For this site, dates of any kind are hit or miss. And I wouldn't necessarily throw out ones that are credited to someone other than Fernandez.
The version on Columbia 5741 X B has a 1938 recording date FWIW (2nd page of list)
There's an advanced search where you can select 78s only, etc.
Last edit: 2012-12-12 11:22:50 UTC by wally creek
"One of these days I gotta get myself organized" - Travis Bickle
The melody began with Cuban Joséito Fernández as he used it to sing the news on his radio show. He recorded the song in 1940 as A Mi Madre (Guajira Guantanamera) [Victor 83240-B].
There is even a label scan on the site Alan mentioned (attached).
Yup, http://latinpop.fiu.edu was very useful.
However, the song as we know it has Fernandez melody + chorus (Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera, etc.) and Jose Martì lyrics, taken from the poem Versos Sencillos. The song didn't have fixed lyrics before, it was used by Fernandez to comment the news during his radio program "El suceso del dia" (I think the program started in 1932). So he made up different lyrics on a daily basis, so to speak.
The guy who had the idea of "mixing" Fernandez and Martì was Julián Orbón in the late 50's, apparently. Leo Brouwer sang this "definitive" version in 1961 (live? on a record? was he the first performer?). Pete Seeger listened to this version and introduced the song in America and the rest of the world.
The first Cuban "definitive version" I can't find...
Well that's not so good.
The DIVSHARE link in this reply didn't work
Well I'll try it another way:
Last edit: 2012-12-13 18:27:45 UTC by jojo
Ok, I added: Guajira Guantanamera
If you think you know the first performance/recording/release of Guantanamera let us know.
Also, I need to listen to "A Mi Madre" by Joseito Fernández, because I have the feeling that Guajira Guantanamera might be the style/genre of the song (like Mambo, Slow Dance, Fox-Trot...) and not the title.
The German wikipedia entry for the song starts with "Das Lied Guantanamera geht in seiner heute verbreiteten Fassung zurück auf eine Guajira-Melodie" - The song, as widely known today, has its origins in a Guajira melody....
Guajira, again, is described as a style having developed from Flamenco shortly before 1900 and since the 1930s having changed into a more simple rhythm. Cha Cha Cha (having come up in the 1950s) has obvious similarites with 1930's Guajira.
So, Guajira is a style... But it's not unusual to use styles as a parts of titles - and in the end "Guajira Guantanamera" is either a Guajira for a girl from Guantanamo or simply a Guajira from G....
PS: Just had a quick look at Alan's http://latinpop.fiu.edu/searchact.cfm?code=1&type=s&term=guantanamera&recno=1 link further up this page. It seems to show a couple of releases from ca. 1936 onwards, and nearly all seem to be credited to Fernandez (only). Hmm...
I have a full version of the author that has the famous refrain. You can listen at AMG for a snippet (but it doesn't reach the chorus unf). I see no reason to doubt the aforementioned 1940 rec date or the song itself. It is misleading though, the actual label has A MI MADRE in bigger letters (I think this may be a misprint). Also note, it's a B-side of a danzon called "Campo vivo" written by another composer.
Various Artists - Cuba, I Am Time, Vol. 2: Cantar en Cuba (1999)
Thanks for all the work involved. Looks good!
Last edit: 2015-09-29 17:05:21 UTC by walt
There's no doubt Fernandez recorded the song at some point. I just don't know for certain that "A mi madre" was THE song, considering that the Guajira (and the Guajira Guantanamera in particular) was also a style of dance. It looks to me as if the name of the song was "A mi madre" performed in the style of a Guajira Guantanamera.
I can't be certain until I hear a clip of the song. And it's weird that there are no clips of said song.
If their search works, these are the 78rpms with Guantanamera in the title:
http://latinpop.fiu.edu/advSearchR.cfm (link doesn't work - anyway, advanced search, format 78 + guantanamera)
the song A mi madre (I used the same method) does not mention Guajira Guantanamera in the title, but it's in the style "Guajira".
Here's a recording from 1937:
Could this be a version of the Guajira Guantanamera we're talking about ?
And here's a version from Joseito Fernandez on Panart 1814
So 1960 ??
But it is, on this one:
Guillermo Portabales, El Creador de la Guajira de Salón, 20 Melodías, 1937 – 1943.
What about this recording by Ramón Espigul in 1930? Different song?
According to Cristóbal Díaz-Ayala, authorithy on Cuban Music: Esta Guantanamera no tiene nada que ver, en letra o melodía, con la de Joseito Fernández
I haven't heard Espigul's version, so relying on Diaz-Ayala's opinion: yes, different song