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the band playing at El Aljibe restaurant in Havana, Cuba

More Cuban music – and look who’s singing it!

In Cuba, because the economy is so screwy weak, the national currency isn’t worth much. Cubans who work with tourists earn much more than the standard government salary because they’re tipped in foreigners’ “hard” currency instead of the Cuban peso. This is everyone from a hotel chambermaid to a professional tour guide to artists and musicians.

As a result, a ton of restaurants and hotels have musicians playing for tips. And when I visit the same hotel or restaurant a couple times, I get to know the musicians a little bit. When we know each other well enough, I’ll get invited to do a song with them.

Here’s one of those times. This was the farewell dinner of a recent trip. One tour member had a birthday, so I sang her a love song. This is actually a Cuban song I translated into English… and as far as I know, this is the only English language version out there.

A big thank-you to Margaret for shooting the video. And a shout out to Grency and Foster, our Cuban guide and driver, who jumped in for the Spanish part! They’re the best. It was a perfect moment, and I’m thrilled to have a video of it.

English:
What’s it matter if I love you, when you no longer care for me?
Love should never be remembered after it has died away
I was everything you longed for, but that was long ago
I’m but a shade of the past now, and I still cannot let go

If the things that one has dreamed of could be made reality
Then your feelings twenty years ago are what you’d feel now for me
With what sorrow do we look on as we drift further apart
It’s one piece after another being ripped out from my heart

Spanish:
¿Qué te importa que te ame,
si tú no me quieres ya?
El amor que ya ha pasado
no se debe recordar

Fui la ilusión de tu vida
un día lejano ya,
Hoy represento al pasado,
no me puedo conformar.

Si las cosas que uno quiere
se pudieran alcanzar,
tú me quisieras lo mismo
que veinte años atrás.

Con qué tristeza miramos
un amor que se nos va
Es un pedazo del alma
que se arranca sin piedad

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