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Las Flores de la Vida

Las Flores de la Vida cover art

Track Listing

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1La Negra Tomasa (Guillermo Rodriguez Fife)3:57
2Ataidi "Las flores de la vida" (Francisco Repliado Muñoz)4:05
3Oui parle francais (Francisco Repliado Muñoz)2:29
4Juramento (Miguel Matamoros)3:13
5Enamorada (Agustin Lara)3:46
6Amor de loca juventud (Rafael Pascual Ortiz Rodriguez)3:05
7Te apartas de mi (Francisco Rodriguez Muñoz)2:50
8Te doy la vida (Francisco Repliado Muñoz / Lorenzo Hierrzuelo)5:29
9El beso discreto (Miguel Matamoros)2:47
10Longina (Manuel Raimunol Corona)3:18
11Desvelo de amor (Rafael Hernandez Marin)3:46
12Cazabe y macho (Francisco Repliado Muñoz)4:22
13Guantanamera (Joseito Fernandez)5:11

About this Album

Compay Segundo had this to say about Las Flores de la Vida, from Havana, in 2000:

From Miguel Matamoros himself I too have recorded for this album “Oath,” a very old and romantic bolero. Matamoros was a genius, as quickly as he could perform a folk song that would make the saddest spirits of this world burst with happiness. The really important things nearly always occur unexpectedly; one never knows when that opportunity you dreamt about, success, love, is going to present itself. But you must be prepared and have your eyes wide open, because those trains usually do not pass twice.

I believed that at my age those things did not occur, but I was very attentive and, surprise, surprise, "the flowers of life" reached me in my 90s. I found myself with success, and here you have me. One is never too old while the heart still beats.

Flying from Germany to Italy, at an altitude of 10,000 meters, I began to write a few verses. Days later, returning from Havana, I put music to them, and again on a plane, this time traveling from Havana to Rome, I was inspired and completed the arrangements. In this manner, “Las Flores de la Vida” was born, and from that moment I decided that my next album would also have that title. Some people may think that I repeat myself, because another of my albums is called Lo Mejor de la Vida, and I would explain to them that at the age of 93, the word that I like the most is precisely that: life.

In this latest album, there are pieces of old ballads and other more popular songs that I have been interpreting for many years now but which I had not recorded. Amongst them I wish to point out some like “The Black Tomasa,” also known as “Bilongo,” by Rodriguez Fife, which I performed in a few concerts in Spain and which the public enjoyed a lot. I especially remember one time when I sang it in Madrid with the flamenco singer from Cádiz Chano Lobato, who also had a rumba version. That night was marvelous. This time, the arrangements have been done for a trio of clarinets, and I am very satisfied with the result; it is one of the most cheerful moments of the album.

“Longina” is one of the most beautiful subjects of the traditional Cuban ballad; back there it is considered to be part of the national wealth. Its composer, the mythical Manuel Corona, also worked in his youth as tobacconist, just like I did. Paradoxically, in 1950, he left this world fallen in oblivion and in the most absolute poverty.

“The Discreet Kiss,” by my great friend Miguel Matamoros, is a piece that I interpret in nearly all my concerts but up until now I had not had the opportunity to record it. It is a piece that is full of slyness from beginning to the end—that old slyness, fine and full of ingenuity. I like to observe the expressions of the public who come to listen to me, and when I sing them this song it seems like happiness and good humor extends itself like a fire out of control. It is pure fire. He could also make you feel nostalgic with the most beautiful love songs. This is one of those.

Without a doubt, the most universal song of Cuban popular music is "Guantanamera," by Joseíto Fernández, who was my great friend. Every now and again, I visit the house where he lived, his daughter always greeting me as one of the family, and when I look at his guitar, his lightweight jacket hanging from a chair, his hat ... I have the impression that I am listening to his music. He was from Havana, but he also dominated country music, as if he had been born in the East. All my concerts end with "Guantanamera" in memory of Joseíto, and that is why I decided to record it. I know that there are hundreds of versions on an infinite number of albums, but Compay, who is the oldest musician in the world, never recorded it—well it was about time, sir!

There are other songs that also have a lot to tell but, as occurs with the good movies, it is possible to take away their emotion by talking too much about them. The essence must be left for the intimacy of those who listen with the necessary attention. The songs must also be unexpected surprises, as the flowers of life that, without a doubt, will reach all of you someday. Do not doubt it. And I recommend that you be very attentive so as to not let the occasion of enjoying them intensely slip away.


Compay Segundo, armónico (1-13), vocals (1-11), lead vocal (12), chorus (8, 9)
Basilio, clave (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13), chorus (1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12), English vocals (6)
Hugo, lead vocals (1-11, 13), maracas (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11), guiro (3, 12, 13), chorus (2, 3, 8, 9, 12)
Inciarte, first clarinet, chorus (1, 3)
Benito, rhythm guitar, chorus (1)
Haskell, second clarinet, arenga (13), chorus (1, 3), cheers (9)
Salvador, double bass
Rosendo, bass clarinet (1-6, 8, 9, 11-13)
Rangel, congas (1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 13), bells (1, 2, 7, 8, 13), pailas (1, 2, 13), bongos (4, 7), chorus (3)
Luis Dulzaides, maracas (5), bongos (5)
Trevor Morais, snare drum (6)
Andres Tavera, bongos (12)

Produced by Juan Ignacio Cuadrado
Arranged by Compay Segundo
Recorded at El Cortijo Studios, Málaga, by Juan Ignacio Cuadrado and Oscar Herrador
Mixed at Track Studios, Madrid, by Juan Ignacio Cuadrado
Mastered by José Peña

Front cover photograph: Javier Salas
Original design: Jose Puga


This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States and Canada only.

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