Ilustración: Monkc
Ilustración: Monkc

Literature feat. Music: She sang boleros

6 minutes / Guillermo Cabrera Infante

10.04.2020 / Articles

In the chowcito there was always a show after the show ended and now there was a rumba girl dancing to the sound of the victrola and she stopped now and told a waiter that she was passing, Papi put on reflectors and we are bell, and the waiter went and took off the pooch over and over and over again, but as the music went off each time the victrola was turned off, the rumbera stayed in the air and gave strange, long corridors with her tremendous body and extended a sepia leg, earth now, chocolate now, tobacco now, sugar, brown now, cinnamon now, coffee now, coffee with milk now, honey now, shiny with sweat, smooth from dancing, at this moment letting the skirt rise to the round knees and polished and cuttlefish and cinnamon and tobacco and coffee and honey, on her long, full, elastic and perfect thighs and her face leaned back, up, to one side, to the other, left and right, back again, always back, back hitting the nape of the neck, low back and radiant and tobacco, back s and forward, moving the hands, arms, shoulders of a skin of incredible eroticism, incredibly sensual, always incredible, moving them over the breasts, to the front, over the full and hard breasts, obviously loose, obviously standing, obviously soft: the rumbera with nothing underneath, Olivia, was called, is still called by Brazil, no longer a partner, loose, free now, with the face of a terribly perverted girl, incredibly innocent too, inventing movement, dancing, rumba now facing my eyes: all the movement, all Africa, all the females, all the dancing, all life in front of my eyes and me without a damn camera, and behind me The Star that saw everything and said, You like it, you like it , and rose from the throne of his bench and when the rumba had not finished yet, he went to the record player, to the pooch, saying, So much novelty, he turned it off, ripped it off almost furiously, as if foaming bad words from his mouth and said, It's over, now comes the music. And without music, I mean without orchestra, without accompanist, he began to sing an unknown, new song that came from his chest, from his two huge boobs, from his barrel belly, from that monstrous body, and he barely let me remember the story of the whale that sang in the opera, because it put more than the false, sugary, sentimental, feigned feeling in the song, nothing of the cuddly nonsense, of the commercially manufactured feeling of the feeling, but true feeling and its voice came out soft, pasty, liquid, with oil now, a colloidal voice that flowed from her entire body like the plasma of her voice and suddenly I shuddered. It had been a while since something moved me like that and I started to smile out loud, because I had just recognized the song, to laugh, to laugh out loud because it was Noche de ronda and I thought, Agustín you have not invented anything, you have not composed anything, this woman He is inventing your song for you now: come tomorrow and pick it up and copy it and put it in your name again: Noche de ronda is being born tonight.

The Star sang more. She seemed tireless. Once they asked her to sing La Pachanga and she, standing, one foot in front of the other, the successive rolls of her arms over the large swell of rolls of her hip, hitting the ground with a large sandal that was a boat sinking under the ocean of rolls of his legs, hitting, rattling the boat on the ground, repeatedly, throwing his sweaty face, the face of wild animal, of wild boar, the whiskers dripping sweat, throwing all the ugliness of his face, eyes now smaller, more evil, more hidden under the eyebrows that existed only as two visors of fat where the line of the makeup eyebrows is drawn with darker chocolate, his entire face in front of the infinite body, he replied. Estrella only sings boleros, she said and added, Sweet songs, with feeling, from the heart to the lips and from the mouth to your ear, baby, so you know, and she began to sing, We, inventing the ill-fated Pedrito Junco, turning his whining song in a true song, in a vigorous song, full of true and powerful nostalgia. The Star sang more, sang until eight in the morning, without us knowing that it was eight in the morning until the waiters began to collect everything and one of them, the cashier, said, Sorry, family, and wanted to say really, family, he did not say the word to say it, say family and say something very different from family, but he really wanted to say family, he said: Family, we have to close. But before, a little before, before that, a guitarist, a good guitarist, a skinny, well-dressed guy, a simple and noble mulatto, who had no job because he was very modest and very natural and very good, but a great guitarist, who knew how to get strange melodies from a fashionable song, cheap and commercial as it was, who knew how to catch feeling from the bottom of the guitar, who could extract from the strings the seed of any song, any melody, any rhythm, that where is missing a leg and has a wooden leg and a gardenia in his buttonhole, always, to whom we said, affectionately, jokingly, Niño Nené, imitating the singing children of flamenco, Niño Sabicas or Niño de Utrera or Boy from Parma, Niño Nené, he said, asked, Let me accompany you in a bolero, Estrella, and La Estrella responded very haughtily, putting his hand to his chest and patting himself two or three times on his huge boobs, No, Little Boy, no, She said, La Estrella always sings alone: music left over. Then it was that she sang Mala noche, doing her then famous parody of Cuba Venegas, in which we all died of laughter and then it was that she sang Noche y día and then it was that the cashier asked us to leave. And since the night was already over, we left. Fragment of Tres tristes tigres, Barcelona, Editorial Seix Barral, 1991, pp.66-69


Fragmento de Tres tristes tigres, Barcelona, Editorial Seix Barral, 1991, pp.66-69.

Guillermo Cabrera Infante

    More posts

    Leave a comment

    More in Articles

    Help support our magazine

    • Donate •

    Become a Patreon