Oye Como Va
|"Oye Como Va"|
|Written by||Tito Puente|
|Music by||Tito Puente|
|Lyrics by||Tito Puente|
|Original artist||Tito Puente (1963)|
|Recorded by||Santana (1970),
Tito Puente, Jr. (2004),
"Oye Como Va" is a song written by Latin jazz and mambo musician Tito Puente in 1963 and popularized by Santana's rendition of the song in 1970 on their album Abraxas, helping to catapult Santana into stardom with the song reaching #13 on the Billboard Top 100. The song also reached #11 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey and #32 on their R&B chart. It was inspired by Israel "Cachao" Lopez's "Chanchullo."
The title comes from the first words:
|Oye como va||(Literally) "Listen to how [it] goes"; (Colloquially "Hey, what's up?" or "Check it out!", or more literally "How's it going?")|
|Mi ritmo||"My rhythm"|
|Bueno pa' gozar||"Good for enjoying" or "good to enjoy"|
The fact that the phrase “Oye como va” is the title of the song and is sung somewhat separately from the phrase “mi ritmo” makes it easy to interpret the meaning as “Hey, how’s it going?” However, the first sentence is actually “Oye como va mi ritmo,” meaning “Listen to how my rhythm goes.”
The song has the classic rhythm and tempo of cha-cha-cha. It has similarities with "Chanchullo" by Israel "Cachao" López. The Latin Beat Magazine writes, "Cachao's tumbaos for his 1937 composition of Rareza de Melitón (later changed to Chanchullo) inspired Tito Puente's signature tune 'Oye Como Va'." On the original recording of the song the voice of Santitos Colon, the Puente orchestra singer at the time, can be heard in the song along with those of Puente and other orchestra musicians. Cachao can be heard playing contrabass in some of Tito Puente's live versions of "Oye Como Va."
Cuban writer and arranger Evelio Landa wrote the song "Las Mulatas Del Cha Cha Cha" in 1955 which was performed by Benny Moré Y Su Banda Gigante among other Cuban artists including Carlos Barbería (Combo Cubano De Barbería) and Choco Orta. The chorus contains the following lyrics: "Gózalo mulata! ¡eh! ¡eh! ¡eh! Gózalo!" It can be theorized that the phrase "gozar, mulata" in "Oye Como Va" may have been directly inspired by "Las Mulatas Del Cha Cha Cha" and the chorus line "Gózalo mulata!" written eight years before and already prevalent in Cuban and Latino-music circles.
Santana's arrangement is a "driving, cranked-up version" in a new style of Latin rock (attributed to musicians like Santana), adding electric guitar, Hammond B-3 organ, and a rock drum kit to the instrumentation and dropping Puente's brass section. The electric guitar part takes on Puente's flute melody, and the organ provides accompaniment (with organist Gregg Rolie's discretional use of the Leslie effect). There are several guitar solos and an organ solo, all of which are rooted in rock and the blues but also contain licks similar to those of the original arrangement.
This song has been covered by Latin musicians in the last forty years, with Santana's version being the most widely recognized.
- The Joe Cuba Sextette and Cheo Feliciano
- Latin rapper and singer Gerardo covered the song on his 1991 debut album, "Mo' Ritmo".
- Celia Cruz covered the song on her album, "Siempre Vivire".
- Mexican electronic/rock band Kinky covered the song in 2004's "Oye Como Va" album.
- The jazz/funk band New Orleans Nightcrawlers covered the song on 2000's "Live at the Old Point" album.
- The Salsa Brothers feat OJT - My Electric Oye Como Va (2009)
- Eliane Elias, Brazilian singer and pianist, covered the song in 2008's on her album "Bossa nova stories".
- Julio Iglesias covered the song in 1994 on his album (Crazy)
- 2 Live Crew sampled the song on the track "Mamolapenga" on their 1990 album Banned in the U.S.A.
- The mexican group Banda M-1 recorded a cumbia version in 1994.
- Joe Strummer and The Latino Rockabilly War
- Natalie Cole covered in 2013, on her #1 and Latin Grammy nominated album "Natalie Cole En Espanol."
The song is referenced in the Syfy Channel's Warehouse 13 series in the second season episode "Around the Bend". The "original studio recording" of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va" (itself a supernatural artifact) is used by agents of the Warehouse in combination with an electrical shock to counteract the influence of another artifact. It is also featured in the 1998 Coen Brothers film The Big Lebowski as a scene opener.
The Santana version plays in a season 5 episode of Supernatural (U.S. TV series).
- "Carlos Santana," Rock and Roll Hall of Fame . Retrieved October 1, 2006.
- Standard LA Spanish for a female of mixed African/European heritage. The term is in everyday use in Cuba, and has no pejorative connotation. The OED supports the derivation of mulatta, and gives the first usage in English as 1622.
- Salazar, Max. "Orestes Lopez, brother to Israel Lopez Cachao, and the mambo," Latin Beat Magazine. September, 2002.
- "Oye Como Va" (RAM). NPR 100. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
- "Oye Como Va" (PDF). McGraw Hill. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
- 'Artists Direct'
- Joe Strummer and The Latino Rockabilly War (Live full concert)