New Audio Version of this article here
The historic evolution of the famous Cuban song "La Bayamesa" & the tragic fate of It's protagonists.
Translated & Revised from the original essay In Spanish from The magazine "El Bayames" by Enrique Martinez Fajardo
"La Bayamesa Tres Etapas de un Sublime Ideal de Libertad y El Excelso Holocausto de su Protagonistas"
Ano 33 No.92 Febrero 2010
La Bayamesa Is Insolubly mixed Into the Cuban soul & three transcendental moments place It at the very center of historic action and project It vigorously Into Immortality.
With an amorous accent at first, a bellicose Impetus second & an unbend-able firmness third, post the tragic days of the heroic Immolation.
In the first romantic stage It Is the emotive love song created by Cespedes, Fornaris and Castillo Moreno In 1851.
In the second phase It Is the bellicose march song composed by Perucho Figueredo In 1868.
And In the third stage, while wandering between mountains and underbrush & their city up In flames with all of It's riches and well being In It; Bayameses nurture the notes of the original song, transforming It's verses newly Impregnated, with the purest & most ardent notes of Cuban patriotism.
The First Stage:
Marital disagreements had created a crisis In the decade old marriage between lawyer and musician Francisco del Castillo y Moreno and his wife Maria de la Luz Vazquez y Moreno.
They had three daughters at that point Lucila, Leonela and Atala and they all served to Inspire the romantic husband to reconcile and reconquer the love of his beautiful wife.
For this essential endeavor Francisco del Castillo y Moreno recruited his maternal nephew Carlos Manuel de Cespedes y del Castillo and poet, professor & lawyer Jose Fornaris y Luque paternal uncle of Carlos Manuel.
Fornaris was the "Primo Hermano" of Carlos Manuel's father Jesus Maria Cespedes y Luque whom everyone lovingly called Don Chucho.
Fornaris, after recognizing relatively easily the essence of the conflict captured In verses the passionate aspirations of the gallant husband. Cespedes then conceived the sublime melody.
After soliciting the best tenor In Bayamo, Carlos Perez Tamayo to sing the words & many rehearsals later, a firm date was set for It's debut on the 26th of March 1851.
On that fine evening the four family friends set out for the comfortable house on Cruz Verde street, whose remodeled structure now houses the Jose Joaquin Palma theater, and where In front of a beautiful window, adorned with wooden barrotes, they sang the enchanting tune to a beauty among beauties,who with her raven hair, pearl white teeth, Incomparable features & sun kissed complexion, along with her moral qualities, faithfully represents the Image of our Cuba; and on this night Maria de la Luz Is her.
"No recuerdas, gentil Bayamesa, que tu fuiste mi sol refulgente y risueno en tu languida frente blando beso imprimi con ardor?
No recuerdas que en un tiempo dichoso me extasie en tu pura belleza y en tu seno doble la cabeza moribundo de dicha y amor?
Ven asoma a tu reja sonriendo: ven y escucha, amorosa, mi canto: ven , no duermas, acude a mi llanto, pon alivio a mi negro dolor.
Recordando las glorias pasadas, disipemos, mi bien, la tristeza y doblemos los dos la cabeza moribundos de dicha y amor."
From that moment on the superb melody became master of It's people, who found In It's lyrics or melody something profound, a heartfelt protest against the horrendous oppression suffered on the Island under the Spanish "Metropoli"
It became an Indispensable part of the repertoire for musicians and orchestras throughout the Island and the beautiful song dominated In popularity for the next two decades.
The Second Stage:
This stage starts from the moment the clarion calls an end to the battle for Bayamo Oct 20 1868 and It's people emerge forged out of the joys and horrors of war, but masters of their own domain.
And with an unbending firmness and conscientiousness that propelled them Into the struggle for full Independence & with Cespedes at the fore front Bayamo Is finally free.
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes would later be captured and killed by the Spanish at San Lorenzo February 1874.
Perucho Figueredo's battle hymn Is now played openly for the first time to a jubilant populace and empowers Itself with It's notes of combat triumph and liberty Into the hearts of all Cubans delirious with freedom.
This Is the new Bayamesa which In the future would become the national hymn.
"Al combate corred Bayameses,
Que la patria os contempla orgullosa
No temais una muerte gloriosa
Que morir por la patria es vivir"
Hasten to battle, men of Bayamo!
The motherland looks proudly to you;
Do not fear a glorious death,
Because to die for the fatherland is to live.
En cadenas vivir es vivir
En afrenta y oprobio sumido,
Del clarín escuchad el sonido;
¡A las armas, valientes, corred!
To live in chains is to live
In dishonor and ignominy,
Hear the clarion's call;
Hasten, brave ones, to battle!
But Incredible sacrifice awaits following the days of disaster In which Bayameses preferring the ashes to being newly enslaved by the Spaniards burn down their bountiful city second only to Havana In wealth.
And Into the mountains go fleeing It's 10,000 souls without homes, to suffer the deadly consequences of weather and nature.
The Third Stage:
The Intolerable enemy pursues without clemency, the wandering populace between mountains and bush. The most horrible vengeance drives the "Doldadesca", Impotent against the courage and civility offered up equally now by Bayamo as In ancient "Numancia".
No more Is there repentance; neither hunger or misery; nor cold or blazing sun, nor lightning or storm, nor cruel Illnesses, nor lead or bayonet can humble, crush or bend El Bayames. Where there's an absence of civility there's firmness.
Here again re surges the Iconic melody of the old Bayamesa gushing up with surprising enthusiasm & accompanied now with new verses speaking of faith and sacrifice In the epic struggle.
The revived song now reverberates throughout the mountains & valleys of Cuba and along the country roads and lonely pathways of the rebellious Island making more bearable the Immense journey In pursuit of It's ultimate Independence.
"No recuerdas gentil Bayamesa, que Bayamo fue un sol refulgente donde impuso un cubano valiente con su mano el pendon tricolor?
No recuerdas que en tiempos pasados el tirano exploto tu riquezas, pero ya no levanta cabeza moribundo de rabia y temor?
Te quemaron tus hijos, no hay pena que mas vale morir con honor que servir a un tirano opresor que el derecho nos quiere usurpar.
Ya mi Cuba despierta sonriendo, mientras sufre y padece el tirano a quien quire el valiente cubano expulsar de sus playas de amor"
The Sublime Holocaust of It's Protagonists
Much research was conducted In various texts and archived documents to find more precisely the relationships between the protagonists of this legendary song, who gave their lives heroically for Cuban Liberty.
We'll start with the beautiful woman who served as the Inspiration. Her complete Identity Is Maria de la Luz Vazquez-Valdez-Coronado y Moreno de Mendoza.
She was the twin sister of Isabel Antonia, who had a large family with her husband the lawyer and musician Pedro Felipe Figueredo y Cisneros "Perucho" the Immortal author of the bellicose Bayamesa, which became the national hymn at the commencement of the First Cuban Republic May 20th 1902.
Perucho was executed August 17 1870 In Santiago de Cuba alongside the father & son Rodrigo and Ignacio Tamayo by firing squad.
Luz Vazquez y Moreno and her cousin Francisco de Castillo y Moreno were married when she was just 15 and he just 21 years of age.
In 1843 they had their first daughter Lucila later came Leonela and Atala. After the debut of La Bayamesa on the 26th of March 1851 the following children were born in order Francisco, Adriana, Pompeyo and Heliodoro.
In the future Lucila del Castillo y Vazquez would marry Francisco Antonio Estrada. Leonela the poet Jose Joaquin Palma y Lasso de la Vega and Atala who emigrated to the US and Key West married Don Carlos Costales.
Turning to Fornaris who was the only one who escaped the martyrdom suffered by the rest of the protagonists.
He traveled to Europe In 1871 visiting several countries till he settled In Paris France and worked their till the end of the Ten Years War 1868-1878.
He returned after the signing of the Pact of Zanjon.
He then lived In Havana where he taught History, Literature, Grammar, Latin and Greek In various schools until his death there on September 19 1890.
The popular Encyclopedia " Cuba en la Mano" says this about Fornaris: he was censured by contemporaries for his "Inactivity" In the decade spanning the "Ten Years War" 1868-1878, notwithstanding his previously being one of the first & most Intense revolutionaries In fomenting a nationalist spirit through his literary work.
In his native Bayamo his name lives on in perpetuity In one of the street names within the historic city center.
Now to the moving sacrifices made by the families of Luz Vazquez, Figueredo and Cespedes the Bayames historian Jose Maceo Verdecia In his book "Bayamo" offers us this adequate portal with Impacting & florid language:
"There are families who come Into life touched by misfortune. chosen by destiny to propel the evolution of nations; like the martyr of "Golgata" has to endure the torment, In whose ending they find themselves obligated to exclaim the same terrible phrase " Our kingdom Is not of this world"
Bayamo was bountiful In these families. The martyrs and heroes who gave up their lives In the conflict of 1868 dragged along with them, all of their families, who In turn had to suffer the same misfortunes and hardships too.
Inscrutable plans of eternity! born between splendor and pomp; on the whims of fortune until only moments before the fire of Bayamo, from an Illustrious birth Into the arms of misfortune; her luxurious home destroyed, witness to the sinking, relative by relative, In the bosom of death, without patrimony other than misery no closer to life than the Implacable pain destroying her as rough and dismal as the oppressors of her motherland"
Francisco del Castillo y Moreno died before the start of the war against Spain. Suffering with tuberculosis he traveled to Madrid for treatment but died without a cure In 1867.
His widow Maria de la Luz and their children fulfilling a patriotic role with titanic Integrity Inscribed their surname, with the Indelible language of heroic sacrifice, Into the most amazing pages of Bayamo's history..
On Oct 17 1868 just a day before the first shots were fired In the city against the Spanish oppressors by Cespedes, Figueredo and Aguilera, the next to last son Pompeyo died at his home from the terrible ravages of tuberculosis.
With him there were his youngest brother Heliodoro and his tormented mother Maria de la Luz and her other children
He was buried the next day at the cemetery In Bayamo San Juan Evagelista, amid the Incipient battle for Bayamo.
48 hours later and victorious over the Spanish garrison there the glorious notes of Perucho's Bayamesa were Intoned for the first time Oct 20 1868.
After the fire of the city, Luz Vazquez along with an Incredible exodus, penetrated the forests of Guisa, evading the tenacious persecution of both the Spanish soldiers and their vile collaborators.
Francisco del Castillo y Vazquez the oldest of the brothers, barely past his adolescence, joined the liberating armies and became one the first to offer up his life In the fields of the heroic "manigua", fighting for the Independence of the fatherland.
But of all the Castillo y Vazquez family the one who most fervently embraced the revolutionary cause was Adriana barely 17 years old at the time.
During the conspiratorial stage, she served as an Infallible link, coordinating reunions of leaders; distributing propaganda, Transmitting opportune warnings and leading multiple episodes In which she displayed the valor, mettle and courage of the women of Bayamo.
In his book "Bayamo" the historian Jose Maceo Verdecia recounts an Illustrative episode.
"During a procession of three captured patriots, Rodrigo Tamayo, Eleusino Betancourt & Federico Sanchez & among a multitude of curious witnesses, Adriana broke through the Spanish cordon.
Then evading the guards from stopping her placed a bouquet of flowers Into the tied hands of one of the men and took off hastily throwing kisses at them and shouting repeatedly "for the three of them" "Para Los Tres" "Para Los Tres"
During the days of battle for the city Adriana Is credited with going into the homes of still neutral or Indecisive Bayameses and Inspiring them Into battle.
After the joyous but fleeting victory she led a band of girls Into the Parroquia de Dolores where they Intoned" El Te Duem" rendering thanks to the creator for the triumph of the revolutionaries.
She contributed to the heroic burning of Bayamo and after a year of evading capture and decimated by Typhus fell into the hands of the Spanish.
Again author historian Jose Maceo Verdecia narrates:
"Adriana without strength to resist the deadly malady dragging her Into delirium refused the medical attention that a Spanish military doctor was offering and summoning her last physical reserves pulled herself unto a nearby bed to die while Intoning the notes of the bellicose Bayamesa of Perucho Figueredo"
Finally to Maria de la Luz Vazquez y Moreno
"With Adriana now dead all the attention fell unto Lucila... with the tuberculosis destroying her lungs The Spanish doctor a gentleman like few & true to his word, with condolences for all the disgraces falling without pity upon that family, tried with all his forces to revive the sick girl.
Under these circumstances however one night after a strong attack of "hemoptosis" Lucila lost all consciousness.The doctor asked for more help but after one hour of trying to revive her was called away.
If after 2 more hours we don't get a reaction we'll have lost all hope he said to the grieving Luz Vazquez. Those were his last words before leaving for other military duties.
The mother after that Instant, crying and with deep consternation, gets down beside the bed on her knees.
In terrible suspense she waited. Hoping to see If life would somehow reappear In her stricken daughter's body.
Time passes without her turning her anguished and prayerful gaze from her daughter's cadaverous face.
Horrible pleadings overcome her heart for all of the disgraces heaped upon her family! Her oldest son Francisco recently killed after a year enduring misery In the mountains, daughter Adriana also dead only a few days ago.
And now on her knees under the terrible anguish of waiting and with a mind weakened by fatality, the time given by the doctor runs out.
She falls beaten by an agony as great as her loneliness as deep as her misfortune & embraces her seemingly lifeless daughter and dies on the spot!"
An hour later under the luminous lights of the mortuary Lucila recovers consciousness.
And so passed away the beautiful woman who served as Inspiration for the creation of the Original Bayamesa. New Audio Version of this article Here
On the audio version of this article we also play Sindo Garay y Garcia's lyrics of the song written In 1919 Originally called Mujer Bayamesa
Tiene en su alma La Bayamesa
Tristse recuerdo de tradiciones
Quando contempla los verdes llanos
Lagrimas vierte por sus pasiones
Ella es sencilla, le brinda al hombre,
Virtudes todas y el corazon
Pero si siente
De la Patria el grito
Todo lo deja, todo lo quema,
Ese es su lema, su religion