Segundo Coming

Cuban-music master Compay Segundo sends greetings to St. Louis in advance of his visit here

Because Compay has lived and recorded in Cuba, the U.S. embargo has long prohibited his recording for a major North American label; his records are mostly available as imports from Britain and Europe. For his U.S. tour, Compay has managed to bring a full band from Cuba, including three clarinetists, percussionists, bass, second guitar and a lead vocalist. Those who imagine Cuban son as pure dance music will be surprised at the subtle lyricism of Compay's music. His spare, lissome armónica and shuffling rhythms have never really been at home in the hot nightclubs and discos of Havana. Instead, a languid, rural, seaside wisdom flows from his low, easy voice:

You know why I bring you here
You know it's to tell you
That my love is only for you
And if you have someone to forget
Just forget him, for I will do the same

Compay Segundo: "Send my greetings to all your neighbors, all your friends and all the people of St. Louis. I will soon be there."
DRO East West
Compay Segundo: "Send my greetings to all your neighbors, all your friends and all the people of St. Louis. I will soon be there."

"Happiness, I will always give you happiness," Compay sings on the chorus to "Versos Para Tî." Music could have no greater ambition. On learning the interviewer had visited Cuba a year ago, Compay asks, "Why didn't you visit me?" Strangers do not exist in his world. Compay forgets no one. "Send my greetings to all your neighbors, all your friends and all the people of St. Louis. I will soon be there."

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