Music of Puerto Rico

El Gallito de Manati (Jose Miguel Class)

I recently, September 2008, returned from a filming and recording trip to Puerto Rico and found a marvellous wealth of the older Mountain Music tradition surviving strongly. In spite of that I kept thinking about the older recordings of the late 1950s and among them those os El Gallito de Manati (Jose Miguel Class). El Gallito, by his own admission, says that he could not make a go of it as a Jibaro singer and so moved to Mexico and made a career for himself singing with a Mariachi. He is still singing but these old recordings made when he was still in his early teens are to me irreplaceable. I no longer have the originals, many were copies of the 78s of Puerto Rican friends. THe picture above come from a recent CD release, that I think may no longer be available. In ancase to my mind some of the best of the recordings of that period were not included on that CD, so I am adding them here. I don't want to compete with anyone's business so if these do appear I shall remove them immediately. These are all accompanied by the excellent Claudio Ferrer and his group. EL Gallito on these early recordings really lives up to his name and sounds like a little rooster. All are tinged with the pre-flamenco Andalucian Spanish harmonic-melodic system. I am especially fond of the two comic/tragic love songs, el Aviador (The Aviator) and En Cada Pueblo un Querer (A Love In Every Town). In the first he opens with the line, I wish I could be an aviator and fly freely over the clouds of love. In the second he describes himself as a man with many women, one in almost every town on the island of Puerto Rico and then names all these women, but adds that the one he really loves he cannot go to because of his reputation as a lover of many women.


1. El Aviador

2. En Cada Pueblo un Querer

3. El Trovador(The Troubadour)

4. Lo Que el Viento se Llevo (What the wind took away)

5. Mi Madre Muerta (My Mother Dead)

6. Seis (Seis is a complex improvised poetic form)

Most of these are improvised seises.

More Recordings

Robert Garfias


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