Tuesdays Tunes: “GUANTANAMERA”

75 Artistas Cubanos ¨Guantanamera¨ - Playing For Change - Song Around The  World | Portal Del Vídeo Clip Cubano

Well, Carlos Varela kicks it off from La Habana (Havana) and he is followed by some seventy five Cuban musicians from all over the world. From Miami to Barcelona, to Tokyo to everywhere. The song was produced by Jackson Browne, the great North American musician and composer who travelled throughout Cuba and who wrapped it up with this statement: “travelling with Playing For Change across Cuba was one of the most rewarding and inspiring musical experiences of my life.”

“Guantanamera” is like the Cuban national anthem. It is a song that has gone around the world several times and by now even the cats and the dogs hum it idly. In this version, the lyrics are a combination of the lyrics of the hundreds of versions this song has had throughout the decades it has existed. In this song the most relevant and important words are the words that relay the message that in Cuba the hope of many is to live in peace, without doing harm to anyone, seeking beauty and that with such beauty one can confront the sadness and the grief of the world, and the hope that at the end one is allowed to die free, facing the sun, not like a traitor in the dark.

But you have to take a look and listen to get a glimpse of the soul of Cuba and the spirit that floats through the music and the heartbeat that brought forth the words…

“Guantanamera” is one of the most popular songs in the world. The words most commonly used to sing the Guantanamera was adapted by Julián Orbón, using the first strophes of the “Versos Sencillos”, a poetry collection by the Cuban poet José Martí. The music is officially atributed to José Fernández Díaz, better known as Joseíto. Who knows how many versions of this song exists.

As Spaniards we all feel a closeness to Hispanic America but Cuba has always been special to us all. It was the last province of Spain in America and always known as the “Siempre española” so we feel tremendously the pain and suffering that is imposed upon the Cubans by the Communist government of the island. The desire to be free has motivated a movement for change and I personally support it fully.

Los últimos de Cuba ¿Podría volver a ser una comunidad española?

Well, hope you enjoy this edition of “Tuesdays Tunes”. I know it is a little different but it will not fail. Consider it a trip through different parts of the world of music. Consider it a tribute to the quest for freedom…



  1. Brad Osborne · March 30

    One of the best posts in this series, Francisco! I loved the video as it takes us on a tour of the many musicians, people, and places this song is about. What a talented group of artists…and a proud community! Well done, my friend!

    • Yes, I thought so too, the whole video is rather moving. In Cuba when someone speaks out it is committing a crime against the security of the State, so I have to hand it to some of these musicians and also to Jackson Brown for coming up with this project, well, I don’t know it it is his project but producing this video was a stroke of genius for him. Sort of like Ry Cooder with the “Buena Vista Social Club” idea and recordings back in the 90’s in Cuba. Thank you so much Brad!

  2. margarethallfineart · March 30

    Absolutely brilliant, Francisco. I really love Cuban music!

  3. spwilcen · March 30

    “cats and dogs hum it idly”!! How well this speaks of intense familiarity. Well done. Jackson Browne? A fave. His “Loadout” still evokes happy/sad memories of reckless youth in the guise of patriotism.

    • I’m glad you liked it SP. I really don’t know much a bout Jackson Brown, basically I remember only two songs “Running on Empty” and “Doctor My Eyes”, but I do know that he is certainly important in the US rock music world…

  4. cincinnatibabyhead · March 30

    Took a break from Cuturrufo to listen to this. Man did that make me feel good. Fantastic Francisco!

    • I thought it would CB! 😀

      • cincinnatibabyhead · March 31

        Beautiful! You seen ‘Buena Vista Social Club’?

      • Yeah, that was Ry Cooder’s project. It brought forth some pretty awesome artists…

      • cincinnatibabyhead · March 31

        Wim Wenders did the doc but Ry was the musical guy behind it. I loved the doc and the music. Pull it out regularly. The musicians were the stars.

      • Yeah, I have the CD and I too play it every once in a while when I really want to hear some good Cuban music, authentic and real. Some have already passed but when I lived in the states I saw some of them perform at the Broward County Auditorium. I think it was 2007 or 2008, cannot recall exactly. The live show included a lot of friends they brought by and ended with a jam session extraordinaire!
        All the best my friend,

      • cincinnatibabyhead · March 31

        There is a scene in the film where Cooder is sitting on a chair in an old gazebo by the ocean and he is listening to a couple musicians. He’s smoking a big cigar. I wanted to be him.
        Later CB

      • Sounds pretty relaxing…

  5. azurea20 · April 1

    Me ha encantado volver a oír esta canción que hacía tiempo no escuchaba. Gracias.

  6. Nice song! I can sing chorus!

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