This music came to me yesterday, Palm Sunday, on the Bell Pass trail. Although I had heard it before, I had not realized until now that it was a Cuban Guajira (dance, rhythm – like Habanera, for example). I had always thought Guantanamera was Mexican Mariachi melody.
I was wrong. Just as I was incorrect by assuming until recently that “Besame Mucho” was an Argentine tune (it’s actually the most famous Mexican song).
As for Guantanamera, the word… do you know what it means? A woman from Guantanamo (Cuba). Yes, the same place that Washington has made infamous in the last decade with its prison for alleged terrorists.
Back to the Cuban music, I had never recorded Guantanamera before. So this morning, I started playing it for the first time alongside a Latin All-Stars band that I had previously downloaded into my iTunes library. The improvisation went so well that by the early afternoon, I was ready to record it… first solo, on a Clavinova, and then with my new Guajira Band friends.
The video of the Guajira band you will see, by the way, is just that – a video. Pictures only. I removed the sound. It wasn’t even Guantanamera anyway. The recorded music you will hear comes entirely from my Clavinova.
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Here are some more still shots from that recording session..