El Mayor, Silvio Rodrríguez’s song to a legendary Cuban hero
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- Arts and Culture
- culture an traditions
- Culture and Traditions
- Politics and Government
- 12 / 25 / 2009
With the lyrics of a song, the legend of the Legendary Hero of Camagüey got bigger.
On the occasion of a commemorative rally for the 100th anniversary of Ignacio Agramonte´s fall in combat, singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez released the song "El Mayor", which has become a symbol of this land: “Camagüey means very much for me, and I have many fond memories of this province, among them, without doubts, the song dedicated to El Mayor…”
That night of May 11, 1973, the people came to San Juan de Dios Square, in Camaguey capital city of this province where one hundred years earlier, Agramonte´s mortal remains had been sullied. Then, Fidel´s word summarized that history, turned into a song by the troubadour “For me writing this song was a big toil, since I was worried wanting to do it, but it didn’t come out, and spent almost six months working on it. And finally I did it in ten minutes, and immediately I did the arrangement that everyone knows today …
“For me it was a pleasant experience, mainly for the debt that I always had with the symbol of El Mayor, for what he means, from the memories that I have of my childhood, because El Mayor is one of the figures of our liberation wars that impressed me most since I was a child.
“And then it was like a debt… it was one of the debts of a “Testament“. Then I began to read biographies, history books on the Ten Years War of Independence, documents. And in a moment I collected so much information, that I didn’t know what to read then … Perhaps it would have been better to let my childhood feelings flow freely; it is probable that I had written a better song …
“I tried to do five or six songs, but they all were pamphlets; and just when there was no time already, this song appeared.
“The same day I wrote the arrangement; and the next day we recorded it with the Grupo de Experimentacion Sonora of the Cuban Institute of Art and Film Industry (ICAIC), in the record studios, located on Prado Street, in Havana:
Va cabalgando El Mayor con su herida
Y mientras más mortal el tajo
Es más de vida.
The song was released in the commemorative homage ceremony dedicated to Ignacio Agramonte, in the San Juan de Dios Square, in the oldest segment of the city of Camagüey, occasion in which Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro gave a magisterial lecture on Cuba’s Hisotry.
For Silvio Rodríguez, to sing this song, that ultimately became a symbol for the agramontinos, name for which one also knows the people of Camaguey, was even more: “Yes, it was the first time that I was singing in front of Fidel Castro, and I
remember that very vividly …”
The people felt as if El Mayor would have re-lived through the musical note of the song, and the voice of the troubadour wove the legend that is immortal nowadays.