Lourdes Pita releases new single 'Lamento Cubano'
“Lamento Cubano” is taken from Lourdes Pita’s album of the same name and
is the only cover song on this all-Spanish collection. Pita has said,
“it really sums up the pain so many families like mine went through when
they were forced to flee their homeland.” The homeland she refers to is
Cuba, and Pita’s sister, Maria, was born in Havana, Cuba in 1961, during
a tumultuous time for that country. Her father, Mario Pita, was involved
in the resistance movement. Pita’s mother, Juana Rosa Pita, is an
acclaimed Cuban poet, who taught Lourdes Pita how to play and sing.
Clearly, Pita has a strong connection to Cuba.
VIDEO (with English translation):
If you don’t speak Spanish, there is an English translation of the
song’s lyrics on YouTube (). However, you can also surmise from the tone
of Pita’s singing and the overall mournful vibe of the recording that
this is a sad song. It mourns the suffering of the Cuban people.
Lyrically, it contrasts that nation’s geographical beauty with the
ugliness of people in pain. For instance, one line wonders how tears can
spoil the perfectly blue skies. Nature is no match for man’s inhumanity
to man, though. Beauty just isn’t so beautiful when people are
The song is taken at a slow pace, as most sad songs usually go. It
begins with a tandem acoustic guitar/acoustic piano intro, before guitar
sets the rhythm and piano intones moodily, a little like setting the
scene during a Film Noir. Pita’s voice comes in sweet and soft, but sad,
as she sings about the Cuban people. It’s not a specifically political
song, where it’s pointed at any particular government (at least not
lyrically). It could be referencing the government before communism took
over, which Pita knows all about, but it could possibly be directed at
the communist government now. No matter the governmental system –
associated with nearly any era, any locale – it always seems to be the
people that suffer most. One definition of politics is that it is a
power struggle. Competing parties struggle for control, and the people
end up being collateral damage in this struggle, much of the time.
At one point, Pita nearly speaks the words to this song. One imagines
this approach was inspired by the way her mother recites poetry. It’s
unsurprising this daughter of a poet is a songwriter (although not the
writer if this particular song) because the best songs can be compared
to poetry that’s put to music. This recording sounds like a song out of
time, in that it could just as easily be a recording from the ‘40s or
‘50s. It is simple, straightforward, and beautiful. There are no modern
elements incorporated. It doesn’t feature hip-hop beats or electronic
touches, for instance. Instead, it utilizes acoustic instruments,
backing vocals and Pita’s honeyed voice up front.
Even without a lyrical translation, though, this recording is easy to
love. It’s lovely in its simplicity. It has a warm, comforting quality
to it. It may make you want to see some of Cuba’s natural highlights, in
fact. It is as much a love song to that land as it is a song about its
hurting people. If it’s possible for sadness to sound beautiful, this is
a prime example of what such an odd juxtaposition sounds like.