Saturday, November 5, 2016

The true story of Guararey



                Photo of Roberto Baute Sagarra from Casa del Changüí in Guantanamo


The true story of the salsa anthem “El Guararey de Pastora” (the Shepherdess’ Complaint) and changüí, the genre that inspired many bands (from Orquesta Revé to Los Van Van, Ray Barretto to Típica ’73 and Guararé), begins in the poor, mountainous south-western region of Guantánamo, Cuba when the tres guitar player, itinerant troubadour and purveyor of the traditional music form known as the changüí, Roberto Baute Sagarra, composed the piece in relative anonymity in the early part of the 20th century. Sadly it was not registered or copyrighted, as was often the case in those times, which allowed the work to become part of the repertoire of his countryman Pedro Speck, who was another purveyor and carrier of the tradition of changüí. Speck was leader of the Grupo Changüí that released a record on Cuba’s state label Siboney in 1983, ¡Ahora Sí! (Speck, on vocals and maraca, was 75 at the time or the recording). Interestingly enough, in the midst of this beautiful “traditional” recording of very elemental guitar and percussion music that sounds unchanged from Colonial times, you can hear Speck on this record frequently using the Anglo expression “Yeah, yeah!”—which may come from the influence of the U.S. Naval base at Guantánamo or theBeatles, it’s hard to tell but it’s plainly there. “El Guararey de Pastora” does not feature on that record, though a later CD does have it.

Grupo Changüí Guantánamo at the Festival Nacional de Agrupaciones Folklóricas, La Habana 1962. From left to right: Arturo Latamblé (bongosero y director), José “Nino” Olivares (marímbula), Pedro Speck (cantante y maracas), Carlos Borromeo Planche “Cambrón” (guayo y cantante principal), y Reyes “Chito” Latamblé (tresero). 
(Photo: Archivo Centro Inciarte)

                                  

And so Pedro Speck and Roberto Baute Sagarra both performed the song from the 1940s until the 1970s, and it was never recorded for posterity by local radio or a state label at the time, as sometimes was the case with other rural folk music of the era. That might have been the end of it if the tune had never left the region, but in the 1970s, the story became complicated, when Juan Formell, director of the Havana-based Cuban dance orchestra Los Van Van, took this composition and added it to his “songo” repertoire of the ‘70s, where it acquired immense fame, being recorded in 1974 for the band’s third long play (Areito – LDS-3471). 



Formell has said he learned the song from Pedro Speck, who was passing through Havana in the early’70s; the tune stuck in Formell’s head for a time before he came up with the spare and funky organ/flute arrangement that all Cuban dancers subsequently made their go-to party anthem. Soon after, in 1975, Ray Barretto’s pianist Gil Lopez made his own mutated no-violins charanga arrangement, adding the hard-core Nuyorican touch, becoming a massive hit in it’s own right (Barretto, Fania Records – SLP 00486). Very few if any American Barretto fans had heard the original Van Van, and probably none knew of its rural roots in Guantánamo. Probably learned from a Van Van record acquired while on tour in Venezuela, Barretto made it the lead track on his 7th LP of the ‘70s. While Rubén Blades, himself of half Cuban ancestry, was one of the two vocalists on the song (the other was Puerto Rico’s Tito Gomez who took the lead), the composer was simply (as was so often the case) listed as some guy named “D. R.” aka Derechos Reservados, or Rights Reserved (ha ha).

                         

Since then of course the tune has traveled the world. And although the composition for a long time was attributed to Pedro Speck, there was eventually a legal suit brought in the Guantanamo Provincial Court in 1976, ruling in favor of its real author Roberto Baute Sagarra. In defense of the creator an exceptional witnesses was brought forth, Petronila Rouseaux, former wife of the musician, and with her testimony authorities learned an unexpected fact: the ‘pastora’ (shepherdess) in the song was none other than Pastora Yuani Sayú, better known to Latin music fans as “Pastorita” (who died in 2013 at the age of 97). The testimony of Petronila Rouseaux, at the time 94 years old, put an end to the dispute over the authorship of the song. But that wasn’t all.



Photo of Pastorita

According to Michelle White on Timba.com, “Pastora had a daughter who had caught the eye of Roberto Baute Sagarra, the  tresero of Changüí Guantánamo. He began a romance with her and Pastora was not happy with his attentions towards her daughter because Roberto, also known as Chito, was already married and 20 years older than the object of his affection. This was the source of Pastora’s guararey (anger) with her friend Chito and the inspiration for the song.”


Pastora Lluany Chauyous aka Yuani Sayú (b. 1916), the lady who inspired this changüí. (photo: Archivo Centro Inciarte).

Throwing a little more light on the subject, Martha Reyes Noa, in a post from Herencias Culturales, mentions that Pastora admitted “that at first, as every mother feels suspicious in these relationships, she suspected” Baute Segarra of having unclean motives “but in the end those” feelings were “dissolved” when she realized her daughter simply loved the changüí and wanted to learn “how to dance at the parties that were ranging” back then, some for “up to a week, from house to house.” Of course, Baute was there at almost all those changüís (a term that means lower class dance party), performing with his tres guitar and giving dance lessons, so Pastorita soon realized nothing more than that was going on.

Contradicting Noa’s telling slightly, White goes on to relate:

“At the time the song was written, Pedro Speck was the director of Changüí Guantánamo and he registered the rights to the song under his name. It wasn't until the popularity of Van Van's version that the subject of authorship became an issue. In June 1976 the court ruled in favor of Roberto Baute when Pastorita herself testified on his behalf. [Noa says it was Baute’s widow, Rouseaux]

Previously attributed to Speck or simply listed as DR, the song is now correctly attributed to Roberto Baute, although it was not officially registered with ACDAM under his name until 21 April 1981. However, I was told in Guantanamo that neither Speck nor Baute ever received any income from the recording or performances of other versions of the song.”

So many countless “traditional” authorless “folk” songs from “Wimoweh” (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”) to “Guantanamera” turn out to have real composers (Solomon Linda and Joseíto Fernández respectively) who were inspired by real events. The story behind “El Guararey de Pastora” and its author, Roberto Baute Sagarra, puts a face and name to the song that has inspired countless dancers, singers and musicians over the decades.

By Pablo E. Yglesias with help from Martha Reyes Noa and Michelle White, as well as the article "DEL CHANGÜÍ A LA SALSA Y MUCHO MÁS. GUANTÁNAMO EN LA ORBITA MUSICAL DEL CARIBE" by José Cuenca Sosa from Herencia Latina.



Elio Revé Matos, leader of Orquesta Revé (from which Formell "graduated to create Van Van),the man who converted the 'toques' (beats/hits) of the 'bongó changüisero' to the timbales (pailas). (photo: Archivo Centro Inciarte).

Monday, October 17, 2016

Birthday Tribute To Celia Cruz, La Guarachera Del Mundo


(FREE Music Concert!) 
On October 21, from 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. at The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, 61 W 62nd St, New York, New York 10023 3 talented female vocalists from Colombia, Cuba, and Japan (Nayibe, Anissa, & Yoko) join the high-octane, vibrant New York salseros of The Palladium Mambo All-Stars to celebrate the life and the global legacy ofCelia Cruz on what would have been the Queen of Salsa’s 91st birthday. DJ Brian kicks of the night at 7:00 pm and plays between and after the band’s two sets. Visual presentation by DJ Bongohead. More info here:  Presented in collaboration with the NYU Music and Social Change Lab. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 



GRATIS Artistas de Colombia, Cuba y Japón se unen con los musicos latinos del Palladium Mambo All-Stars de Nueva York, para celebrar la vida y el legado global de la guarachera de America para celebrar lo que seria el cumpleaños numero 91 de Celia Cruz. Presentado en colaboración con el NYU Music and Social Change Lab. Capacidad es limitada, se sugiere llegar temprano.

Saturday, October 15, 2016




The Unpredictable Sounds of Bareto

I know it's been a while, mi gente!

I want to highly recommend the latest album called Impredicible from the really great Peruvian band Bareto - and it is indeed "unpredictable"!! Very wide-ranging soundscontained therein! Each record they do tops their previous effort (I put a track from their Grammy-nominated previous CD Ves lo que quieres ver 


on my Rough Guide to Psychedelic Cumbia 



plus they did a great compendium of their last 10 years with 10 Años), 


and this is their most evolved outing to date. From chicha to reggae to psychedelic folk to electronica and places in between and beyond, the band crafts indescribably beautiful original soul vibrations, meditations and reflections on identity, representation, healing, madness, surface v.s. substance (and ancient v.s. modern), creating a work infused with the tropical and jungle roots of their first albums, but taking in other influences mirroring the refracted polarities of urban Peru  today. Bareto brings an incredibly diverse palette to a very satisfying release. Now if only they would do vinyl editions of their albums (hint)! Awesome CD packaging design by José Antonio Mesones and thanks to Press Junkie PR for getting the word out on this fab band in the USA! Let's hope they come this way soon!

Check them out here: http://www.bareto.net

Los sonidos impredecibles de Bareto



Álbum muy recomendable a partir de una muy buena banda llamada Bareto de Perú - Impredecible se llama - y de hecho es totalmente impredecible!! Muy bonito sonidos de amplio alcance! Cada disco compacto de ellos que hacen encabeza su esfuerzo anterior (pongo una pista de su CD anterior Ves lo que quieres ver - que fue nominado por un Grammy - en mi Rough Guide a Psychedelic Cumbia), y esta es su excursión más evolucionada hasta la fecha. De chicha a reggae de cumbia selvatica a folklor sicodelico a electronica y lugares en el medio y más allá, los oficios de la banda de una belleza indescriptible y original hecho de vibraciones del alma, meditaciones y reflexiones sobre la identidad, la representación, la curación, la locura, la superficie contra sustancias y lo antiguo contra la moderna, la creación de una obra impregnada de sabor tropical y de Pacha Mamá o Madre Selva como sus primeros esfuerzos ("Cumbia" y "Sodoma y Gamarra"), 




sino también reflejo de las polaridades refractadas de Perú urbano de hoy. Bareto trae una gama de colores muy variada a una edición muy satisfactoria. Ahora bien, si sólo se harían ediciones de acetato (o digo vinyl) en LP de180 g vinilo de sus álbumes (truco)! CD de increíble diseño por José Antonio Mesones y gracias a Press junkie pr para hacer correr la voz sobre esta banda fabulosa! Esperemos que vienen de esta costa del EEUU de una manera pronto!

Chequea ellos aquí: http://www.bareto.net

Tuesday, August 30, 2016



PRESS RELEASE    PRESS RELEASE    PRESS RELEASE   

BRIDGE TO HAVANA 

Video Celebration   - OLA FRESCA and Jose Conde + Special guest DJ BONGOHEAD
ARTS RIOT Burlington, VERMONT  - SATURDAY September 3, 2016
400 Pine Street, Burlington, VT 05401

In 1998, almost 20 years before the historic re-opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, Jose Conde wrote a song called “Puente a Mi Gente”(Bridge to My People), that lyrically visualizes a bridge “longer than 90 miles” connecting Cuba and Cuban Americans made simply of musical “clave” and positive energy.

Now in the wake of Obama’s diplomatic trip to Cuba, Jose Conde is preparing to launch a video for the song “Puente a Mi Gente” which he has been filming and recording for a year in New York, Miami, and Havana, and which contains the contributions from many Cuban musicians in the diaspora and on the island.

 The video and song are intended by Conde as a cultural bridge of benevolence between the diaspora and Cubans on the island with appearances by current and former members of Los Van Van - Juan Carlos Formell and Orlando Canto Valdez,
NY based Cuban singer and former member of NG La Banda Gerardo Contino, Havana based bolero songstress Danae Blanco, legendary Los Karachi founder/arranger/bassist (current NY musician)Pablo Moya, as well as musicians from Conde’s Ola Fresca band and others. Carlos Mateu a Havana native painter/dancer now based in NY is also featured with a team of his dancers in his choreography on Brooklyn Landings under the historic Brooklyn Bridge.

 The video and song have been completely recorded , filmed, edited, and arranged by Jose Conde and it will be released worldwide on Youtube and Vimeo this fall.

 This Saturday, come join OLA FRESCA and Jose Conde as they celebrate the upcoming video release for PUENTE A MI GENTE and build a BRIDGE TO HAVANA at ARTS RIOT, from VERMONT TO CUBA!  Joining the band on this evening will be DJ BONGOHEAD spinning Cuban Classics and Salsa. DJ BONGOHEAD aka Pablo Yglesias is a noted music writer and cultural curator who has curated compilations for labels such as Rough Guide and Vampi Soul and he is also co owner of Peace and Rhythm Records.

OLA FRESCA is a Brooklyn based band that plays original funky Cuban salsa. Jose Conde writes, arranges, sings, leads the band, and dances. The band is recently released it’s 3rd  album ELIXIR to overwhelming world wide acclaim.
Doors open at 8PM. Tickets are $10 in advance $15 the day of the show. Check out the event here:

Press inquiries: pipikirecords@gmail.com

Friday, August 26, 2016


OLA FRESCA w. DJ BONGOHEAD 
At ArtsRiot, Burlington, VT, Sept. 3, 2016 
8:00 PM DOORS - 9:00 PM SHOW 
$10 | $15 DAY OF SHOW ALL AGES 
"A Bridge To Havana" 
Check out the ArtsRiot listing here

Featuring Cuban roots, Nuyorican salsa and more! Ola Fresca (translates as "Fresh Wave") makes musical bridges connecting Havana with the USA; mixing son Cubano and hard-core trombone salsa with Cuban timba, songo, salsa narrativa (poetic, narrative lyrics with a message), even a bit of funk, plus some back country guajiro music, with a dab of cha-cha-cha and Boricuan bomba y plena to boot! Think Willie Colón and Rubén Blades meet Los Van Van, with some Meters, Arsenio Rodriguez and Cortijo thrown in the stew for good measure! 

Ola Fresca, in its first 10 years and after releasing 3 acclaimed, award winning albums (under the direction and creative energy of Jose Conde), has evolved a swinging, fearless, diverse, original tropical Latin sound with global reach that comes directly from the rich bubbling melting-pot of Brooklyn, NewYork! Ola Fresca puts an “emphasis on songs with characters, wordplay and mild social ideas...good for dancing and thinking!” —NY TIMES 

And last but not least, I, DJ Bongohead, will be spinning an all-vinyl Latin dance set before and after the band. BTW - it's my birthday so come help me celebrate!! Plus you can purchase the vinyl and CD release of "Elixir" - Ola Fresca's most recent release (the vinyl is 180 gram, features a deluxe insert with bilingual lyrics, and it's put out by our very own label, Peace & Rhythm).

Check out Ola Fresca here

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Peace & Rhythm Presents: Rumba Psicodélica
with DJs Andujar, Studebaker Hawk & Bongohead at The Root Cellar, downtown Greenfield's newest music venue. Join us on Wednesday, August 17th for some vinyl DJs spinning funky, international grooves! This event is FREE ADMISSION, 21+. Doors open at 8, music starts pumping at 9.

Representing the Peace & Rhythm crew, Andujar, Studebaker Hawk & Bongohead return the Rumba Psicodélica all-vinyl dance party to Greenfield. Dance to funky international music, including afrobeat, highlife, dub, cumbia, Anatolian rock, Bollywood, Afro-funk, psych-salsa, West African disco, Cape Verdean funaná, Puerto Rican bomba, boogaloo, 70s African rock, samba, Bajan spouge, Amazonian chicha, Caribbean dancefloor-jazz, Arabesque, Latin funk, palenque/champeta sounds and good ole JB-inspired funk. All from vinyl.

Peace & Rhythm is a vinyl record label founded by DJs Andujar, Bongohead and associates. Pressing glorious independent music on vinyl. Funk, world and jazz are the launchpoints. Peace & Rhythm are excited to partner with The Root Cellar on this weekly series. For more info visit www.peaceandrhythm.com

The Root Cellar brings downtown Greenfield fresh, quality music five nights a week, including funk, rock, jambands, jazz, reggae, afrobeat, latin, folk, DJs and anything else! Quality, diverse selection of beverages (including the namesake house Root Cellar Pale Ale by Stoneman), hand-crafted cocktails, non-alcoholic options such as kombucha and cold-brewed coffee from the tap, outdoor seating, great art and a killer sound system! A beautiful spot for your dancing, listening and socializing pleasure!


10 Fiske Ave, below Mesa Verde. This venue is wheelchair accessible via elevator.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Ultimate world mash-up party band to play Western MA! Red Baraat, 3/5/16

My friends I don't usually like to send out emails hyping stuff I'm involved in but this time I feel really strongly about getting the word out & not everyone is on social media so here goes... and pls. forgive if you already know about this, but it's for a good cause (revitalizing culture in Turners Falls & the surrounding area through the Shea Theater Arts Center)...

FRIDAY, MARCH 4TH 8 PM
THE SHEA THEATER ARTS CENTER, Turners Falls
RED BARAAT & DJ BONGOHEAD

Red Baraat is a really wild group that mashes up all sorts of groovy party music - from bhangra to Balkan/New Orleans brass, from cumbia to classic D.C. go-go, plus the odd surf instrumental and hip-hop flava thrown in for spice, not to mention bits of electro & Bollywood to keep it fresh - and they make it work! Not only that, they make you bump your rump to the funk the whole time! They were mos def a hit this summer at the Green River Festival, if you caught that. With a strong foundation in Punjabi folkloric traditions like dhol drumming and bhangra melodies from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, as well as a positive message in their lyrics, Red Baraat manages to be both original and somehow familiar, ancient and future, fun and deep, representin' from Brooklyn to Chandigarh. I'll be playing all sorts of related vinyl before and after, for your dancing pleasure as well. Plus it's part of an awesome 3 day series, so come see the whole thing if you're so inclined.

Please pass along to your friends!

Shea site:
http://sheatheater.org/

Tickets are already on sale:
http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1071349