This song was originally on old Cuban standard. I remember my grandma playing the Jose Marti version when I was a kid. Wyclef Jean redid it on his Carnival album, released under Columbia records in 1997 and featuring Lauryn Hill. Wyclef of course added his usual flair to the song and revived it for a new generation.

Hola! Soy Celia Cruz
(Hi! I am Celia Cruz)
Y estoy aqui con Wyclef, celebrando Carnival; Azucar!!)
(And I'm here with Wyclef celebrating Carnival; Azucar!!)
We out here in Miami just shining
Guajila, Guantanamera
Bout to bring it to you in stereo
Guajila voy, de na meda
Yo soy un hombre sincero
That was then, this is now Welcome to the Carnival, the arrival... c'mon!
De donde crecen las palmas
Spanish Harlem!

Boogie Down Bronx!
Back to Staten!

Hey yo I'm standing at the bar with a Cuban cigar
Guajila, Guantanamera
Hey, yo, I think she's eyeing me from afar
Guajila Guantanamera

Verse One:(Wyclef)
Yo, I wrote this in Haiti, overlooking Cuba
I asked her what's her name, she said, 'Guantanamera'
Remind me of an old latin song, my uncle used to play
On his old forty-five when he used to be alive
She went from a young girl, to a grown woman
Like a Virgin, so she says with no average mind
Keep the figure, move like a caterpillar
Fly like a butterfly, let your soul feel her glide
Pac Woman better yet Space Invader
If your name was Chun-Li, we'd be playin Street Fighter
Penny for your thoughts, a nickel for your kiss
A dime if you tell me that you love me

Hey yo, I'm standin at the bar with a, Cuban cigar
Guajila, Guantanamera
Yo, I think she's eyeing me from afar
Guajila Guan-tana-mera...

Soy una mujer, sincera
(I am a sincere woman)
Do you speak English?
De donde crecen las palmas
(From where the palm tree grows)
Can I buy you a drink?
Soy una mujer, sincera
(I am a sincere woman)
Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh
De donde creeeeeeecen las palmas
(From where the palm tree grows)
You killin me
Y antes de morir, yo quiero
(And before I die, I want to)
cantar mis versos del alma
(sing the verses in my heart)
Te quiero mama, te quiero!!

Hey yo I'm standing at the bar with a, Cuban cigar
Guajila, Guantanamera
Hey yo, John Forte, she's eyeing me from far
Guajila Guantanamera

Verse Two:(Lauryn)
Yo, she was a rose in Spanish Harlem, mamacita beg your pardon
Make stakes at a faster rate then she fornicates
Pure traits of genius, Goddess of Black Venus
Crab niggaz angry cause they can't get between us
to no sele-xion, smooth complex-ion
The lexicon of Lexington, parents came from Cuba
Part Mexican, pure sweet, dimes fell to her feet
She like Movado, and shook her hips like Delgado
And broke niggaz down from the Grounds to Apollo
and then some, she took her act sent it to dim sum
And waited patiently while the businessmen come
Call late on purpose, got even politicians nervous
And made plans to infiltrate the street secret service
This gentle flower, fertility was her power
Sweet persona, Venus Flytrap primadonna
Que sera, que sera she turned dinero to dinera

Hey yo I'm standing at the bar with a, Cuban cigar
Guajila Guantanamera
Hey yo, I think she's eyein me from afar
Guajila Guantanamera

A version of "Guantanamera" sung by Pete Seeger figured significantly in the plot and mood of Don McKellar's "Last Night", a 1998 movie starring McKellar, Sandra Oh, Callum Keith Rennie, David Cronenberg, Sarah Polley and Genevieve Bujold. The movie follows individual people preparing for the last six hours of their lives as the Earth faces oblivion from an unstated but absolutely inevitable and unavoidable oblivion. Once you hear the song as it is used in the movie, it will be difficult to associate the song with anything else.

A 1994 movie written and directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, arguably Cuba's best-known and greatest film director.

Gina (Mirta Ibarra) welcomes her aunt Yoyita (Conchita Brando) back to Guantánamo after a 50 year absence; also eager to reconnect with Yoyita is her high school sweetheart Cándido (Raúl Eguren). Sadly, just as the two toast to their rekindled love, Yoyita dies. Gina must return her aunt's body to her home Havana, and thus our story unfolds.

The journey to the capital is masterminded by Gina's husband Adolfo (Carlos Cruz), an officious undertaker who has an ambitious scheme to turn his flagging political fortunes around. His idea is a quintessentially communist one: have each province that bodies pass through on the way to their final resting place responsible for transporting the body from their own provincial capital to the next one. So Gina, Adolfo, and Cándido set out on the long trip from one end of Cuba to another with the body of Aunt Yoyita, transferring the corpse from hearse to hearse as they pass through the provinces. They follow the hearse in a car driven Tony (Luis Alberto García), a smooth operator who is constantly buying black market goods with American dollars and stashing them in the trunk to sell later.

Along the way the party crosses paths again and again with Mariano (Jorge Perugorría), a playboy with a lovesick woman in every town desperate to make him theirs alone. But Mariano and Gina know each other: Gina was his economics professor at university before she was forced to quit for her unorthodox teachings, and Mariano was a student who wrote her a love letter and then quit university in embarrassment. Now he's a truck driver, hauling goods across the country with Ramon (Pedro Fernández), who knows a bit more than Mariano about how to choose good partners and make them happy.

A motif in the movie is the music: a peppy version of "Guantanamera" recurs throughout the movie, with original verses providing a narrative of the movie's characters. Another nice touch is the telling of the legend of Iku during a violent rainstorm; Iku created people who never died, only to see the error of his ways and introduce death into his creation.

Ironically, partway through the filming of this movie Alea, the director, died of cancer; it was completed by his colleague Juan Carlos Tabío.

This sweet and gentle road movie manages to poke fun at the Cuban economic system and the bureaucrats who run it, show off the beautiful scenery of the island, and raise profound questions about love and loyalty and life and death as well. Highly recommended.

Cast info courtesy of imbd.

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