Tagged: Ibrahim Ferrerr

MUSIC NERD MOMENT OF THE DAY: Buena Vista Social Club – El Cuarto De Tula

Few albums have come along in the last few years that have been as major, as monumental, and crossover ready yet authentic, and as melodic as 1997’s Buena Vista Social Club. This is the album that propelled some of Cuba’s most fervently experienced music artists back into the public spotlight with the help of world music impresario Ry Cooder. The album made the rounds on popular talk shows (including Oprah) back in the late 90s and gained tons of mainstream appeal, but that’s a whole other story in and of itself. One of the most iconic tracks from the album is “El Cuarto De Tula”, a tune that’s deceptively festive and upbeat, until you really sit down and read the liner notes, or just look up the meaning of the words online. Roughly translated, the chorus reads: “At Tula’s room, the candle knocked over. She remains sleeping and never put out the candle.” So while plenty of people were probably dancing around thinking this was just another Cuban song of sexuality and freedom, it’s actually a very somber tale. But then again, as with any song, it’s all in how the listener hears it and what they take from it. The voices of the singers are twinged with a weariness and an expertise that can only come from years and years of ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments. The music, again, as up tempo and amazing as it is, disguises what can be read by as real hurt and loss by some, and some tongue in cheek sexuality by others. “El Cuarto De Tula” is certainly a song that has the potential to get any party started, but also has an even greater potential to make us think about life, love, loss and community many different ways.