Sunday, August 23, 2015
The song “Guantanamera” has an interesting history. Originally written circa 1930 by Cuban musician and radio host Joseito Fernández about an encounter with a woman from Guantánamo (“La Guantanamera”), the song’s lyrics kept changing. Later, Cuban composer Julián Orbón noticed that the song matched some poems by the nationalist leader José Martí (1853-1895) about his love for Cuba and its people. So, Orbón set Martí’s poems to Fernández’s music, retaining only the original chorus. Popularized by Pete Seeger and others, the Martí lyrics, sung in this video, are the best known. That’s why the chorus is about a woman from Guantánamo but the verses have nothing to do with such a person.