Pregón, a Spanish word meaning announcement or street-seller's cry, has a particular meaning in both Cuban music as well as in Latin American music in general. It can be translated as a song based on a street-seller's cry or a street-seller's song ("canto de los vendedores ambulantes"). [1 ]
The cries of
hawkers and costermongers could once be heard in every city in the world, though their use as a basis for song is particularly notable in South America and the Caribbean. In Cuba, ethnologist, Miguel Barnet, noted that cross-fertilization was common as hawkers also often based their pregones on rural tunes or popular genres such as son and guaracha. The Cuban music historian, Cristóbal Díaz Ayala, has compiled a list of nearly five hundred examples of popular tunes based on hawker songs ‒ most from Cuba, but also from other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. [2 ]
One of the best-known examples of a pregón is the song entitled "El Manisero" ("
The Peanut Vendor" in English) which was written by Cuban musician and composer, Moisés Simons, and first recorded by Rita Montaner in 1928. The 1930 version recorded by Don Azpiazú in New York City with Antonio Machín on vocals became a worldwide hit starting a "rumba" craze that swept throughout North America and much of Europe in the 1930s. The Peanut Vendor had a second life as a hit piece when Stan Kenton recorded it as an instrumental in 1947.
Other well-known pregones and their writers include the following:
Frutas del Caney ("Fruits from El Caney") by Félix B. Cagnet - Cuba
El yerberito ("The herb vendor") by Benny Moré - Cuba
Rica pulpa by Eliseo Grenet - Cuba
El afilador ("The knife grinder") by Agustín Magaldi - Argentina
El botellero ("The bottle-man") by Gilberto Valdés - Cuba
El carbonero ("The charcoal seller") by Iván Fernandez - Cuba)
El limpiabotas ("The shoeshine boy") by Los Cuates Castilla - Mexico
El pregón de las flores ("The flower seller's cry") by Ernesto Lecuona - Cuba
La violetera ("The girl who sells violets") by Eduardo Montesinos López, 1958 - Spain
Se va el dulcerito ("The sweet seller is leaving") by Rosendo Ruiz - Cuba
Yo vendo unos ojos negros ("Some black eyed (peas) for sale") - Chile (pre-1910, unknown composer).
References [ edit ]
^ Giro, Radamés 2007. Diccionario enciclopédico de la música en Cuba. La Habana. vol 3, p262.
^ Díaz Ayala, Cristóbal 1988. Si te quieres por el poco divertir: historia del pregón musical latinoamericano. Cubanacan, San Juan P.R.