Oye Como Va

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Oye Como Va"
Song by Tito Puente
Language Spanish
English title "Hey, How's It Going"
Published 1963
Songwriter(s) Tito Puente

"Oye Como Va" is a song written by Latin jazz and mambo musician Tito Puente in 1963. Mexican-American rock group Santana's rendition further popularized the song, which reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 11 on the Billboard Easy Listening survey, and number 32 on the R&B chart.[1]

The title comes from the first words:

Spanish: English:
Oye como va Listen to how [it] goes OR Hey, how is it going[2]
Mi ritmo "My rhythm"
Bueno pa' gozar "Good for enjoying" or "good to enjoy"
Mulata See: Mulatta[3]

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'."[4] 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".

The song has had many arrangements and remakes by a number of artists in various tempi. NPR included the song in its "NPR 100: The most important American musical works of the 20th century".[5]

Santana version[edit]

"Oye Como Va"
Single by Santana
from the album Abraxas
Language Spanish
English title "Hey, How's It Going"
B-side "Samba Pa Ti"
Released 1971
Format 7-inch single
Recorded 1970
Genre Latin rock
Length 4:17
Label CBS
Songwriter(s) Tito Puente
Abraxas track listing
"Black Magic Woman"
"Oye Como Va"
"Incident at Neshabur"

Santana's arrangement is a "driving, cranked-up version"[5] 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.[5][6] The song was inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.[7]

Tito Puente, speaking in the intro to his recording of "Oye Como Va" on the album "Mambo Birdland," said "Everybody's heard of Santana. Santana! Beautiful Santana! He put our music, Latin rock, around the world, man! And I'd like to thank him publicly 'cause he recorded a tune and he gave me credit as the composer of the tune. So, since that day... all we play... is Santana music!" The version of the song on "Mambo Birdland" is a Santana-ized version.

Other versions[edit]

This song has been recorded by many musicians, with Santana's version being the most widely recognized.

  • The Joe Cuba Sextette and Cheo Feliciano.
  • Jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson on his 1975 album, Montara.
  • Latin rapper and singer Gerardo recorded the song on his 1991 debut album, Mo' Ritmo.[8]
  • Celia Cruz included the song on her album, Siempre Viviré.
  • Mexican electronic/rock band Kinky recorded the song for their 2004 album Oye Como Va.[9]
  • The jazz/funk band New Orleans Nightcrawlers included the song on their 2000 album Live at the Old Point.
  • The Salsa Brothers featuring OJT on My Electric Oye Como Va (2009)
  • Eliane Elias, Brazilian singer and pianist, recorded the song in 2006, 36 years after Santana, on her album Around The City. On Elias' version, there are additional lyrics written by Elias.
  • Julio Iglesias included the song in 1994 on his album Crazy. There is a change in lyrics of chorus, which are written "Oye como va mi niña/Vamos a gozar, mulata", translated as: Listen to how it goes, my daughter, let’s go to enjoy, mulatta.
  • Azúcar Moreno recorded the song on their 1990 album Bandido, and coupled it with Santana's 1971 song Guajira in a two-songs medley.
  • 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.[10]
  • Natalie Cole recorded the song in 2013, 43 years after Santana, on her #1 and Latin Grammy nominated album Natalie Cole en Español.
  • Walt Disney Records this song appeared on La Vida Mickey album on CD


  1. ^ "Carlos Santana", Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 1, 2006.
  2. ^ http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/122822/what-does-oye-como-va-mean
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Salazar, Max. "Orestes Lopez, brother to Israel Lopez Cachao, and the mambo", Latin Beat Magazine. September, 2002.[dead link]
  5. ^ a b c "Oye Como Va" (RAM). NPR 100. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  6. ^ "Oye Como Va" (PDF). McGraw Hill. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  7. ^ "Latin GRAMMY Hall Of Fame". Latin Grammy Award. Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. 2001. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ 'Artists Direct'
  9. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCtwKCBFUzQ
  10. ^ Joe Strummer and The Latino Rockabilly War (Live full concert)