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Nro 115 de Jiribilla dedicado a Compay

compayx.jpg (11541 bytes)




Compay on Mambo Kings

Compay Segundo, the world’s oldest and most famous ‘trovador’,
Granma, 6/15/00

Compay Segundo, el trovador más viejo y famoso del mundo
Granma, 6/15/00

News on Compay, 5/16

'99 US Tour


Don Francisco Repilado
"Compay Segundo"

The 90-year-old Cuban guitarist and singer introduced to much of the world on Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club is back with his own album. While Segundo uses his own group here, the disc has the same combination of delicate acoustic guitars, complex Afrocaribbean rhythms, and relaxed, impromptu feel as Buena Vista. Segundo has chosen songs from his first heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, and perfectly captures their classic flavor without making them sound like museum pieces. While less varied than the all-star Cooder project, the album has lead vocals by several legendary Cuban singers, occasional, understated horns, and surprisingly appropriate guest shots by the revolutionary bard Silvio Rodriguez and flamenco guitarist Raimundo Amador. Segundo lets the guests shine, but it is his harmonies and deft guitar work that holds the disc together, and his flawless musicianship thoroughly justifies this more expansive showcase. --Elijah Wald

We have the Buena Vista Social Club film on video and DVD



December 20, 1999, New York -- Due to popular demand, Elektra records is proud to announce the special re-release of The Mambo Kings Original Soundtrack. This labor of love from Elektra will include brand new artwork, inspired by the tremendous influence of the music from this seminal collection, as well as new re-workings of two original tracks. The new musical efforts include a remix of the title song (featuring Antonio Banderas) with a new vocal by the Buena Vista Social Club's Compay Segundo, and a cover of the celebrated "Ran Kan Kan" featuring a 2000 infusion from Puerto Rican superstar Olga Tañon.

Compay Segundo is heralded by many as one of the "fathers" of Cuban music. The former bandleader's magic touch can be heard in contemporary flamenco, salsa, and rock n'roll. The 93-year-old legend came to national attention following his pivotal turn on the documentary album Buena Vista Social Club, which captured many of Cuba's legendary musical veterans in the twilight of their careers. The pioneering songwriter and guitarist (he invented the seven stringed instrument, the armonico) recently released the universally hailed Calle Salud on Nonesuch records. Segundo's contribution to the new The Mambo Kings soundtrack completes the circle of Latin musical influence, which has ignited and enriched American pop music for more than half a century.

The salsa tinged The Mambo Kings is the perfect vehicle for Puerto Rican songstress Olga Tañon. She first became the female merengue sensation in 1992, the year of the original soundtrack's release. Her critically acclaimed debut album, Sola, sold more than 100,000 units, launching a career that has seen the singing sensation sell close to 3 million units worldwide. The Grammy nominated WEA Latina artist continued to break records with the release of Te Acordaras De Mi in 1999, which topped most Latin charts throughout the world.

The original soundtrack album, released in 1992, was one of the major catalysts for the resurging popularity of authentic Latin music in the U.S., and has gone on to sell close to 700,000 units. The soundtrack created mainstream exposure for many Latin superstars including Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Beny Moré, Arturo Sandoval and Latin rock pioneers Los Lobos. Recognized by critics as "the finest collection of Latin music ever released," the original The Mambo Kings soundtrack was ahead of its time in not only in its cultural impact, but also by the diverse array of stars represented on the 16-track collection. Now with two additional stars joining this classic work, this special February 1, 2000 release kicks off the millennium with some of the most memorable salsa, merengue, Latin jazz swing, and heartfelt balladeering ever assembled on any disc.


compayx.jpg (11541 bytes) Lo Mejor De La Vida
1. El Camison De Pepa
2. Tu Querias Jugar
3. Desdichado
4. La Ternera
5. Para Vigo Me Voy
6. Fidelidad
7. Cuba Y Espana
8. Es Mejor Vivir Asi
9. Frutas Del Caney
10. La Juma Del Ayer
11. Linda Graciela
12. La Pluma
13. Juliancito (Tu Novia Te Boto)
14. Son De Negros En Cuba

Click for pricing & to order  ==>

buenavistax.jpg (5214 bytes) Buena Vista Social Club
Ry Cooder
1. Chan Chan
2. De Camino A La Vereda
3. El Cuarto De Tula
4. Pueblo Nuevo
5. Dos Gardenias
6. Y Tu Que Has Hecho?
7. Veinte Anos
8. El Carretero
9. Candela
10. Amor De Loca Juventud
11. Orgullecida
12. Murmullo
13. Buena Vista Social Club
14. La Bayamesa

Click here for samples notes.gif (95 bytes), pricing & to order  ==>

Schedule Japan 2000 (updated 11/5/00)


Osaka, JPN

Kouseinenkin Hall


Fukuoka, JPN

ACROS Symphony Hall


Nagoya, JPN

Nagoya Kokaido


Tokyo, JPN

NK Hall


Tokyo, JPN

Shibuya Kokaido


Tokyo, JPN

Shibuya Kokaido


08/25/00 Boulder, CO Chautauqua Amphitheatre
08/26/00 Santa Fe, NM Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre
08/30/00 Saratoga, CA Villa Montalvo Garden
08/31/00 Los Angeles, CA John Anson Ford Theatre
09/02/00 Portland, OR Portland Art Museum
09/03/00 Seattle, WA Bumbershoot Festival
09/06/00 Raleigh, NC Museum Of Art
09/08/00 New York, NY Town Hall
09/09/00 Boston, MA Berklee Performance Center.
09/12/00 Washington, DC Warner Theatre
09/14/00 St. Louis, MO Sheldon Concert Hall
09/16/00 Detroit, MI Festival Of The Arts
09/18/00 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall
09/20/00 Philadelphia, PA Mann Music Center

For updates, see

'99 US Tour (Updated 10/3)

Check venues for tickets, times

Date City State Venue
11/03/99 New York NY Town Hall
11/05/99 Boston MA Berklee Performance Ctr.
11/07/99 San Francisco CA Herbst Theatre
11/07/99 Oakland CA Paramount Theatre
11/11/99 West Hollywood CA Conga Room
11/12/99 West Hollywood CA Conga Room
11/14/99 Medford OR Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater

This tour is being managed by International Music Network (IMN).  It is separate from the tour featuring his fellow musicians on the Buena Vista CD, Ibrahim Ferrer and Ruben Gonzalez. We have a page on IMN at

'99 Europe Tour

Date Venue Country
26.04.1999 LOERRACH, Burgruine Germany
29.04.1999 MAINZ, Phoenixhalle Germany
01.05.1999 RECKLINGHAUSEN, Festspielhaus Germany
11.06.1999 CH-ZUERICH, Kaufleuten Switzerland

News on Compay


MEXICO CITY.- Cuban musician Compay Segundo came home yesterday after a busy tour in Mexico, where he enchanted a public that rewarded him with delirious applause, danced to his rhythmic Cuban "Son" and were impressed by his vitality.

La Jornada, one of the most influential Mexican newspapers, published a large photo of the ninety-two-year-old charismatic musician in an article titled "Sol, Son y Salsero en el Zocalo" (Sun, Son and Salsa in Zocalo Square), Mexico City's main plaza.

In Zocalo, or Constitution Plaza, over 15,000 people delighted in listening to the Chan Chan songwriter - the song "Chan Chan" made Compay Segundo world famous. Even 'though the acoustics were bad and it was very hot in the plaza, Compay Segundo and his Habana Ensemble captivated the Mexicans with his repertoire, as he did in a packed National Auditorium on May 6.

During his two-week stay in Mexico he performed in Gudalajara and on various stages in the Federal District where the veteran Cuban Son-singer moved audiences, mainly because he feels the music as if he were 20 years old.

"Thanks Compay, you bring Son to life," is the way press described the performance of this living Cuban musical legend who stirs the audience to the point of screaming his name and begging for just one more song, while he points at them saying "Please, you will make me cry." AJS/CCS

Compay Segundo, the world’s oldest and most famous ‘trovador’ de las montañas
Granma International, 6/15/00

• From the mountains to fame • ‘I hope to reach 100 years and ask for an
extension’ • ‘I’m still a simple person, as if I had just begun’

BY RAFAEL LAM (Prensa Latina special service)

COMPAY SEGUNDOHAVANA.- Cuban Compay Segundo (Máximo Francisco Repilado Muñoz) is the world’s oldest and most famous singer of the traditional music known as trova.

Born in 1907, he has the sweet perfume of age. He comes from the line of traditional trova singers in Santiago de Cuba, the cradle of the son and the bolero. He has the look of a mischievous boy and the manner of a British lord. He’s more fashionable than pop stars Madonna and Michael Jackson.

There have been many trovadores, but Compay is myth, a living legend. During one of his short stays in Havana—because nowadays he’s practically always traveling—Francisco Repilado discussed almost a century of Cuban music and life as a Cuban musician.

 What was the beginning of this rebirth of Compay Segundo, ‘trova’ and ‘son’?

In 1992, a favorable environment for trova and traditional son began to emerge in Spain, and they invited old, respected musicians to perform there. Some farsighted record companies began reissuing collections of old son recordings, and this created more interest. Europe was tired of strident electronic sounds and people started looking backwards, looking for the essence of acoustic, original music.

 When did Compay Segundo come on the Spanish scene?

I joined in 1994, in an encounter between the Cuban son and Spanish flamenco, organized by the Seville city government.

 But when was Compay Segundo’s big moment?

In 1995, when Santiago Auserón released a Compay Segundo anthology. And the boom was consecrated with the Grammy for the record Buena Vista Social Club, in 1997, within the category of traditional music.

 How did the boom affect you?

Just imagine, it was like a bomb. We jumped from the mountains to fame, we traveled half the world, we went on illustrious stages and princes invited us to grand parties. But I tell you, I’m still a simple person, as if I were just beginning. That simplicity and naturalness is what they like about us. I still sing to all Cubans, as I did before, during my youth, all over Cuba.

Let’s do a retrospective, go back to those times of childhood, adolescence, illusions.

When I was born in the mining town of Siboney, near Santiago de Cuba, in 1907, it was the beginning of the postwar period and everything was very poor. Most of the music heard was from Europe. From Cuba, the danzón was gaining strength, you could hear habaneras, guacharitas, congas and some rumba. There were also ballads in the genre called trova, and boleros.

They were very romantic times. We tipped our hats to the young women, and if you liked one of them you would toss your hat on the ground. If she liked you too, she would step on part of the hat, just the brim. But if she didn’t like you, she’d step all over the hat, demolish it. I transmit that setting, which the public perceives and enjoys.

Tell me about your experiences with so many legendary figures.

I made contact with Ñico Saquito in Santiago de Cuba and we started a quintet. We played at the soirées, and they offered us yam with cod, the trovadores’ food, and also roast pork with fried bananas and a lot of Cuban rum.

Miguel Matamoros was a neighbor of mine. He was an elegant dark-skinned man who reminded me of Gardel. He was the king of the son, and that was why I joined his group. I saw Benny Moré wandering around the streets and bars of Old Havana, and later we worked together with Matamoros. Nobody sang like him, he was the best in Cuban music. There will never be anyone else like him.

In 1938 I formed the Hatuey quartet with Lorenzo Hierrezuelo, as well as Marcelino Guerra (Rapidney) and Evelio Machín, brother of Antonio Machín, that ambassador of Cuban music in Spain. In 1949 Hierrezuelo and I formed a duo which lasted until 1955. That’s when I sang harmony on those classic songs "Macusa," "Mi son oriental" (My Son from Eastern Cuba), "Los barrios de Santiago" (The Santiago Neighborhoods), "Yo canto en el llano" (I Sing on the Plains).

 And the compositions¼

"Macusa" is the song I dedicated to my first girlfriend, at age 15. It is about indecision in love, love that is over before it begins. It is a lyrical song for a woman who is still alive and is still my friend in Santiago de Cuba. It’s one of Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez’ favorite songs.

These days, some argue that "Chan Chan," which only has two chords, is the most played Cuban song, even more than "Guantanamera."

In France, my song is so popular that when they make a toast, instead of saying, "Chin chin," they say "Chan chan." People cry and everything. You know, songs have their mysteries, their charms, their witchcraft. It’s not an academic matter, it’s magic. Do you realize that young people in Cuba and Europe, who had forgotten traditional music and only thought about rock, have turned their eyes toward the music of their grandparents? It’s incredible.

With the passage of time, the second voice line has been lost, along with those rich voices of the ’40s and ’50s.

Young people don’t want to be second to anyone. Everyone wants to be an overnight star. Look how many years I had to wait, how many roads I had to travel, how many songs I had to sing. And now I’m just beginning, never ending.

Let’s analyze the second voice.

Second voices are natural, free, without defined movements. The second voice par excellence in Cuba was the remarkable trova singer Sindo Garay, and he was beyond comparison. Listen to "El huracán y la palma" (The Hurricane and the Palm Tree), the nonlinear way that Sindo Garay combined his voice with the lead singer. It’s worth studying.

You’ve also made contributions to the sound of the guitar, your beloved Trilina, as Ñico Saquito called it.

I created a new string combination. It’s the six-string guitar in which I repeat the G string, to achieve a more harmonic sound. That’s why it’s called armónico.

Do you have a philosophy of life?

Everyone should have a philosophy for living better. I am a scholar of life. Every night before I go to sleep, I analyze every detail of what I did that day. I evaluate things and people, which helps me avoid mistakes. I don’t sit in the corner waiting for death: death has to pursue me. I’m going strong. I hope to reach 100 and ask for an extension, just like my grandmother did.

 What gives you pleasure in life, and what are some of your secrets?

In addition to the foods I already described, since I’m from the coast I love seafood. I’m going to reveal a secret: drink lamb meat soup. It will make you strong. As far as pleasures, you’ve got to have limits. You shouldn’t have too much of good things, so you’ll always have a desire for more and you won’t get bored. I have a few drinks of rum and I’ve been smoking since I was a kid, when my grandmother taught me. Besides, that was one of my jobs, working in the Montecristo and H. Upmann cigar factories. My favorite cigar: H. Upmann No. 4.

What was it like to work with the king of French singing, Charles Aznavour?

It was a great experience. We recorded the CD Calle Salud (Salud Street) has his song "Dying of Love," which won the National Music Prize in Spain and was a gold record.

 And what about the audience with the Pope in the Vatican?

That was the dream I had always had, to sing for the Pope. It was on Jubilation Day, for the sick. I wish health for all in my country.

 Any preview for what’s left of 2000?

The summer tour of Europe and the United States, cutting my next record with the song "Las flores de la vida" (Flowers of Life), and having another child. What do you think

Compay Segundo, el trovador más viejo y famoso del mundo
Granma, 6/15/00

• De las montañas a la fama • "Espero llegar a los cien años y pedir
prórroga" • "Sigo siendo sencillo, como si estuviera empezando"

POR RAFAEL LAM —servicio exclusivo de Prensa Latina

Compay SegundoLA HABANA.— El cubano Compay Segundo (Máximo Francisco Repilado Muñoz) es el trovador más viejo y famoso del mundo.

Nacido en 1907, tiene el dulce perfume de lo antiguo. Hereda el abolengo de los trovadores tradicionales de Santiago de Cuba, cuna del son y del bolero. Posee la mirada de adolescente maldito, pero la compostura de un lord inglés. Está más de moda que las estrellas del pop: Madonna y Michael Jackson.

Trovadores ha habido muchos, pero Compay es el mito, la leyenda viviente. Vamos a rastrear con el señor Francisco Repilado, en una de sus cortas estancias en La Habana —pues últimamente está casi siempre actuando en el exterior—, casi un siglo de música cubana, una vida musical.

— ¿Cómo se inicia este nuevo renacer de Compay Segundo, la trova y el son?

— En 1992 comienza a crearse en España un ambiente favorable para la trova y el son tradicional e invitan a viejos y respetables músicos. Algunos disqueros avisados y con luz larga empiezan a reeditar colecciones de discos viejos de son. Eso va generando una curiosidad. Europa estaba agotada de los sonidos de las estridencias electrónicas y la gente va echando la mirada hacia atrás, en busca de la esencia de las flores, de la música natural, original.

— ¿Cuándo entra Compay Segundo en el escenario español?

— Yo me integro en 1994 en el encuentro entre el son cubano y el flamenco, que organiza la Diputación de Sevilla.

— Pero, el gran momento de Compay Segundo justamente cuándo lo debemos situar.

— Se alcanza cuando en 1995 Santiago Auserón edita la antología de Compay Segundo. Y el boom se logra con el Premio Grammy, con el disco Buena Vista Social Club, en 1997, dentro de la categoría de música tradicional.

— ¿Cómo recibe el boom?

— Imagínate, es como un bombardeo, saltamos de las montañas a la fama, recorrimos medio mundo, nos paramos en los escenarios más exigentes y príncipes nos invitan a sus grandiosas fiestas. Pero te digo que yo sigo siendo sencillo, como si estuviera empezando. Precisamente nos aprecian por esa sencillez y naturalidad. Yo le sigo cantando a todos los cubanos, como lo hice, en tiempo de juventud, por toda Cuba.

— Vamos a hacer una retrospectiva, para remontarnos a aquellos tiempos de niñez, de juventud, de ilusiones.

— Cuando yo nací, en el pueblo minero de Siboney, Santiago de Cuba, de 1907, comenzaba la etapa de posguerra, todo era muy pobre. La música que se escuchaba en su mayoría venía de Europa. De Cuba se iba imponiendo el danzón, se escuchaban habaneras, guarachitas, congas y algunas rumbitas. No faltaban las canciones trovadorescas, los boleros.

"Eran tiempos muy románticos, saludábamos con el sombrero a las señoritas, y si una te gustaba, le echabas el sombrero al suelo. Si ella te correspondía, pisaba una parte del ala del sombrero, el ala na'ma. Y cuando no te quería, se acabó el sombrero. Yo transmito esa atmósfera, que el público percibe y disfruta."

— Cuénteme la experiencia artística con tantas figuras legendarias.

— A "Ñico Saquito" lo contacté en Santiago de Cuba, hicimos un quinteto, tocábamos en las peñas, nos ofrecían ñame con bacalao —comida de trovadores—, también macho (cerdo) asado con plátanos fritos (tostones) y mucho ron cubano. "Miguel Matamoros fue vecino mío, en La Habana, un indio gallardo que se daba aires de Gardel. Era el rey del son, por eso me uno a su conjunto. A Benny Moré lo vi trotando por las calles y bares de La Habana Vieja, después trabajamos juntos con Matamoros. Cantaba como nadie, es lo máximo de Cuba en la música, nunca habrá nadie como él. Con Lorenzo Hierrezuelo formé en 1938 el cuarteto Hatuey, integrado también por Marcelino Guerra (Rapindey) y Evelio Machín, hermano de Antonio, ese embajador de la canción cubana en España. En 1949 Hierrezuelo y yo hacemos el dúo, que permaneció hasta 1955. Es ahí donde yo le hago la segunda con aquellas antológicas canciones: Macusa, Mi son oriental, Los barrios de Santiago, Yo canto en el llano.

— Y sobre sus composiciones...

Macusa es la canción que dediqué a mi primera novia quinceañera. Es una composición que trata el tema de las indecisiones amorosas, de los amores muertos apenas nacidos. Una canción llena de idilio, para una mujer que todavía vive y sigue siendo mi amiga allá en Santiago de Cuba. Esa es una de las preferidas del Premio Nobel colombiano Gabriel García Márquez.

— Algunos actualmente han llegado a asegurar que el Chan Chan,

con sólo dos acordes, es la canción de Cuba más difundida en estos momentos, superando a la Guajira Guantanamera.

— Mira tú, que en Francia cuando van a brindar, en vez de chin chin, ahora dicen chan chan, por mi canción que tanto ha gustado. La gente llora y todo. Tú sabes que las canciones tienen su misterio, su encanto, su hechizo. Eso no es un asunto de catedráticos, sino de magia. ¿Tú te imaginas que la juventud de Cuba y de Europa, que tenía olvidada la música tradicional, que solamente pensaba en la música rock, ahora vuelva sus ojos sobre sus abuelos? Eso es un fenómeno.

— Con el paso del tiempo, la voz segunda se ha ido perdiendo... Esas voces "gordas" de las décadas de 1940, 1950.

— Los jóvenes no quieren hacerle "la segunda" a nadie, todos quieren ser estrellas de la noche a la mañana, mira yo cuántos años tuve que esperar, cuántos caminos tuve que recorrer, en cuántas serenatas, saraos y guateques tuve que cantar. Y aquí estoy empezando, nunca terminando.

— Vamos a hacer un análisis de la voz segunda.

— Las voces segundas son naturales, libres, sin movimientos definidos. Voz segunda por excelencia en Cuba, el genio trovador Sindo Garay, algo fuera de comparación. Escucha y observa El huracán y la palma, la manera aleatoria, no lineal de cantar Sindo Garay, algo digno de estudio.

— Usted también hace sus aportes en la sonoridad de su guitarra, su querida "trilina", como le llamaba Ñico Saquito.

— Yo decidí crear un armónico de siete cuerdas. Consiste en una guitarra con seis cuerdas y repito la cuerda sol, para lograr un sonido más armónico. De ahí su nombre de armónico.

— ¿Tiene alguna filosofía para vivir?

— Toda persona debe tener una filosofía para vivir mejor: Soy un estudioso de la vida, analizo detenidamente en la cama lo que hice cada día. Estudio las cosas y la gente, lo cual me evita caer en fallos. No espero en un rincón la muerte, ella tiene que perseguirme. Yo voy sacando candela, espero llegar a los 100 años y pedir prórroga, como hizo mi abuela.

— Sus placeres y gustos en la vida, y alguno de sus secretos...

— Además de las comidas criollas de los trovadores que ya te describí, como que soy de la costa, adoro los mariscos. Te voy a revelar un secreto: Utiliza el caldo de cocote de carnero, que te dará vitalidad. Para los placeres hay que tener medida, de lo bueno no se debe probar mucho, que siempre te quede el deseo que te dé ánimos a volver a probarlo y no te aburra. Tomo algunos traguitos de ron y fumo desde niño, enseñado por mi abuela. Además, ése fue uno de mis oficios, en la fábrica de Montecristo y H. Upman. Mi tabaco preferido: H. Upman No. 4.

— ¿Cómo fue la experiencia con el rey de la canción francesa, Charles Aznavour?

— Fue una gran experiencia. En el disco Calle salud grabamos su obra Morir de amor, que obtuvo premio nacional de música en España y Disco de Oro.

— El encuentro con el Papa en el Vaticano, ¿cómo lo valora?

— Eso fue un sueño que me propuse, cantarle al Papa, se concibió en el Día de Jubileo, por el enfermo. Deseo para mi país salud para todos.

— ¿Algún adelanto para lo que queda del 2000?

— La gira de verano por Europa y los Estados Unidos, grabar el próximo disco, con el tema de Las flores de la vida y tener otro hijo, ¿qué tú crees?


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