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Bebo Valdés, the father of Afro-Cuban jazz. Posted by on Mar 23, 2013 in Spanish Culture, Videos

Ayer sufrimos una nueva pérdida relacionada con la escena musical: el músico cubano Bebo Valdés murió en Suecia a la edad de 94 años.

El pianista, compositor, arreglista y director de orquesta  Ramón Emilio Valdés Amaro comenzó su carrera en los clubes nocturnos de La Habana, mano a mano con la vedette Rita Montaner. Fue el principal impulsor de la difusión del mambo en los años 40, e incluso creó un ritmo propio, la batanga.

Considerado el padre del jazz afrocubano, tocó el piano con nombres tan grandes como Nat King Cole, Celia Cruz, Benny Moré, Guillermo Barreto o Lucho Gatica. En una entrevista reciente hablaba de su primer piano, uno viejo y herrumbroso que su madre pudo comprarle solo porque había ganado tres pesos en la lotería cubana, y que estaba tan destrozado por la polilla que se vino abajo pocos días después.

En su carrera hubo dos etapas diferentes: la primera durante los años 40 y 50 en Cuba, y su  resurgir musical en los 90 mientras estaba en el exilio, con Paquito D’Rivera y el disco “Bebo rides again”. Trabajó por primera vez con el director español Fernando Trueba en “Calle 54”, donde se reencontró con Cachao y su propio hijo, chucho Valdés. Tras eso, Trueba le pidió que colaborase en “El milagro de Candeal” y “Chico y Rita”, película que no solo incluye su música, sino también fragmentos de la vida del propio Bebo.

En 2002 grabó Lágrimas negras” con Diego el Cigala, una fusión de ritmo cubano y voces flamencas, ganando un Grammy con él. Es un disco increíble desde mi punto de vista, y es con una canción de ese “Lágrimas negras”, “Inolvidable”, que quiero despedirme de él.

“En la vida hay amores que nunca pueden olvidarse,
Imborrables momentos que siempre guarda el corazón,
Porque aquello que un día nos hizo temblar de alegría,
Es mentira que hoy pueda olvidarse con un nuevo amor,
He besado otros labios buscando nuevas ansiedades,
Y otros brazos extraños me estrechan llenos de emoción,
Pero solo consiguen hacerme recordar los tuyos
Que inolvidablemente vivirán en mí.
(Bis)”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_99vKGzn4Sw

Yesterday, we suffered a new loss in relation with the musical scene: the Cuban musician Bebo Valdés died in Sweden, at the age of 94.

The pianist, composer, arranger and band leader Ramón Emilio Valdés Amaro started his career in the night clubs of La Havana, hand in hand with the vedette Rita Montaner. He was a driving force for the spreading of mambo during the 40st, and he even created a new rhythm of his own, the batanga.

Considered the father of the Afro-Cuban jazz, he played the piano with such great names as Nat King Cole, Celia Cruz, Benny Moré, Guillermo Barreto or Lucho Gatica. In a recent interview, he talked about his firs piano, an old and rusty one that his mother could by only because she had won three pesos in the Cuban lottery, and which was so damaged by the woodworm that it went to pieces a few days later.

There were two different stages in his career: the first one during the 40st and 50st in Cuba, and his musical revival during the 90st while he was in exile, with Paquito D’Rivera and the record “Bebo rides again”. He worked with the Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba in “Calle 54” for the very first time, where he met again with Cachao his own son, Chucho Valdés. After that, Trueba asked him to collaborate in “El milagro de Candeal”, and “Chico y Rita”, film that includes not only his music, but also some bits of Bebo´s life.

In 2002 he recorded “Lágrimas negras” with Diego el Cigala, a fusion of Cuban rhythms and flamenco vocals, winning a Grammy with it., This is an incredible record from my point of view, and it is with a song from “Lágrimas negras”, “Inolvidable” that I’d like to say goodbye to him.

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About the Author: Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!


Comments:

  1. Beth Miller:

    There’s a wonderful online documentary, with versions in Spanish and English, online from PBS. My AP Spanish students really enjoyed learning about some of the great Cuban jazz musicians. http://m.video.pbs.org/video/1293768010/

    • Magda:

      @Beth Miller Thanks so much for this information Beth, I really enjoyed it too!