Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Nostalgia for...Beny More

I wasn't alive in the days of Beny More (pronounced More-ray), the Cuban singer and band leader who went to live in Mexico and became a massive influence on all the Cuban salsa bands.

So why do I get these gorgeous pangs of nostalgia when I listen to Beny More? Why does it make me think of a Cuba and a Mexico I never even knew?

My theory is that as a tiny child I was exposed to this music. I do know that after my mother left my father, I spend a great deal of time with my two grandmothers. One, Abuelita Josefina (known to her old friends as 'Pepa') had a wonderful memory for lyrics and knew many of the songs of Beny More. Beny More often appeared in popular Mexican films, which went through a golden age in the 40s and 50s.

So maybe that's it; maybe I was sat for hours in front of the TV while my grandmother knitted (she was mad for knitting). Maybe that's where I acquired this overwhelming craving for gorgeous night clubs where Cuban bands play for beautiful people, sipping daiquiris between dancing the son, mambo and cha-cha-cha.

This Cuba does not exist anymore - I've been to look for it. It's all timba and reggaeton now. That's great, but, ah nostalgia. I once spent a whole afternoon lying next to a pool in Santiago de Cuba, listening to the piped music of Beny More. That's as close as I got.


Lucas said...

Wow. Sounds wierd. :-D
But that's what you enjoy doing. I must admit i've never had a craving to dance like that. And i'm ashamed of it really. :-D
But Beny more's good. I like it actually.

(Btw, ages ago i started a petition for a book. Just too give the publishers a nudge. Well, there's only one signing of the petitions so far, and that's me. So i just thought i might spread it a bit. www.thepetitionsite.com/1/savemontmorency5

MG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MG said...

Ah yes, the youth of today and all that, not taught how to partner dance. Not that we were in my day either. If the disco dancing craze of the late 70s hadn't burned out right after "Saturday Night Fever" we might all have been learning the Hustle, but no. Robot dancing, voguing and body-popping; that was our lot.

Madonna Ritchie and her former collegaues in the entertainment industry have a lot to answer for.