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The Cuban roots of great world hits (I)

In 2013, when Marc Anthony released his version of the song Pale flowerthe world began to hum along to the Puerto Rican salsa singer's new hit. But not all those "infected" with the delivery knew its origin nor the authorship of the Cuban Fernando Borrego Linares, known as Polo Montañez. 

The singer-songwriter from Pinar del Río, who died in 2002 as a result of a traffic accident, composed Pale flower inspired by his wife, Adys García. Twelve years later Marc Anthony internationalized Polo's work when he appeared singing: "Hallé una flor, un día en el camino/ que apareció marchita y deshojada", a Cuban lyric chanted by thousands of people around the world. 

Although this is only one of the most famous examples of Cuban songs that have achieved greater success in the voice of foreign artists, there are many others.

Maybe, maybe, maybe is one of the Cuban compositions that has traveled the world and has versions in other languages as popular as the original in Spanish. Such is the case of the English Perhaps, perhaps, perhapswritten by Joe Davis. Composed in the 40's, its author was the prolific Cuban Osvaldo Farrés, to whom more than 300 songs are attributed, among which stand out, in addition, the boleros Toda una vida and Three words. Maybe, maybe, maybe has been interpreted, among others, by Nat King Cole, Sara Montiel, Celia Cruz and one of the most recognized current versions in Spanish is heard in the voice of Andrea Bocelli with Jennifer Lopez in 2013.

Likewise, it is likely that the best-known contemporary version of the Lágrimas negras is the one performed by Diego El Cigala with Bebo Valdés in 2002, and which is part of a phonogram of the same name, released a year later. Originally conceived by Miguel Matamoros as a tango, the song became a bolero-son that has been interpreted by Cuban music greats such as Omara Portuondo, Compay Segundo and, of course, Trio Matamoros, and constitutes one of the most transcendental lyrics of the Cuban songbook.

One of the most curious examples of Cuban songs in foreign voices came in 2022, when the Spanish singer Rosalía made her own the song "The Cuban Song". Delusion of grandeurincluded in his album Motomami (2022). Originally composed by Cuban Carlos Querol and popularized by Justo Betancourt, it is not known how the original song came into the artist's hands. The singer's version is a ballad fused with the R&B genre, in which other people, probably arrangers, and the performer herself have been incorporated as "co-authors". Querol was a member of various groups such as Conjunto Kubavana and Pacho Alonso y sus Bocucos and was known for his wonderful second voice.

The work of Cuban musicians has traveled the world, conquering audiences from different versions in the voice of national and foreign artists, as can be seen in this sample. We will be back soon with other accounts of Cuban hits that have taken the world by storm. hit parade by assault.

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