Friday, August 03, 2007

Carlos Embale: El Edén de los Roncos and "Consuélate como yo"

Carlos Embale
3 August 1923 — 12 March 1998

(Photo: Leonel Constantino)

One of the great voices in Cuban music, the rumbero and sonero Carlos Embale was born 84 years ago today.

He got his break at 13, winning a spot on the old "Corte Suprema del Arte" radio program, but he didn't start singing rumba professionally until much later. As he told Maria del Carmen Mestas:
"A fines de 1954, Piñeiro, Urfé y Ortiz me hicieron como una especie de complot para que yo cantara guaguancó, porque hasta estos momentos lo que más hacía eran boleros, canciones y el son. Yo sabía muchas rumbas porque tenía un hermano [Luis Embale] que murió joven, que cantaba como nadie el guaguancó; he conocido destacados intérpretes de esa música, pero como Luis ninguno; es lástima que su voz, como la de Pedro Quevedo, no quedara grabada..." (de "Pasión de Rumbero," María del Carmen Mestas)

(My translation:)
At the end of 1954, [Ignacio] Piñeiro, [Odilio] Urfé and [Rafael] Ortiz sort of conspired to get me to sing guaguancó, because up until then I mostly did boleros, canciones, and sones. I knew many rumbas because I had a brother [Luis Embale] who died young, that sang guaguancó like no-one else. I've known many well-known interpreters of this music, but nobody like Luis. It's a shame that his voice, like that of Pedro Quevedo, was never recorded..."
Reading this, I'm always left pondering our great loss that we'll never hear Luis or Pedro.

Fortunately for us, Carlos' inimitable voice was recorded. (Check out "Rumbero Mayor" and our compilation of unreleased-on-CD Embale tracks, here.)

We are also fortunate to have a couple of videos to share today. The first one features Carlos singing "El Edén de los roncos" and "Consuélate como yo" which he dedicates to its author, Gonzalo Acensio, "Tio Tom."

Compositor: Ignacio Piñeiro
Estilo: Guaguancó

Cuando tú, tu desengaño veas
De tantas ilusiones vanas que te alientan
Buscarás los lugares más oscuros
Para poder llorar a solas tantas penas
Mientras yo al verte adolorida y triste
Le cuento al mundo mis hazañas nuevas
Y a ti, te digo nena linda no te atrevas
A provocar más nunca
La ira de Los Roncos
Ah, de Los Roncos, ¡óye!

Coro: Ven a gozar, pinareña ven

Compositor: Gonzalo Asencio
Estilo: Guaguancó

Pero consuélate como yo
Que yo también tuve un amor
Y lo perdí
Y por eso digo ahora
Ya yo no vuelvo a querer
¿De qué te sirvió el querer?
Si a ti el amor te traicionó
Como a mí

Coro: Por eso ahora, ya yo no vuelvo a querer

The second video is a compilation of short clips from the same session, but found in two different documentaries. One from "La Rumba" (1974, Oscar Valdés) and the other from a documentary which aired on Greek television. A very short segment, but a smoking hot rumba.

1 comment:

Wow said...


Thank thank you so much for the background information about this beautiful spirit.

In a sense, I've just discovered Carlos Embale. Although I am not Cuban, nor have I ever been to Cuba, I have always loved the music of the Cuban people and the spirit that comes through it. As a consequence, I have long been familiar with the voice of Mr. Embale. That voice, in my opinion, the definitive voice Cuban music for the second half of the 20th century (yes, I know that many would disagree, but probably not too strenuously) was finally given a face, for me, by the wonders of You Tube last night.

Your blog entry has now given deeper context to to my knowledge of Mr. Embale.

How could one not be proud to be Cuban when your people have produced folks like Mr. Embale and so many others who express the joyous spirit of life so eloquently, so beautifully, so honestly, so perfectly?

Thank you again!

p.s. Just to let you know, I signed-up just to leave this comment!