Faustino Oramas

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Faustino Oramas
Also known as El Guayabero
Born (1911-06-04)June 4, 1911
Holguín, Cuba
Died March 27, 2007(2007-03-27) (aged 95)
Holguín, Cuba
Genres Trova
Occupation(s) singer; songwriter
Instruments tres, guitar
Years active 1926–2006
Associated acts Buena Vista Social Club

Faustino Oramas Osorio, better known as El Guayabero (4 June 1911 – 27 March 2007), was a Cuban singer, tres guitarist and composer, the last surviving member of the traditional Cuban trova. Most of his repertoire consisted of sons and guaracha-sons, many with double entendres in the lyrics. One of his compositions was included in the Buena Vista Social Club album.[1]

Career[edit]

When he was 15 years old he began playing the maracas as part of a septet of sones known as La Tropical made up by some friends with the purpose of enjoying and performing at the country dances. During the 1940s, he began his career as composer with Tumbaíto, a song that was included in Libertad Lamarque's repertoire and title he used as an alias for some time. Afterwards, he composed two sones, Como vengo este año and El Guayabero. He composed the latter when he was performing as tres player in the Trovadores Holguineros ensemble. Pacho Alonso, the well-known Cuban musician, first heard the song and then recorded it in a long-playing record that toured across the world. Later on, the Orquesta Original de Manzanillo used the refrain in a tribute to Faustino who, since then, was known as "El Guayabero".

Skillful master of the double meaning, the Cuban's idiosyncrasy, his ingenuity, witty remarks and his love for highly erotic themes amusingly disguised are some of his main features. Unlike most trovadors, Oramas played sones rather than boleros, though this was also true, to some extent, of the famous Trio Matamoros. His preferred instrument was the tres, which is a typical instrument of the son; most other trovadors such as María Teresa Vera or Carlos Puebla played the Spanish guitar. However, his backing groups usually included a Spanish guitar in the basic rhythm.

He composed the song Candela of the Buena Vista Social Club (1997) recording, which was a worldwide hit. Wim Wenders directed a documentary film of the musicians involved, Buena Vista Social Club (1999) which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.

Compositions[edit]

Oramas composed over fifty numbers. He mostly sang his own compositions, which he could perform at any length by adding or subtracting verses. His signature number was El Guayabero; other popular numbers included: A María Elena; Como baila Marieta; Compositor confundido; Contigo mi china; El tumbaito; La triguenita; Las mujeres de Bayamo; Los abuelos se rebelan; Mi son retoson. In most of these compositions the rhythm and the poetical structure is rather similar. Four-line verses are interspersed with two or four repeating lines, and the whole or part may be repeated, perhaps several times. The real content comes in the language, which is amusing, human, topical, sometimes vulgar, always entertaining. Rather surprisingly, his work has not been analysed by Cuban writers until recently, although he was well known in the eastern provinces. Indeed, it is difficult to find his name in the various histories of the trovador movement.[2]

Discography[edit]

LPs[edit]

  • El Guayabero: sones del humor popular (no date; late 70s/early 80s). Siboney LD-224
  • El Guayabero: sones del humor popular (1987; different content from above). Siboney LD-342
  • El Guayabero (1989/90; content different again). Siboney LD-466

CDs[edit]

  • Buena Vista Social Club (September 1997; Oramas was the author of the number Candela, but he was not the singer on this occasion)
  • Faustino Oramas / El Guayabero / El tren de la vida. (Spain's Eurotropical label, an imprint of the Canary Islands-based Manzana Discos. Has been criticized for its non-authentic backing group (see Amazon and U-Tube feedback).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Giro, Radamés 2007. Diccionario enciclopédico de la música en Cuba. La Habana, vol 3 p180.
  2. ^ He is not mentioned in, for example, Canizares, Dulcila 1995. La trova tradicional. 2nd ed, La Habana.