As I write the fifth and last chapter of this musical "Sentimental Journey", I can't help but think of all the great songs that I have heard over the years. Many of them might not fit the bill i.e. the somewhat arbitrary selection criteria that I have established, but even if they do, there is only one spot left on my Top Five list. After going through many songs and artists in my mind, I have decided to choose: Malagueña by Connie Francis 康妮法蘭西絲.
According to Wikipedia, a Malagueña is a woman living in the Spanish port city of Málaga on the southern coast of Spain in the province of Andalucia. There are two Malagueña types of folk music, the Venezuela genre and the Flamenco style. Now, I can only assume that when Ernesto Lecuona was writing the music and the Spanish lyrics of the song, he had the Flamenco style in mind. My assumption is based on the fact that Malagueña is the sixth movement of the piano suite Andalucía. For those of you who are not too familiar with Ernesto Lecuona, he also had written Siboney (Canto Siboney), a song that was later sung by Connie Francis and incorporated by Wong Kai Wai into his film 2046. As many music lovers will agree, Ernesto Lucuona's talents and achievements have helped bring Cuban music to the international forefront and he is indeed one of the true iconic figures of the 20th century. I will add a rendition of Lecuona's Siboney by Ruben Gonzalez of the Buena Vista Social Club in my blog in the near future.
Connie Francis 康妮法蘭西絲
I must say I am biased when it comes to adding Connie Francis 康妮法蘭西絲 to my Top Five instead of iconic singers such as Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, etc. In fact, Connie Francis has never been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a fact that is not lost with her supporters at the Connie Francis International Fan Club.
While I am not too crazy about some of her songs, I do enjoy very much her record Connie Francis Sings Spanish And Latin American Favorites of which Malagueña and Siboney were featured. I also admire her personal courage and struggle to bounce back after being raped following a performance at the Westbury Music Fair in New York. According to Wikipedia, the attack caused her to divorce Joseph Garzilli as she had become emotionally withdrawn for several years despite her husband's positive support. She resumed her career in 1989 and has been touring the world since then, renewing acquaintances with her loyal fans in different countries. She was in Europe, Asia (including Hong Kong) and more recently in San Francisco.