Edited by Azizi Powell
This post showcases a 1931 sound file of this song by Dominican Republic vocalist Eduardo Britos. Information about "Siboney" and information about Eduardo Britos are included in this post along with the song's Spanish lyrics with English explanations.
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Thanks to Ernesto Lecuona and Eduardo Britos for their musical legacy. Thanks also the publisher of this example on YouTube and all those who are quoted in this post.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE SONG "SIBONEY"
"Siboney" (Canto Siboney) is a 1929 classic Cuban song by Ernesto Lecuona. The music is in cut time, originally written in C major. The lyrics were reportedly written by Lecuona while away from Cuba and is about the homesickness he is experiencing (Siboney is also a town in Cuba, and can also refer to Cuba in general).
Siboney became a hit in 1931 when performed by the Dominican baritone Eduardo Brito. Other artists followed suit, including Caterina Valente, Xiomara Alfaro, Dizzy Gillespie, Nana Mouskouri and Percy Faith. Siboney was used by Nino Rota in the score for Fellini's nostalgic memoir of the 1930s, "Amarcord." It was recorded by Connie Francis in 1960, and later included in the film, "2046".
An English version of the song was performed by Bing Crosby in 1945. In 1942, Gloria Jean sang the English version in the musical Get Hep to Love.
The song inspired the Mexican-Cuban film Siboney, directed by Juan Orol and starring María Antonieta Pons. The film was released in 1938 as a part of the called Rumberas film saga of the Mexican Cinema."
INFORMATION ABOUT EDUARDO BRITO
"Eduardo Brito (January 22, 1906 – January 5, 1946) was a Dominican Baritone singer. He was world renowned for his voice and took to the stage in many countries performing operas and zarzuelas. The main hall of the Dominican National Theater is named after Brito.
Brito was born Eleuterio Brito in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. He came from a poor family and during his childhood he worked as a shoe-shiner and a candyman. As a young adult, his musical gifts became apparent and Brito in 1926 became acquainted with Julio Alberto Hernández, who helped mold Brito into the great baritone singer that he is remembered as....
That Wikipedia page lists Eduardo Brito's musical genres as "Opera, Zarzuela, Merengue, Waltz, Bolero".
SHOWCASE EXAMPLE: EDUARDO BRITO - SIBONEY (1936) L R E
laradioestacion, Published on Sep 27, 2013
(LA RADIO ESTACION) ELEUTERIO BRITO (EDUARDO BRITO) FUE UN CANTANTE DE OPERA Y BARITONO DE ZARZUELA, NACIO EN PUERTO PLATA, R.D. EL DIA 21 DE ENERO DEL 1906 Y MURIO EN SAN CRISTOBAL EL 03 DE NOVIEMBRE DEL 1946.. ESTE TEMA ** SIBONEY **.. FUE UNO DE SUS GRANDES EXITOS.. DISFRUTEN ESTA HERMOSA PIEZA AMIG@S!!
(THE RADIO STATION) ELEUTERIO BRITO (EDUARDO BRITO) WAS AN OPERA SINGER AND BARITONE ZARZUELA, BORN IN PUERTO PLATA, RD DAY 21 JANUARY 1906 AND DIED IN SAN CRISTOBAL THE 03 NOVEMBER 1946 .. THIS ITEM ** ** .. SIBONEY WAS ONE OF ITS GREAT HITS .. ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL PIECE S FRIEND !!
Here's an interesting comment from that sound file's discussion thread:
"Una de las voces mas bellas que hemos tenidos en todos los tiempos, de quien se dice que no firmó películas por ser negro, ya que en ese entonce el racismo tenia mucho poder, pero con todo y eso, viajó a muchos países he incluso le cantó a la reina de España si mas no recuerdo...."
Google translate from Spanish to English (with my conversion of some of those translations to Standard English:
"[This is] "One of the most beautiful voices that we have had in all times. It's said that he wasn't signed to sing in any films because he was Black. At that time racism was very powerful, but in spite of that he traveled to many countries and, I believe he also she sang for the Queen of Spain if I remember correctly .... more"
"More" doesn't refer to there being another part of that comment.
SPANISH LYRICS - SIBONEY (English translation with explanations)
From http://learningbysingingspanish.blogspot.com/2008/04/siboney-by-unknown-artists-cuba.html [reformatted for this post]
Siboney, yo te quiero, yo me muero por tu amor.
Siboney, al arrullo de la palma pienso en ti.
Ven a mi, que te quiero y de todo tesoro eres tú para mi.
Siboney, al arrullo de la palma pienso en ti
Siboney de mi sueño, si no oyes la queja de mi voz
Siboney, si no vienes me morir de amor
Siboney de mis sueños, te espero con ansias en mi caney
Siboney, si no vienes me morire de amor
Oye el eco de mi canto de cristal
No te pierdas por entre el rudo Manigual
English translation (with explanations)
Siboney, I love you, I die for your love (I'm dying for your love)
Siboney, to the sound of the palm tree, I think of you
Come to me, that I love you, and from everything, a treasure you are to me
Siboney, to sound of the palm tree I think of you
Siboney of my dream, if you don't hear the complaint of my voice
Siboney if you don't come, I'll die of love
Siboney of my dreams, I await for you with anxiousness in my caney
Siboney if you don't come I'll die of love
Hear the echo of my singing of glass
Don't get lost in the rough Manigual
"(*) Siboney is a name, I guess... I had never heard that name except in this song. I dont even know whether this is a male or female name... (note: a reader has told me that the name comes from a branch of the Cubacanan indians in the Caribbean. Thanks Pepe!)
(1) Arrullar means to lull asleep. Arruyo is the sound made to make babys asleep. Poetically, it can be used for any pleasant, repetitive sound, like the waves in the sea, the leaves in the tree, the flow of a river...
(2) Caney is a type of hut
(3) I guess it means my delicate singing
(4) Manigual is a jungle"
*The Wikipedia article given above notes that Siboney is a town in Cuba and in this song may refer to the entire nation of Cuba.
"Caney" appears to usually be translated in this song as "hut". It seems to me that the word "house" could also a correct English translation for the word "caney".
My guess is that "hear the echo of my singing of glass" means "my crystal clear singing" (What I am saying is crystal clear- it can't be confused as anything else.)
Also, my guess is that 'Don't get lost in the rough Manigual" means "Don't get lost [sidetracked] by the jungle of life; Don't let other things stop you from coming back to me.
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