing the metric and rhyming structure of the Spanish language originals — or at least approaches that ideal.

There is no doubt that better English language poems could be devised to fit the music if one gave up any connection to the original Spanish lyrics. But that was not my aim. I wanted to convey the word flow and sentiment, and as much of the word-images and metaphors of the originals as I could, in English language poems that had their own degree of elegance and fluidity, fitting the music.

Working on this project has improved my Spanish reading and writing a bit, which was worthwhile since neither is that good.

The results of this work appear as twelve entries on this blog — one per song. Each such blog posting gives a few details about the song’s composer, before displaying the Spanish language lyrics (and notes about them, since there are always variations). After that, I show my own poetic translation.

For a view of the shortcomings of a purely literal translation (as well as the shortcomings of computer translators) just copy the Spanish lyrics I provide into Google Translator (or an equivalent) and observe the results in Bizzaro Speak.

After each of my poetic translations of a Spanish song, I list a number of music video performances of that song, posted at YouTube. I also give a capsule summary of each such music video.

The intent of each blog entry is to present the song in as original a form as I can find, to give the briefest of historical context for it, to give my “singable” English version, and then list a series of performances that show why that song has endured through many periods of 20th century musical tastes, and in numerous cultures. These songs are good music, and good music is eternal and unconfined by the boundaries that human groups segregate themselves with.

The primary audience for this project is my own children, who I hope gain something of my ancestors’ culture by it. It is possible that vocal music students interested in this repertoire could gain from these postings; and perhaps amateur poets may also find something of value here.

As I said, in the whole scheme of things this is an inconsequential accomplishment, but nevertheless: COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!

The list of twelve web-links can be found at the “About” web-page for this blog, and are also listed here for convenience.

Bésame Mucho, Español-English
23 December 2013
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2013/12/24/besame-mucho-espanol-english/

Cucurrucucú Paloma, Español-English
23 December 2013
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2013/12/23/cucurrucucu-paloma-espanol-english/

Frenesí — Español-English
12 October 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/10/12/frenesi-espanol-english/

Historia de un amor — Español-English
30 September 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/09/30/historia-de-un-amor-espanol-english/

Júrame — Español-English
9 October 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/10/09/jurame-espanol-english/

Lágrimas Negras — Español-English
14 November 2013
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2013/11/14/lagrimas-negras-black-tears/

Nuestro Juramento — Español-English
23 June 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/06/23/nuestro-juramento-espanol-english/

Perfidia — Español-English
13 October 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/10/13/perfidia-espanol-english/

Quiéreme Mucho — Español-English
13 October 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/10/13/quiereme-mucho-espanol-english/

Siempre En Mi Corazón — Español-English
4 October 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/10/04/siempre-en-mi-corazon-espanol-english/

(listed in alphabetical order)

And after 15 October 2014:

Sabor a mí — Español-English
19 October 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/10/19/sabor-a-mi-espanol-english/

Siboney — Español-English
22 October 2014
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2014/10/22/siboney-espanol-english/

Enjoy!

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See “About” for songs added after 2014

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Quiéreme Mucho — Español-English

The music of Quiéreme Mucho was written by Gonzalo Roig (1890-1970), the lyrics by Agustín Rodríguez and Roger de Lauria. The song was composed between 1915 and 1917, and first performed in 1922. (1)

Quiéreme Mucho (1922)
(según la interpretación de Tito Schipa)

Quiéreme mucho
Dulce amor mío
Qué amante siempre
Te adoraré.

Yo* con tus besos
Con** tus caricias
Mis sufrimientos
Acallaré.

(se repite)

Quiéreme mucho
Dulce amor mío
Qué amante siempre
Te adoraré.

Yo con tus besos
Con tus caricias
Mis sufrimientos
Acallaré.

(el coro)

Cuando se quiere de veras
Como te quiero yo a tí
Es imposible mi cielo
Tan separados vivir.

Cuando se quiere de veras
Como te quiero yo a tí
Es imposible mi cielo
Tan separados vivir,
Tan separados vivir.

(se repite el coro)

Cuando se quiere de veras
Como te quiero yo a tí
Es imposible mi cielo
Tan separados vivir.

Cuando se quiere de veras
Como te quiero yo a tí
Es imposible mi cielo
Tan separados vivir,
Tan separados vivir.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Ibrahim Ferrer: Que

** todos los otros después: Y

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Love Me Completely
(a translation of the lyrics of Quiéreme Mucho sung by Tito Schipa)

Love me completely,
sweet love so deeply,
this constant lover
is yours for ever.

For me your kisses
and your caresses
soothe my suffering
to tranquilness.

(repeats)

Love me completely,
sweet love so deeply,
this constant lover
is yours for ever.

For me your kisses
and your caresses
soothe my suffering
to tranquilness.

(the chorus)

When one falls into love so truly
as I have so fallen for you
it’s no longer possible, angel,
to live separate as two.

When one falls into love so truly
as I have so fallen for you
it’s no longer possible
living separate as two,
to live separate from you.

(the chorus repeats)

When one falls into love so truly
as I have so fallen for you
it’s no longer possible, angel,
to live separate as two.

When one falls into love so truly
as I have so fallen for you
it’s no longer possible
living separate as two,
to live separate from you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quiéreme Mucho

Tito Schipa (1888-1965)

also


[The earliest recording – 1922 or 1923 (1926?) – of Quiéreme Mucho, sung by the legendary tenore di grazia Tito Schipa. Precious, for the ages.

Ibrahim Ferrer (1927-2005)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i4hI83nd58
[A sweet soul survivor bringing the old style right up to today, as with this 2006 posthumous release. A performance of enveloping sentiment and timeless limpid beauty.]

Linda Ronstadt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxbhF21OIbQ
[Linda’s 1992 performance shown here is honeyed and gracefully paced, lovely.]

Plácido Domingo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdcQctqgDN4
[A music-video love letter by Placido Domingo; of course it’s lovely. From the 1990s?]

Libertad Lamarque y Pedro Vargas

also

[A sweet duet scene in a 1953 movie (top), but the sound reproduction here is not all we could wish for.]

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Perfidia — Español-English

Rick and Ilsa

Alberto Domínguez Borrás (1913–1975) was a Mexican songwriter and marimba musician who wrote and published the songs Frenesí and Perfidia in 1939.

Perfidia (1939)
(según la interpretación de Lupita Palomera)

Nadie comprende lo que sufro yo,
Canto pues ya no puedo sollozár.
Solo* temblando de ansiedad estoy,
Todos me miran y se van.

Mujer,
Si puedes tú con Dios hablar,
Preguntale si yo alguna vez
Te dejado de adorar.

Mi Alma,
Espejo de mi corazón,
Las veces que me ha visto llorar
La perfidia de tu amor.

Te buscado doquiera que yo voy
Y no te puedo hallar,
Para qué quiero otros besos
Si tus labios no me quieren ya besar.

Y tú,
Quien sabe por dónde andarás?
Quien sabe que aventura tendrás?
Que lejos estás de mí.

—> (Rick y Ilsa bailan)

Te buscado doquiera que yo voy
Y no te puedo hallar,
Para qué quiero otros besos
Si tus labios no me quieren ya besar.

Y tú,
Quien sabe por dónde andarás?
Quien sabe que aventura tendrás?
Que lejos estás de mí.

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* Lupita Palomera: sola

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Perfidia
(a translation of the lyrics sung by Lupita Palomera)

No one can comprehend my suffering,
singing, now emptied of all my weeping.
Lonely, I’m trembling with anxiety,
seeing me, they all turn away.

Woman,
if you know how to talk to God
ask Him if there has been a time
when it’s you that I’ve not adored.

My soul,
that mirror with reflections of
a heart that has cried so many times
from perfidies of your love.

I have looked for you in every place I go
but you’re gone without a sign.
Why would I want other kisses
if your lips no longer hunger to kiss mine?

And you,
who knows where you are wandering,
what adventures you are following,
you’re so far away from me.

—> (Rick and Ilsa dance)

I have looked for you in every place I go
but you’re gone without a sign.
Why would I want other kisses
if your lips no longer hunger to kiss mine?

And you,
who knows where you are wandering,
what adventures you are following,
you’re so far away from me.

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Perfidia

Lupita Palomera (1915-2008)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nJLO9QVTNc
[This Alberto Domínguez song, published in 1939, and this recording from that time are both gems. The music here draws you into the dance, while Lupita’s fluid phrasing and golden intonation of the lyrics carries you off into the story; altogether, a vivid and captivating dream.]

Ibrahim Ferrer (1927-2005)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDT-xuqpH2U
[Sweet Cuban jazz, ~2004; mellow, knowing, ageless.]

Daniel Santos (1916-1992)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K88guEpRdQ
[An inimitable and captivating singer and composer. This recording is from the 1940s-1950s.]

Linda Ronstadt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFFKpYn4DYw
[Linda’s sweet and potent version of Perfidia, used in the 1992 movie The Mambo Kings.]

Javier Solis (1931-1966)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lUESqSGZUE
[Bolero de Mexico, elegánte. Smooth, elegant ballad; the scene is from a 1960s movie.]

Carola Standertskjöld (1941-1997)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8vP3XmC0go
[An uptempo 1965 performance by a striking Finnish contralto with perfect diction in Castilian Spanish, and sharp phrasing; scintillating.]

Margarita Luna
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfo4xxeK-AQ
[Smooth 21st century Mexican “salsa.”]

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