Lenny Campello writes about the history of the song Guantamera. The post includes video of four versions of the song. Excerpt:
“I am told that the most recorded song in the world is the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” But among the top 10 most recorded songs in the world, and also the most recorded Spanish language song in history is the Guantanamera (real title is Guajira Guantanamera or the “Peasant Girl from Guantanamo”).
Even if you don’t know it yet, you’ve heard this song a million times. And yet, there is fierce debate as to who is the author of the Guajira Guantanamera? Who is the author of the musical introduction? and where does its chorus come from?
Most of this because originally in Cuba, the song was, other than the chorus part, an improvisational song, where the words to the song would be improvised by the singer as he/she sang it. There are no words to the Guantanamera!
In the 1960s Peter Seeger added the verses from Cuban poet Jose Marti in a performance at Radio City Music Hall in NYC and thus now the most common version of Guantanamera is the one with the Marti verses.
But this amazing song has no real written words – one just sings it and improvises as one goes.”
Click here to see the full post, including the four video versions. Here is a version by Pete Seeger from the post: