You know the song. You’ve heard it ordering your tall skinny beverages; you’ve heard it practically any place where mojitos are served; you’ve certainly heard it if you’ve ever gone to Cuba. But even though the Buena Vista Social Club’s version of “Chan Chan” is ubiquitous, you haven’t heard the song rock out. Not until Cuban-Canadian Adonis Puentes covered it for CBC Music.
Some quick factoids in case you want to know more about what you are watching:
The singer: Adonis Puentes is an award-winning singer from Artemisa, Cuba. He’s lived in Vancouver since 1998, and his first CD recorded in Canada with his brother, Alexis, won a West Coast Music Award and a Canadian Independent Music Award. Since then he’s gone on to record a solo album, sing on Grammy- and Latin Grammy Award-nominated albums, shared stages with the likes of Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Juan De Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars, among others. Can we get to the end of this without mentioning his brother is Alex Cuba? No, apparently not.
The song: Written by the late Francisco Repilado, a.k.a Compay Segundo, who is oft quoted as saying “I didn't compose 'Chan Chan,' I dreamed it. I dream the music. I sometimes wake up with a melody on the head, I hear the instruments, all very clear. I look over the balcony and I see nobody, but I hear it as if it was played on the street.”
Who is Chan Chan?: A guy who gets excited when Juanica does something sexy on the beach involving sand. (Chan Chan and Juanica are staples of Cuban folklore, so that part was not made up in Compay Segundo's dream, by the way.)
Watch "Tumbando Mangos" by Adonis Puentes
Jane Bunnett, Chucho Valdes celebrate 3 decades of Cuban music
Five new sounds of Cuba, from Danay Suarez to Interactivo
Listen to Alex Cuba’s new songs, watch exclusive CBC videos
Official Adonis Puentes website
PBS interview with Compay Segundo