Written by 11:34 pm Music

An unpublished letter from Celia Cruz

Contrary to what one might think, Celia Cruz never broke human ties with the people she loved — her family, friends and colleagues — who had remained in Cuba. Circumstances imposed her iron rules and compelled her to adopt dissimilar ways to claim her affective presence. The much later moments by which she didn’t publicly empathize with some Cuban musicians who had emerged after her departure from Cuba are higher known, but all the pieces seems to point that Celia was faithful to her affections, regardless of where they were.

Amongst them, in a special way, were some women composers who created a lot of her songs. Amongst her first recordings, there are already two of them: the Cuban Carmelina Kessell (“Ocanasordi”) and the Puerto Rican Myrta Silva (“Para que sufran los pollos”), authors of the one two songs that Celia recorded with the Gloria Matancera ensemble. Later, with La Sonora Matancera, and with the consent of its director Rogelio Martínez, Celia included quite a few guarachas, afros, boleros and sones montunos created by female composers, favoring their works over the overwhelming majority of male composers, and making several of them known. they.

With “Melao de caña,” the famous guajira-mambo by Mercedes Pedroso, the chapter of female authors was inaugurated within the repertoire of La Guarachera de Cuba, followed by the creations of Elsa Angulo Macías (“Silencio”), Grecia Domech (“Mi negro está cansao”), Isabel Valdés (“Mi soncito”), Irma Murillo (“Palmeras tropicales”), Enriqueta Silva (“La cumbanchera de Belén”), Úrsula González (“Qué voy a hacer”), the Venezuelan Teté Cabrera (“Contestación a El Marinero”), Oneida Andrade (“Así quiero morir” and “No hay nada mejor,” the latter co-authored with José Claro Fumero), Julia Ana “July” Mendoza (“Saludo a Elegguá” and “Para tu altar”).

But amongst them, the one she sang and recorded probably the most was Eridania Mancebo (Matanzas, January 18, 1911-Havana, November 27, 1993), the upper-middle-class lady who succumbed to her passion for Cuban popular music. Educated on the exclusive Las Ursulinas school, Eridania Claribel Mancebo y Valdés had her first approach to music in her family: her first piano teacher was her grandmother after which, as was appropriate, she continued in the very best conservatories in her hometown of Matanzas. Little by little, her passion for guarachas, boleros, afros, was discarding her obligatory exercises with pieces by the good composers of world classicism. Not even her marriage to Francisco Sabas Alomá, a successful merchant, made her hand over. “She was probably the most independent, rebellious and inventive of the three sisters, and was capable of carry forward her love of writing songs, in parallel to her status as a small businesswoman, since she opened and ran a small photography establishment,” said her niece and executor, Maggie Eirea.

Eridania Mancebo’s card for the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers, Paris.

Eridania Mancebo’s authorial catalog covers the a long time of the Nineteen Fifties and 60s and tells us that, as a composer, she was creative and groundbreaking, addressing genres that range from tango to rock-pop, including those she is most enthusiastic about: guarachas and afros. Her songs were interpreted from Barbarito Diez, Miguelito Cuní, Lestapier, the Flores Valdés ensemble, Bertha Pernas to Raúl Gómez, Leonor Zamora and Magaly Tars, amongst others. The legendary Aragón orchestra made her samba-cha “Que tenga sabor” an awesome success.

But the best triumphs were savored by Eridania listening to her compositions within the voice of Celia Cruz. The creative relationship between Celia and Eridania began with the guaracha “Un paso pa’lante, un paso pa’tras.” Although this guaracha doesn’t appear among the many studio recordings made by Celia, there may be a record of a program on Radio Progreso from 1953 and it was collected on the CD Celia Cruz en vivo, Radio Progreso 1953-54 (Bárbaro Records, B-226 ), where, with an extended duration than the same old record recordings, the improvisational qualities of La Guarachera de Cuba are clearly shown. The identical thing happened with “El Negro Tomás,” one other of Eridania’s guarachas, whose radio record within the voice of Celia was recorded in the identical series by Bárbaro Records. Celia premiered other songs of her, although she never recorded them: on the CMQ program Cascabeles Candado, she sang for the primary time “Bajate de las nubes,” “Otro amor vendrá” and “Me enseñaste a querer.” In a duet with Celio González and all the time with La Sonora Matancera, she premiered the guaracha “No le tires.”

“La merenguita,” also a guaracha, was the primary song by Eridania Mancebo recorded within the studio by Celia, on January 30, 1956, arranged by Severino Ramos. In 1959 “Sueños de luna,” a lamento-afro with characteristics very different from the imaginative guarachas of Eridania, became one other new success within the voice of Celia. Recorded in July and included on her LP Su favorita Celia Cruz, “Sueños de luna” became certainly one of the songs that the U.S. press (Day by day Mirror, 11-25-1959. “Celia Sings Loud and Clear”) highlighted when reviewing Celia’s performances in her debut on the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles in November of that yr, when she was still living in Cuba.

Eridania Mancebo became a friends with Celia and the musicians of La Sonora Matancera through her songs, which they made lasting. In 1960, they left Cuba and Eridania remained on the island, where her songs continued to be heard in other voices, but not in Celia’s. Twenty years later, “Sueños de luna” is re-recorded, now within the voice of Caridad Cuervo, one other worthy guarachera, who as a baby was in comparison with the good singer and encouraged by her, and now was retaking — although without mentioning her — some songs from the unique repertoire of she who had been her mentor and inspiration.

In October 1990, Celia was already back from the monumental successes achieved through her link with the New York salsa movement and her recordings with Fania Records. Her profession continued to unstoppably expand. There have been 11 days left until her sixty fifth birthday and on a flight to San Antonio, Texas, to meet certainly one of her many skilled commitments, she wrote to Eridania Mancebo. Her former manager Omer Pardillo remembers that planes were places where she used to place so as her pending correspondence. This was not the case, but probably, the proximity of a propitious date for the recount and the recent death — on September 28, 1990, only 12 days before — of Carlos Manuel Díaz “Caíto,” the legendary singer and maraca player of La Sonora Matancera, and her great friend, motivated her. She never stamped her real name on a letter, nor a cable to her family and friends in Cuba. Here, for her friend Eridania, she was “Barbarito’s sister”; before, it might have been “The cross-eyed,” “Nenita’s cousin” or some other nickname that got here to her. She never stopped writing to them.

The letter

October 10, 1990

On a plane to San Antonio

My dear friend Eridania:

I do know that this letter will surprise you and although I hope you will have never thought that I forgot you, because I all the time ask my brother about you, I do know that it must miss surprise you. I used to be all the time tempted to put in writing to you, but with the indisputable fact that the letters were delayed or didn’t arrive, I used to be disenchanted. Today, thank God, they proceed to be delayed, but they arrive. A couple of days ago, I spoke with Bárbaro [her brother] and told him: give me Eridania’s address again, now I’m going to put in writing to her, and here I’m doing it. I’m thoroughly, the identical for Pedro [Knight, her husband], Gladys my sister and her children and husband. I imagine that Bárbaro will keep you informed of what number of beautiful things have happened in my life. Today somewhat sad because our brothers proceed to desert us. First Lino [Frías, pianist of La Sonora Matancera], then Yiyo [Ángel Alfonso Furias, conga drum player of LSM] and now Caíto. It is understood that all of us go down that path, but we don’t get used to considering that it must be that way. About Oneida [presumably, Oneida Andrade, the composer], I haven’t heard from her in a protracted time. We used to speak every so often and send one another Christmas cards, but not even that anymore. I haven’t heard from her for a few years.

Well, Eridania, receive that affection that I never stopped having for you and I discovered how well you behaved with my Mother. A really strong hug and see you again. Your friend.

Barbarito’s sister.

Eridania jealously kept in her archive the letter from her admired friend. She wrote in red on the envelope the true identity of whoever sent it to her. The envelope indicates an unknown sender and the address of the recipient: the constructing on Ayestarán Street where Celia used to go to her. Other times she was the composer who got here to Lawton and spent long hours with Celia and her family within the little house on Terraza Street. The friendship was put to the test within the bitter days of the long illness of Ollita, Celia’s mother. In Havana, Eridania was there, supporting as much as possible, accompanying the family. The singer knew it and she or he didn’t forget it. The friendship and loyalty endured, but Celia Cruz and Eridania Mancebo were never capable of embrace one another again.

Rosa Marquetti

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