CubaPLUS Magazine

El Guayabero

El Guayabero

Faustino Oramas, artistically known as El Guayabero, is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and popular Cuban singers. This tall slim man how always wears a straw hat and walks slowly translated into his large musical repertoire. He accompanies himself with a musical instrument known as a "tres" a traditional Cuban guitar with three double strings.

Faustino was born on July 4, 1911 and though he is over 90 years old, he continues improvising ingenious quatrains, inspired in the most complicated stories of everyday life.

El Guayabero

Though hi "sones" and "guarachas" (traditional Cuban music), Faustino conveys great Creole fluency, typical of his personality. The jokes and anecdotes with their doble meanings always make his audiences laugh.

El Guayabero says with a smile that he does not intentionally do this but that the double meaning is given by those who listen ti his music with a bit of malice. Holguin's minstrel is surely an outstanding figure of the Creole picaresque genre.

In this customs and tradition section we want yo review some facets of the life of Faustino, a man who is part of Cuba's richest Creole folklore.

According to Faustino, when he had no contracts with radio stations or record companies, he would travel from town to town with other musicians. On a tour of eastern Cuba, they arrived in a small town that was to change its history due to its link with Oramas.

The town was named Guayabero and there lived a beautiful olive-skinned girl who was very interested in the artist.

The minstrel did not know that the beautiful girl was the wife of a member of the rural guard, a repressive police body that abused power in the countryside before the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

The officer was jealous of the musician and threatened to beat him up. Before setting scores, Faustino Oramas and his friends had to leave the town.

Once the fright was gone, that event inspired the artist to create the chorus "en Guayabero mama, me quieren dar" or "in Guayabero mama, somebody wants to beat me up." After that, Oramas began to be known as El Guayabero. Along with the chorus, the song "In Guayabero Mama" become very famous with the passing of time. It is now very common to hear this song in the voice of this nonagenarian singer. He still makes performance tours of Cuba and abroad.

In the 1960's, bolero singer Pacho Alonso included the song in his orchestra's repertoire.

Fame has not caused this minstrel to lose hi modesty. El Guayabero, Faustino Oramas, has been decorated with major distinctions but the most valuable for him is the affection his people.

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