Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eulogio "El Amaliano"

Eulogio El Amaliano is one of those legendary but elusive old-school rumberos that one often hears about but rarely hears.

I first heard him mentioned in Yoruba Andabo's 2003 version of Calixto Callava's song "Chano en Belén:"

Y los rumberos más nombrados de La Habana, allá en Belén...Rumbeaba Justiniani, Eulogio El Amaliano, Roberto El Carpintero..."

I was finally able to hear Eulogio himself on El Goyo's 2006 CD "La Rumba es Cubana" where he sings the title track, which didn't dissappoint. The song reveals a rumbero with a singular, inimitable voice and an unstoppable décimista:

Vamos a ver
quien pudiera con un llanto, maye
recobrar un bien perdido
o no haberte conocido
para no quererte tanto
Y va girando la tierra
Va dando vueltas la esfera
Mis inspiraciones rumberas
por el aire van vagando
ellas van averiguando
los misterios de la rumba
así van hasta ultratumba
en un sueño delirando
mientras que yo digo así
Sabe Dios a donde irán
que aventuras tendrán
Que lejos están de mi
Se irán mis inspiraciones
nunca serán de eternidad
como la Liga de las Naciones
que nunca fueron vencidas

* * *

Vamos a ver, vamos a ver
Ahora que estamos reunidos
Yo te haré la narración
Como yo pude poner
los astros a revolución
Un día empezé a cantar
Ahora te contaré
hice los astros virar
al espacio estremecer
Estaban los astros soñando
Disfrutando santa calma
Y con mi canto les digaba:
"todos les voy ahora virar"
la luna que estaba muy alto
le decía al sol bajito:
"Oí cantando el chiquito
Él vivirá en mi planeta
En eso tú no te metas"
Y el sol le contestaba:
"Yo lo oí cantar primero
Tu vivirás como rey"
Así me decía el lucero
La rumba es cubana,
la rumba es cubana
Sentimiento me apure',
La rumba es cubana

(You have to really hear it to believe it.) El Goyo has said that it took him years to get Eulogio in the studio, that the man simply didn't like making records. He passed away soon after the recording was released.

I had thought then that that was the end of that, yet another case of a brilliant rumbero leaving a scant recorded legacy for the rest of us who never had a chance to enjoy their artistry in person.

Fortunately for all of us, one October day back in the late 1980's at Amado's old house on Calle Concordia 57 e/ Galeano y Águila, our friend Lali (Raúl González Brito) got together with Amado, Eulogio (at the time in his 50's), Guillermo "El Negro" Triana, Palillo, Amadito and Lázaro Riso, and let the tape recorder roll.

Amado had the cassette stored for many years, forgotten in his collection until recently, and now we're happy to share here.

It's short, just about a half-hour long, with three guaguancó medleys and a columbia. The recording quality is not optimal, the percussion is the traditional two cajón and palito setup, pero "qué sentimiento!" From the first notes, after a brief introduction from Lali, and Eulogio starts in with his diana, you know you are in for something special. The repetoire includes a few well-known classics, as well as some lesser-known tunes, and lots of Eulogio's unique décimas.

El Negro, Amado, Lázaro and Lali can be heard singing at various times too, and the occasional horn from a passing car adds to the general ambiente.

Eulogio's distinctive voice reminds me of the singers from Harry Smith's "Anthology of American Folk Music," collected from performers who developed their art in the relative isolation of the pre-radio era, before mass communication and the demands of the record industry began to influence performers, favoring those with a more homogenous style and broader appeal at the expense of those with regional, or in some cases wholly individual idiosyncratic styles.

Once again our thanks to Laly and Amado for sharing these historic recordings with us.

Download here and enjoy.

Secuencia Guaguancó 1 con Eulogio el Amaliano by guarachon63

Secuencia Guaguancó 2 con Eulogio el Amaliano by guarachon63

Secuencia Guaguancó 3 con Eulogio el Amaliano by guarachon63

Columbia con Eulogio el Amaliano by guarachon63

1 comment:

juan said...

priceless, much thks!