Celina Gonzalez, “que viva Chango”, death of a modest giant in Cuban music

A milestone, one of the sad ones, death of Celina Gonzalez …

It might sound off to unaccustomed ears… but the mix of the old Spanish decima stanza style with Cuban rhythm really swings hard once you tune into it… like the song “yo soy el punto cubano” included in the article…

.. yo soy el punto cubano, en la manigua vivia, cuando el mambi se batia, con el machete en la mano…

She was genuinely from the world of the Cuban countryside, hard farming work, strong support networks of neighbours.

The form of recreation was a guateque… neighbours invited for miles around, straggle in at dusk to somebody’s humble country home… roast pork, dance, sing til dawn. She is honoured still today by Cuban musicians of all stripes… they pay tribute usually by singing her “que viva chango”. But sadly pretty much an unknown name to new generations.

She was reported to have been flabbergasted that she was to perform in a stadium with thousands of idolizing fans in her first visit to Colombia. And similarly amazed by how famous she was even amongst Latinos in New York. To her, the best party is far from stadium-filling idolatry… it’s the house party… which is still the way in Cuba.

Nice interview …

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