Photo: Ricardo Alonso Venereo

Restoring and promoting the work of Antonio Gumersindo Garay, better known as Sindo Garay (Santiago de Cuba, April 12, 1867- La Habana, July 17, 1968), on the 150th anniversary of his birth, is the main aim of the Musical Publishing and Recording Enterprise (Egrem) with the release, this year, of three albums by the author of “La Bayamesa” and “El Huracán y la Palma.”

De la trova un cantar… Sindo Garay is the name of the first of three volumes, which was recently released and features 12 tracks all written by Garay except for “Tormento fiero,” for which he composed the music with lyrics by Pipí Richard. The album also includes two bonus tracks: “La baracoesa” and “Que ojos serían,” the last songs Sindo, also known as the “amazing bard,” recorded before he died.

Meanwhile, the volume also features other tracks including,Ojos de sirena,” “Elvira,” “Germania,” “África,” “Guarina,” “La baracoesa,” “Neurosis,” “Perla marina,” “Rayos de Oro,” “Tormentos fieros,” “Ya es tarde,” and “Retorna;” sung by artists such as Adriano Rodríguez, Dominica Verges, the Dúo Almenares Márquez, Dúo Cabrisas-Farach, Manolo Mulet, Sindo’s granddaughter Margarita (who sings for the first and only time with her father Hatuey, accompanied by Sindo on the guitar, on the track “La baracoesa”) as well as the singer-songwriter’s sons Guarionex and Hatuey Garay.

According to the publisher’s notes, written by researcher Lino Betancourt: “In his life as an actor, composer, and singer, Sindo brings together hundreds of trova singers, past and present.” In regards to the album Betancourt states, “Listeners will find little known recordings by the singer-song writer on the CD, and will have the privilege of hearing Sindo sing alongside his sons Guarionex and Hatuey. This production is a kind of archive or reference source for trova researchers.”

At the presentation of De la trova un cantar… Sindo Garay, during the most recent edition of Cubadisco 2017, the renowned musician’s grandson Rodolfo Garay thanked Egrem for their efforts to restore over 100 of the singer songwriter’s works, until that time in very poor condition. Donated by Sindo’s family, some of the songs had either been completely forgotten or were practically unknown.

Also noteworthy is the work of Egrem editor, Hjandy E. Cantero Rodríguez, in charge of track selection; the archive and documentation work undertaken by Roberto Vicente Prieto Borrego and Annia Liz de Armas Valido; restoration and mastering by sound engineer Daelsis Pena Padilla; and album design by J.A. Mompeller.

We are eternally grateful to Egrem for releasing this and two forthcoming albums, because we can never allow works like that of Sindo Garay’s, creator of more than 600 pieces which encapsulate Cuba’s roots, to be forgotten. These works form part of the island’s cultural heritage, heritage which, now more than ever, represents our culture’s main defense.