Guantanamera was originally a song written in 1929 by José Fernández Díaz about a woman from Guantánamo he was attracted to but never saw again. The song became popular and is now considered Cuba’s most famous national song as it got promoted frequently on Fernández’s radio programs.
Interestingly enough, the song became a kind of social newspaper. Meaning that the song’s musical structure lent itself well to the creation of impromptu verses, created and sung on the spot. This is exactly how José Fernández Díaz would use the song in his radio show to share news on current events, when the song was the closer on the show.
Throughout the decades the song has been covered by several artists all around the world, starting in 1963 with Pete Seeger and again in 1966 by The Sandpipers. Celia Cruz’ rendition, the version we are sharing this month for our Throwback Tune of the Month, was released in 1967 as part of her album Bravo Celia Cruz.
Born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, in October 21, 1925, Celia Cruz was known as the “Queen of Salsa,” “La Guarachera de Cuba,” and “The Queen of Latin Music.” She earned 23 gold-albums and was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Celia died in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 2003 leaving us with a collection of amazingly fun songs to enjoy and dance to.
Now, show off your Latin spirit and go hit play, sí? Azúcar!