It’s my new favorite song, because of or despite the fact I heard it a lot when I was in Cuba the past 10 days. In many ways the trip was an eye opener for me, and I took 538 pictures to prove it (Holy Fidel!). Music is in all the squares and streets from radios in the morning to the ubiquitous live bands at night. I was staying in casa particulares, private houses that rented rooms, and I began to suspect after a few nights that every Cuban knows how to play an instrument and dance salsa.

The cheerfulness of the music and the dancing glosses over some of the harder aspects of Cuban life, but at night in Havana when the dim lights hide the cracks and dirt of some old square, and the musicians play Guantanamera, it can be truly magical.

8 thoughts on “Guantanamera

  1. Linnea, nice to have you back! I was born in Venezuela and lived there until the age of 5, when we moved to just outside of New York. I remember very little of those early years in Venezuela, but this song is one of the sterling memories I have!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

    Word verification: medlyr. I like that, perhaps it means one who meddles in medleys.

  2. Welcome back, Linnea. “Guantanamera” has been a long time favorite of mine, as well. I enjoyed listening to this version. I am looking forward to hearing more of your insights on your stay in Cuba & seeing some of those photos.

  3. Lorenzo, hopefully my memories will last as long as yours have!

    It’s a great song, but I didn’t realize I would have such a hard time finding a version that sounds similar to the live ones I heard. Maybe it’s something you have to experience in person? At any rate, great song, and certainly more pictures to come!

    My Lonely Planet kept referring to a movie called the Buena Vista Social Club, so Hopefully I’ll track down a copy of that soon too.

  4. Pepesito Reyes was 85 years old when Narada Jazz released his first solo cd in the United States in 2002, giving Americans our first chance to hear “La Guantanamara” performed by the man who wrote it. Reyes is a wonderful pianist of the elegant danzon style and one who performed with Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole in their day, too. (The cd has a gorgeous interpretation of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine”.)

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