A Tribute to Faustino Oramas, the legendary Cuban composer and musician

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Commentary
Published Date: 
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Faustino Oramas (1911-2007), known as "El Guayabero de Cuba," was a composer, singer,  troubadour, and Cuban national treasure from Holguín, Oriente, Cuba. This little tribute contains the lyrics to his son "Ritmo Suave." The son, which gained popularity in Cuba in the 1930s, "combines the narrative Spanish canción and Spanish guitar with African rhythms," usually drums and other percussion instruments. The modern salsa is derived from the son
 
Faustino OramasThis wonderful music is from pre-Castro and pre-Revolutionary times. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 virtually ended the son in Cuba.* We in the free world cannot imagine the frustration suffered by artists like Faustino Oramas, who composed the son masterpieces "Ritmo Suave," "El Tumbaito," "Por Culpa de las Mujeres," "Oye el Consejo," as well as "Candela," the fabulous Cuban son which helped make the Buena Vista Social Club and its singer, Ibrahim Ferrer, famous worldwide!

The Cuban Revolution buried these artists in obscurity and penury and denied them the fruits of their labor. Even after the reconstituted Buena Vista Social Club surfaced, thanks to the efforts of Ry Cooder and U.S. dollars, members of the Buena Vista Social Club were not allowed to travel outside Cuba with their families, so they would not defect, and the money went to the Cuban government (i.e., the Castro brothers). Despite the political, economic, and social benefits of declaring for communism and the Cuban Revolution, only Compay Segundo and Omara Portuondo openly supported the Castro brothers' regime, and thus were rewarded with revolutionary elite privileges denied the others. Ibrahim Ferrer shined shoes; Faustino Oramas lingered in obscurity, as did Ruben Gonzales, the piano maestro. As you enjoy this Faustino Oramasmusic, also consider the fact that two years after their fabulously successful CD and documentary film, Ibrahim Ferrer still lived in his tiny dilapidated apartment with his unassuming wife and his little Santería altar. The same went for Faustino Oramas (photo, right), whose talents were finally acknowledged when in his nineties, he was again allowed to perform in his beloved Holguín.

Remaining members of the Buena Vista Social Club: Compay Segundo, Ruben Gonzalez, Ibrahim Ferrer,  Pio Leyva and Faustino Oramas, the last one, all died within 4 years of each other, 2003-2007.

Imagine also how the Castro brothers and their tragic communist revolution derailed and virtually destroyed the lives and careers of these artists, who were not able to exercise their talents over so many years and receive the financial rewards that successful artists in the free world take for granted. They suffered as did the rest of the Cuban people for a socialist workers' deceitful paradise.

For Faustino Oramas' funeral in 2007, Raúl Castro sent a floral wreath. More justly and meaninfully, the Castro brothers should have granted Cuban artists freedom of expression and financial reward for their labors —while alive on this earth! Faustino Oramas expressed these feelings in his songs; he wanted his rewards in this life, not in revolutionary funeral pyre!

Footnote

* In fact, a Miami singer composed a song entitled, El Son Se Fue de Cuba ("The son has left Cuba") lamenting how the Revolution ended the good and happy times, when the son was king. The son is the type of music orchestrated and sung by the Buena Vista Social Club in such super hits as "Chan Chan," "El Cuarto de Tula," "Carretero," and "Candela." This type of music virtually disappeared with communism! What foreign tourists experience in Cuba under communism is only a fraction of the music and delights of what it was and what it could have been had it not been for the disastrously tragic revolution! — Dr. Miguel Faria

Faustino Oramas and Los GuayaberosFaustino Oramas and the Lyrics to his "Ritmo Suave"

What follows are the lyrics of Faustino Oramas hit, "Ritmo Suave," as I hear them, and my personal translation into English. This son seems to encapsulate a personal anguish as well as predict the suffering of the Cuban people later under the yoke of communism, despite the Cuban suave rhythm of life on the surface. Faustino Oramas' singing style is el doble sentido ("double entendre") embedded in his Cuban troubadour narrative format. The musical group, Los Guayaberos, have resumed singing in Cuba in order to preserve the legacy and music of their mentor, Faustino Oramas (pictured above with group).

Sing along Ritmo Suave with two tabs: the written lyrics here and Faustino Oramas' singing (audio/video) in a second tab or window!

Ritmo Suave

Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar [Chorus x3]

Te lo digo vida mia pa gozar...
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
Este ritmo si se presta pa apretar-----Ey!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]

Me quisiste, yo te quise,
me olvidaste, te olvide
Me quisiste, yo te quise,
me olvidaste, te olvide...

Los dos tubimos la culpa,
tu primero, yo despues ----- Ey!

Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
Y el que la aprieta bailando va a pasar...

Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]

Que malo es ser como el humo,
se va para no volver!
Que malo es ser como el humo,
se va para no volver!

Pero mas malo es el querer,
cuando no quieren a uno...
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
En un solo ladrillito pa apretar!

Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
Este ritmo si se presta pa gozar ----- Ey!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]

Si me quieres, me das, si
Y si no me desengañas
Si me quieres, me das, si
Y si no me desengañas

Que en un corazón pequeño,
no pueden caber dos almas ----- Ey!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
Te lo digo vida mia pa gozar!

Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
En un solo ladrillito pa gozar!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]

Te lo digo vida mia pa gozar----- Oyelo!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar -- Chorus

Tengo un dolor en mi alma
que acaba con mi existencia,
Tengo un dolor en mi alma
que acaba con mi existencia

A Dios le pido clemencia,
que me devuelva la calma ----- Ey!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
En un solo ladrillito pa gozar!

Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
Este ritmo si se presta pa gozar----- Ey!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]

Te acuerdas cuando pusiste
tu mano sobre la mia,
Te acuerdas cuando pusiste
tu mano sobre la mia,

Y llorando me dijiste
que nunca me olvidarias ----- Ey!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
Este ritmo si se presta pa gozar!

Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
En un solo ladrillito pa gozar!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]

De la edad de quince años,
vengo delectando al mundo
sintiendo dolor profundo,
por las horas de mi vida

Mi madre vió mi por via,
y me dejo a mi destino
y dos sigue fue al camino,
que tu as querido seguir

Haber si puede vivir
la vida del peregrino...
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]
Despasitico mi vida pa gozar!
Que ritmo mas suave pa bailar  [Chorus]

English Translation

What a smooth rhythm to dance to [Chorus x3]

I tell you, my love, so we can enjoy it... [while we can!]
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
this rhythm is good to hold on tight...
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]

You loved me, I loved you
you forgot me, I forgot you;
you loved me, I loved you
you forgot me, I forgot you

It was the fault of both of us,
You first and then my own...
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
And holding her tight dancing I pass by...

What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]

How bad is to be like smoke,
it floats away and does not return,
but it is worse to love
when one is not loved...

What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
holding on tight on the little brick...
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
this rhythm is good to have fun... ----- Ey!

What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]

If you love me, give me
if not, don't disillusion me,
If you love me, give me,
if not, don't disillusion me...

That in a small heart
two souls can not coexist...--- Ey!
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
I tell you, my love, so we can enjoy it...

What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
holding on the little brick to dance to...
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]

I tell you, my love, so we can enjoy it...-----Listen!
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]

I have a pain in my soul
that is consuming my existence,
I have a pain in my soul
that is consuming my existence,

I ask God for clemency
that He restore my calm...----- Ey!
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
holding on the little brick to dance to...

What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
this rhythm is good to have fun...
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]

Do you remember when you placed
your hand over my hand,
Do you remember when you placed
your hand over my hand,

And crying you told me
you never would forget me...----- Ey!
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
this rhythm is good to have fun...

What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
holding on the little brick to dance to...
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]

Since the age of fifteen years
I have been entertaining the world,
feeling a deep pain
through the years of my life...

My mother saw me get on the road
and left me to my own destiny,
and I went on my way
to follow the path of life,

Hoping I can survive
the life of a wanderer...
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]
but slowly so I can enjoy my life...
What a smooth rhythm to dance to  [Chorus]

English translation of "Ritmo Suave" is courtesy of Dr. Miguel Faria

Video Archive

In our video archive, we have placed several videos of songs performed by Faustino Oramas or his group, Los Guayaberos, including "Ritmo Suave," "Oye el Consejo," and "Por Culpa de Las Mujeres," and "Amarren el Perro." In addition, we also have a video of Fransini Giraldo dancing a salsa!

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International. He is a former Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and Adjunct Professor of Medical History. Dr. Faria is the author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). He has written numerous articles on the blessings of liberty and the venalities of totalitarianism, collectivism, and communism — all posted at his website: www.haciendapub.com & www.drmiguelfaria.com.

The article can be cited as: Faria MA. A Tribute to Faustino Oramas, the legendary Cuban composer and musician. HaciendaPublishing.com, January 14, 2015. Available from: http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/tribute-faustino-oramas-legendary-cu...

Copyright ©2015 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

 

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Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature!

Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature 2016!
BBC, October, 13, 2016

US singer Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The 75-year-old rock legend received the prize "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

The balladeer, artist and occasional actor is the first songwriter to win the prestigious award.

The performer - who took his stage name from the poet Dylan Thomas - is the first American to win the award since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.

Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said Dylan had been chosen because he was "a great poet in the English speaking tradition: "For 54 years now he's been at it reinventing himself, constantly creating a new identity," she told reporters in Stockholm...
-----
Bravo for Bob Dylan! Watch his video, " No Direction Home" by Martin Scorcese listed in Classic movies and Documentaries:
[ http://www.haciendapublishing.com/classic-movies-and-documentaries ]--- MAF