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Carlos Puebla Y Sus Tradicionales

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Carlos Manuel Puebla (11 September 1917, Manzanillo – 12 July 1989, Havana) was a Cuban singer, guitarist, and composer. He was a member of the old trova movement who specialized in boleros and nationalistic songs.

Born into a modest family, he did several types of manual jobs during his youth (carpenter, mechanic, sugarcane worker, shoemaker), but quickly became interested in music, and especially in the guitar. He learned how to play the instrument by himself, but he did study harmony and theory of music.

He began composing during the 1930s, and met with a certain amount of popularity in his native city. He recorded with his group Los Tradicionales, formed in 1953. From 1962 he was a regular performer in La Bodeguita del medio, a bar-restaurant in Old Havana which was a favourite haunt of Cuban and foreign intellectuals.

Politically he stood beside Fidel Castro before the 1959 Revolution. In 1961, he went on tour in several countries with his musicians. His music, as well as his political activity, turned his concerts into a success. He was thenceforth called El Cantor de la Revolución (the singer of the revolution) and other world tours followed. More than an ambassador for Cuban music, he was an ambassador for Cuba. In 1965, the night after Fidel Castro’s speech announcing Che Guevara’s departure from the government, Puebla, seized by passion, composed what would become his most celebrated work, Hasta Siempre, Comandante, a true declaration of love for and hope in Che.

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