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Tribute to Polo Montañez


with special thanks to:

Polo Montañez 1955-2002
He was born in 1955 in the Cuban countryside in a place called El Brugito (the small lizard). When Polo was ten he joined his father's small band, and learned how to play tumbadora, maracas and the marinbula. Above all, music was for him a family matter. Polo had practically never left his mountain home and the music he played didn't sound like any other on the island. That's the Little Wizard "sound", the loma (mountain) "sound", in other words an unclassifiable and very intimate guantanamera.

Un Guajiro Natural

Polo Montanez He started to work from a very early age, and over the years he held many different jobs; e.g. assisting on the farm, driving tractors, and milking the cows; later, he became a lumberjack, which meant long hours and backbreaking work. But when night came, he always dedicated himself to his craft, going from house to house singing. In 1994, Polo gave up the saw and the axe to play full-time, and he started working in a deluxe hotel in Las Terrazas where he quickly became the regular house act. Polo used this opportunity to increase his repertoire. Today he reckons having 79 titles to his credit. Boleros, son, cumbia, guaguanco arranged in Polo's way. Because this lumberjack-singer never wandered from the road he had mapped for himself.

Even if sometimes it's missing, is never that far
If Polo Montañez was to known by one song, it would be Guajiro Natural (the real peasant).
It says:
"I am a real peasant who comes from Cimaron Mount
I know my condition
I know where I come from
I come from the oxes
That pull the cart
I smell of charcoal and sugarcane
I can take a plane if necessary
But I'll always be back
There is no confusion with me
There is no confusion but laughter and the idea that happiness -
even if sometimes it's missing -is never that far.
Music, full of strength
Polo was a very humble man. As well as being a simple yet profound poet, his music cannot be classified in the traditional music sense. It's a lively music that smells of Popular, those dark tobacco cigarettes that he appreciated so much. This music is full of the strength of his elders and doesn't have anything to do with fleeting trends that come and go every day on the Malecon. It's music worthy of his legacy.
Polo Montanez

Polo Montañez has left us

The charismatic singer dies as a result of a traffic accidenton Wednesday, November 20, 2002
BY PEDRO DE LA HOZ —Granma daily staff writer—

DESPITE the tremendous efforts by doctors to save him, 47-year-old Fernando Borrego (Polo Montañez), one of Cuban music’s most charismatic artists of recent years, died at 11:20 p.m. on November 26 at the Carlos J. Finlay Military Hospital.

His death was the result of a lamentable traffic accident that occurred on Wednesday,
November 20 when he was returning by car from the capital to his home in San Cristóbal,
Pinar del Río province. It was an agonizing week in which people followed news on his grave condition by the minute. Day and night, from one end of the island to the other, Cubans demonstrated their solidarity and expressed their most fervent hopes for the artist’s recovery. But he was unable to survive the serious brain trauma and the ensuing complications of such a precarious condition.

Granma daily has received many tributes to Polo’s brief but meteoric musical career from both home and abroad.

Shortly before his death, a letter from Italy described him as follows:

"A man like him — of the people, modest and ordinary — knows how to win everybody’s affection. He’s in all our hearts and we are proud of him." Polo Montañez burst upon the island’s musical scene like a bolt of lightning. In under a year — in the second half of 2001 — he rose to the top of Cuban radio stations’ hit lists with "Un montón de estrellas"
(A Mountain of Stars).

With this and other songs from his first CD Guajiro natural (Natural Countryman) he won over the Colombian public and made inroads into other Latin American countries and Western Europe. His surprising and, at the same time, powerful ride on the crest of the Cuban musical wave and his incessant international success was accompanied by a type of legendary mystique fueling the tale of a guajiro who charmed the world with his simple, moving music. And his patriotic feelings led him to set to music the poems of Antonio Guerrero, one of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States.

Polo Montañez’ second CD on the Lusáfrica label was released in May;
Guitarra mía (My Guitar) established him among us, building upon his achievements during
the last two months of spring when he filled stadiums and plazas the length and breadth of the country. Of late, the singer had enjoyed Puerto Rican Gilberto Santarrosa’s splendid version of "Un montón de estrellas". And he was preparing to continue touring abroad to promote his second CD.

"Un monton de Estrellas"

The most famous, and maybe the best song he made ...

We, the real lovers of Cuban music will miss him badly ...

Thank you Polo

Yo no se porquè razon cantarle a ella
si decìa aborrecerla con las fuerzas de mi corazon
Todavia non la aborro totalmente
ella siempre esta presente como ahora en esta cancion
incontable son las veces que he tratado
de olvidarla y no he logrado
arrancarla in un segundo de mi mente
porchè ella sabe todo mi pasado
me conoce demasiado
y es possible que por esso se aprovece

Porque yo en el amor soy un idiota
que ha sufrido mil derrotas, que no tengo
fuerza para defenderme
pero ella casi siempre se aprovecha
unas veces me desprecia
y otras veces lo hace para entretenerme
y es asi…

Hoi recuerdo la cancion que le hice un dia
Y en el fondo lo sabia que eso era malo para mi
poco a poco fui cayendo en un abismo
siempre me passo lo mismo
nadie sabe lo que yo sufri
una victima total de sus antojos
pero un dia abri los ojos

e con rabia la arranquè de mi memoria
poco a poco fui saliendo hacia adelante
y en los brazos de otra amante
pude terminar al fin con esta historia

Porque yo en el amor soy un idiota
que ha sufrido mil derrotas, que no tengo
fuerzas para defenderme
pero ella casi siempre approvechaba
y si alcun dia me besaba, esso era solo para entretenerme
y es asi....

Todo fue,….asi
asi....mismo fue ...por ella
yo la queria, yo l’adoraba
però tenia que abborecerla
todo fue por ella
como yo quise a esta mujer
porque pensaba que era buena
yo era capaz de subir al cielo
para agarrarle un monton de estrellas
un pajarito que va volando
yo lo cogi para complacerla
asi .... todo fue por ella
tanto se burlò de mi
y hora no puedo verla.








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