Fredesvinda García

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Fredesvinda García Valdés, known always as Freddy, (1935 in Camagüey – 31 July 1961 in San Juan, Puerto Rico) was a Cuban female singer of high quality.

Biography[edit]

She was born in Céspedes, a small village in the Camagüey Province of Cuba from a poor peasant family. She sang a cappella in clubs in Havana and recorded only one album before her death from a heart attack. Her weight (she was over 300 lbs) gave a very distinctive, androgynous sound to her voice. She was, almost entirely, a singer of boleros and canciones.[1]

When she moved Havana, aged 12, she became a cook for the Bengochea family (Arturo Bengochea was the president of the Cuban League of Professional Base-Ball) but soon she found herself singing nights at the Bar Celeste, on Humboldt and Infanta Streets, a place where artists used to meet. She was spotted by the director of the Hotel Capri's casino, and given a contract. She opened at the Cabaret Capri with orchestration by Rafael Somavilla, in the review Piminta y Sal (pepper & salt) with other singers, dancers and a quartet led by pianist Carlos Faxas. Freddy appeared in several key TV programs, like Jueves de Partagas (1959), which she remembered dearly. On that show she appeared with Benny Moré and Celia Cruz.

Freddy traveled to Venezuela and then on to Mexico with a company led by dancer and choreographer Roderyco Neyra (Rodney). From there, she flew, along with others, to Miami and then to Puerto Rico. She got several contracts and was even presented on San Juan TV.

She appears as Estrella Rodrigues in Guillermo Cabrera Infante's book about Havana's night life during the years of the Revolution, Tres Tristes Tigres (published in English as Three Trapped Tigers) (1966). Portions of this, featuring Freddy predominantly, were later republished as Ella cantaba boleros. She also appears in the novel The Island of Eternal Love by Daína Chaviano (2006).

Discography[edit]

Her only album is known variously as La voz del sentimento or Ella cantaba boleros. It was recorded in 1960 for Puchito Records under the reference: Puchito MLP 552. Humberto Suarez did the musical arrangements and conducted the orchestra.

ASIN: B000009RPF (Ella Cantaba Boleros)
ASIN: B00008EPKE (La Voz Del Sentimento)

Listen to extracts of the recording.

"Freddy", the song[edit]

Lyrics of the song specially written for her by Ela O'Farril.

"Freddy"

Soy una mujer que canta
Para mitigar las penas
De las horas vividas y perdidas. Me queda sólo esto:
Decirle a la noche,
Todo lo que yo siento,
Cantando canciones;
Despierto ilusiones
Dormidas en mí.

Muchos me vieron
Caminando a solas
Bajo las luces
Desiertas y azules de mi soledad.

¿Qué fue mi vida desde siempre?
Sólo trabajo y miseria,
Por eso cantaba a las estrellas
Y quizás me oyó hasta Dios.

Soy una mujer que canta
Para mitigar las penas.
No era nada ni nadie y ahora,
Dicen que soy una estrella,
Que me convertí en una de ellas
Para brillar en la eterna noche.

Soy una mujer que canta
Para mitigar las penas.
No era nada ni nadie y ahora,
Dicen que soy una estrella,
Que me convertí en una de ellas
Para brillar en la eterna noche.


Rough translation:
I am a woman who sings to soften the sufferings of the vivid and lost hours. This is all I have left: Telling the night all that I feel, singing songs; lively illusions asleep in me. Many saw me walking alone under the lights empty and blue of my solitude. What has my life always been like? Only work and misery; this is why I sing to the stars and perhaps God will hear me.
I am a woman who sings to soften the sufferings. There was nothing and no one and now, they say I am a star; that I turned myself into one of those to shine in the eternal night.
I am a woman who sings to soften the sufferings. There was nothing and no one and now, they say I am a star; that I turned myself into one of those to shine in the eternal night. (translated by wikieditor)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Giro, Radamés 2007. Diccionario enciclopédico de la música en Cuba. La Habana. vol 2, p. 124

External links[edit]