Virgilio González: Inexhaustible Cuban Nature

virgilio-gonzalezInexhaustible Cuban nature…such is the legacy of Virgilio González Solar, of western Pinar del Rio province. The creator of the classic “La Ola Marina”, and also of “Jacobo Basura,” “Es la Cubana”, “Rompe Saragüey”, “Muñeca de Bacarat”, “Clara”, and that piece in which a rose weeps for the absence of its gardener: “Le dije a una rosa.”

In the town of San Luis, Pinar del Río, Virgilio José Enrique González Solar was born on November 27, 1907. Virgilio was a man of humble birth, and had nine siblings. From a young age, and in the face of the collapse of the trade that his father José had to support the family, he had to work in the countryside, especially in tobacco plantations.

When he was only seven years old, he already did the weeding, collected and cleaned the aromatic leaves. But he did not manage to become a tobacco apprentice, like his parents wanted, but a postal worker, a trade that guaranteed getting some money to contribute to his home’s economy, and that allowed him and his brothers to study elementary education.

Soon the artistic principle became evident in him, when listening for hours an old phonograph or performing in children’s representations taking place in his modest school. Thus, Virgilio González Solar was formed as an artist, someone who would make history in Cuban popular music.

When he was 15 years old, Virgilio began to play the three-string guitar under the guidance of the cigar maker of his town, Plácido Otaño. A significant change occurred in 1924 when he and his entire family moved to Havana.

In 1934, Virgilio González married Mercedes Maynulet, a union that could only be broken by death and from which two sons were born: Virgilio and Roberto. Music then was not a way of life for anyone and growers had to alternate trades that would increase the meager earnings. This did not escape Virgilio and he was a cigar maker, a car washer, a bus driver, an assistant mechanic of water meters and a street vendor of records. He did all this to support his family.

Without a doubt, “La Ola Marina” is perhaps the piece by Virgilio González Solar with the largest amount of versions over time. The Antonio María Romeu Orchestra, Tito Puente and his Orchestra, Miguelito Valdés, Xavier Cugat, Noro Morales and the Hermanos Palau Orchestra and Orlando Guerra “Cascarita,” among many others, have made ​​versions of the work with arrangements for danzón, guaracha and son montuno rhythms, and even for twist.

 

The music of some of his creations appears in films produced both in Cuba and abroad, among them: Amor y Pecado (Jacobo Basura) and Lazos de oro (Los Espejuelos), in Mexico, and Con el diablo en el cuerpo (La Ola Marina) in Argentina.

 

Over a hundred registered works, many of them unpublished and waiting to be interpreted by young and established son and bolero performers, have remained as the most reliable legacy of Virgilio González Solar.

 

On October 14, 1985, this prolific and modest author ceased to exist, but the work and the memory always transcend the corporeal state of the living to walk the intangible path of popular memory. Love is the most subtle of all human enigmas… discovered for eternity by Virgilio González Solar.

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