1001 Songs Challenge,  1950s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #67: Burundanga (1956)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!


Celia Cruz – Burundanga (1956)

Celia Cruz

Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso (October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003), known as Celia Cruz, was a Cuban singer and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century. Cruz rose to fame in Cuba during the 1950s as a singer of guarachas, earning the nickname “La Guarachera de Cuba”.

Lyrics (via Genius)


Our long stay in the US comes to an end but we are not travelling too far. Leaving the US behind, we make the short flight to Cuba and meet the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz. Cruz had built a career in the 1950s but by the time of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 she decided to stay in the US where she remained for the rest of her life. Today’s song from her glorious career is Burundanga.

Burundanga is sung in Spanish by Celiz Cruz so initially trying to unravel the song was tricky being the one language ignorant soul I am. Consulting an English translation of the song did not help me much further. Celia Cruz sings of people having swelling feet and the importance of defending brothers as one lives better as a result. I’m really not sure what to make of this one to be honest.

Despite not being clear about the song’s meaning, it is still an enjoyable number. Celia Cruz would go from strength to strength despite leaving Cuba behind and she would become a symbol for exiles from that country after Fidel Castro took power. Burundanga is just one example of her talent even though I still haven’t a clue what it’s about.


Favourite songs so far:

Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose (1946)

Elmore James – Dust My Broom (1952)

Little Richard – Tutti Frutti (1955)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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