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The Trova

Published: 2016.07.12 - 17:12:31   /  /  Juan Blas Rodríguez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

The TrovaAlthough things change color,
No matter time passes by,
The word does not matter
Whatever you say to love,
As long as you sing with your heart
There will be an attentive sense for the thrill of seeing
that the guitar is the guitar
without getting old.

(Silvio Rodríguez)

"Since the eighteenth century, Radamés Giro tells us, there was an invasion of performing tunes from the peninsula in Cuba, while the French opera entered Santiago de Cuba through Haiti and some Italian artists, who were in transit to Mexico or the United States, used to stop here."

All this, of course, began to influence Cuban musicians, who began creating songs with the accompaniment of their own guitars, and they started singing those songs to their beloved by the window or on the balconies of the houses. Thus the serenade was born in Santiago de Cuba and later it invaded the whole country.

Therefore, those were the first steps of the Cuban trova, which has come to us, full of life. "The Cuban trova, -wrote Bladimir Zamora, is one of the earliest and most notable outbreaks of life of the Cuban cultural identity. In the nineteenth century, which was full of longing and the need for a holy sign settled in the fertile land of the island, the Cubans embraced the guitar. They put a few secret words in its heart and began endlessly strumming its strings, and sang what we already were and even more, what we dreamed of being."

The Bayamesa, with texts by José Fornaris and music by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and Francisco Castillo Moreno, is considered to be the dawn of the Cuban trova song, with the logical musical influences of the time. However, it was in the first decades of the nineteenth century that the trova reached its full development in the compositions and voices of Sindo Garay, Rosendo Ruiz, Alberto Villalón, Manuel Corona and Patricio Ballagas, in which romantic texts dedicated to Cuban women, the green fields, and our blue sky bloomed.

In the 60s of the twentieth century the so-called Nueva Trova emerged, which was a direct heir of the traditional trova; it is rightly said that "there is only one trova" highlighting the compositions and the voices of Silvio Rodríguez in pieces such as Te Doy Una Canción, La Era está pariendo un Corazón, Pequeña Serenata Diurna, Playa Girón, Ojalá, El Mayor, Te Amaré, Fusil Contra Fusil, Unicornio, Por Quien Merece Amor, La Maza, Rabo de Nube, Ala de Colibrí, El Necio, Cita Con Ángeles; de Pablo Milanés en títulos como Yolanda, Amor, Para Vivir, Los Caminos, Años, Yo pisaré las calles nuevamente, Yo no te pido, La vida no vale nada, Hombre que vas Creciendo, El breve espacio en no estás, No Vivo en una Sociedad Perfecta, Ámame como soy, Yo me quedo.

Also, Noel Nicola and his songs Detrás de una Guitarra, Por La Vida Juntos, Pintarme, Fíntame el Amor, Es Más Te Perdono, Trovador Sin Suerte, Para una Imaginaria María del Carmen, Pasión y Prejuicio, Te Descubrí Mujer, Nana Para Despertar a una Muchacha, Tema del Miedo. (By Juan Blas Rodríguez)


The glory days
were gone
and I did not realize
only the memory
was holding
what I once was.
I live with ghosts
feeding dreams
and false promises
that do not return
the glory days that
I once had.

(Pablo Milanés)

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