This week we bring you a beautiful song called “Un montón de estrellas” by Cuban composer Polo Montañez. Marc Anthony has also previously recorded songs of this great composer, such as the romantic “Flor Palida”.
For this we produced a fantastic collaboration with several musician from around the world, and encouraged several salsa dance lovers to send their videos dancing to the song, and we received a great response.
Un monton de estrellas talks about a broken heart, about how a girl plays with a man’s feelings showing some interest for him but then not going further, and Polo talks about how he feels like a fool for believing her and his desperation because he can’t forget her.
The song is fairly long, over 6 minutes, and we had the voice of Spanish singer Graciela Rodriguez to sing a verse and backing vocals, the piano skills of Colombian Nene Fernandez, the percussions of Cuban Maestro Sergio Marciano Pereda, on the bass Argentinian Javier Fioramonti, Spanish guitarist Andres Garcia from Granada, and myself on vocals and the production.
They are all musicians I met and worked with during my life in England.
For the dancers we have again several countries represented, from the slums of Uganda, through the Venezuelan countryside, to a UK back garden.
You can dance to salsa music even if you don’t know the steps, you can dance it on your own or with a partner, and there are several videos and tutorials online to learn the basic steps. Dancing is a great way to socialise and make new friends, and I am a dancing lover myself!
About Polo Montañez:
Montañez was born Fernando Borrego Linares in Sierra del Rosario, Pinar del Río, on a farm known as El Brujito. At an early age he worked various jobs including driving a tractor, milking cows, making charcoal, assisting on the family farm, and as a lumberjack. In his spare time, Montañez would go from house to house singing. He began to sing and play in local parties and family gatherings with his father. In those gatherings, he started playing the tumbadora and the guitar at age 7.
He started to manage a group that played in touristic areas of La Cordillera de los Órganos. He lived in la Cañada del Infierno, Casa Blanca, Finca del Cusco, and in 1972 he occupied one of the houses in the touristic community of Las Terrazas. He composed his first song in 1973, titled “Este tiempo feliz” (This happy time), after that he continued creating, but he stored his songs in a drawer because he didn’t consider them valuable.
In around 1994 when the Complejo Las Terrazas was founded, Polo and his own ensemble of sort started playing at its different touristic installations, like Hotel Moka, Rancho Curujey and Cafetal Buenavista. Between those tasks, he met a Lusafrica European label owner and in 1999 signed a contract to make a few records. From there his first album “Guajiro Natural” and the song “Un montón de Estrellas” were born. In Colombia it sold more than 40,000 copies, obtaining Gold and Platinum status, and he was recognized as the most listened to international artist. He became known as the Guajiro Natural (Natural Countryman) because of his humble personality and songs about peasant life in Cuba.
At age 44 he had more than 70 songs written as an autodidact. He had no professional training nor musical knowledge, apart from listening the countryside sounds. He composed in a mix of genres, making use of rhythms he heard and knew. He developed his own style with themes about outside or personal events, impregnated with rural elements: the ox yoke, the smell of coal, the smell of bateys.
In Cuba, Polo’s popularity skyrocketed. Spectators’ numbers at his concerts exceeded expectations.
Polo Montañez died on November 26, 2002, six days after being hospitalized in the Carlos J. Finlay Military Hospital, as a result of a tragic car accident in the Coronela zone near San Cristóbal, Pinar del Río. He was buried in the cemetery of Candelaria, at Artemisa. The cultural centre in the main square of Viñales, Pinar del Rio, is named in his memory.