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Alto Songo - words in Spanish

Alto Songo - words in English

EUGENE GODFRIED
CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE!

ALTO SONGO - Son in popular culture and history: resistance and liberation

Son music accomplished its duty by ensuring that notable occurrences of interest to the masses of people could never be forgotten. More than anything else, the genre Son Montuno deals with relevant questions for people of African descent and the humble.

"Alto Songo", "Heights of Songo," commemorates an event that humanity should never forget: the 1912 Massacre. That cruel exercise by the then existing political system in Cuba, under President José Miguel Gomez, physically eliminated a countless amount of people of color in La Maya, Guantánamo and all over Cuba.

During the days of May, 1912, La Maya was set on fire, especially by the business people of european descent who aspired to draw benefits from the insurance companies. "Let the fire brigade come down the hill!" So, the firemen had to come down all the way from the Heights of Songo to extinguish the fire in La Maya!

The composer of Alto Songo is Luis "Lilí" Martinez Griñan, a man of "el pueblo abajo,"the people below," and a native of Guantánamo. He well understood the redemptive role son played in Cuban culture. A rare photograph is reproduced below the words to this song.

ALTO SONGO, SE QUEMA LA MAYA(see English translation below)top

Género: son montuno
Coro:
Alto Songo se quema La Maya
Alto Songo 4x

Guia:
Que venga la bomba

Coro:
Alto Songo se quema La Maya
Alto Songo

Guia:
La bomba del cerro

Coro:
Alto Songo se quema La Maya
Alro Songo

Guia:
En Guantánamo nací

Coro:
Alto Songo

Guia
En Santiago fue lechero

Coro:
Alto Songo

Guia:
En Placeta carbonero

Coro:
Alto Songo

Guia:
En Cienfuego boticario

Coro:
Alto Songo

Guia:
En Cardenas funerario

Coro:
Alto Songo

Guia
En mi Cuba caminante

Coro:
Alto Songo

Guia
Y ahora que en la Habana estoy

Coro:
Alto Somgo

Guia:
Yo me guio de cantante
Alto Songo se quema la Maya

Juega Liviano (tresero)

Coro:
Alto Songo
se quema la Maya
La Maya 7x

Alto Songo se quema la Maya
La Maya


ALTO SONGO (Translation)top

Genre: son montuno
Chorus:
Alto Songo La Maya is burning
Alto Songo 4x

Lead:
Let the fire brigade come

Chorus:
Alto Songo La Maya is burning
Alto Songo

Lead:
The fire brigade on the hill

Chorus:
Alto Songo La Maya is burning
Alto Songo

Lead:
I was born in Guantánamo

Chorus:
Alto Songo

Lead
In Santiago I was a milkman

Chorus:
Alto Songo

Lead:
In Placeta charcoalman

Chorus:
Alto Songo


Lead:
In Cienfuegos pharmacist

Chorus:
Alto Songo

Lead:
In Cardenas undertaker

Chorus:
Alto Songo

Lead
In my Cuba a traveller

Chorus:
Alto Songo

Lead
And, now that I am in La Havana

Chorus:
Alto Somgo

Guia:
I go along as a singer
Alto Songo se quema la Maya

Play it on/Do your thing, Liviano (tresero)

Chorus:
Alto Songo
La Maya is burning
La Maya 7x

Alto Songo La Maya is burning
La Maya




LUIS "LILÍ" MARTINEZ GRIÑAN,
top Guantanamero.
Pianist, arranger, and composer
Composer of Alto Songo

Luis Martínez Griñan is forever the musician of "el pueblo de abajo," "the people below," and understood his sonero role as redeemer. Generations of sincere men and women, lovers of authentic Cuban music, will always follow his example. 


FELIX CHAPPOTTÍN LAGE, man of confidence of Arsenio Rodriguez, René Alvarez Miguelito Cuní, and Luis Martinez Griñan

 

Popular culture & history
Resistance & liberation

Eugène Godfried
Journalist/ Socio-cultural worker / Community Organizer
Guantánamo, 2/22/2004

See Eugène Godfried's page

Email: eugeneg@afrocubaweb.com

top

This article © 2004 Eugène Godfried

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