La negra Tomasa

Sometimes you feel really stupid.

So I’ve been listening to Caifanes’ song “La negra Tomasa” for quite a while now. Caifanes, if you don’t know, is kind of like the Mexican version of the Cure: a moody and dark group reacting against 80s pop radio. “La negra Tomasa” is a simple and catchy tune by them with great emotional instrumentation. I never thought of it as anything other than a product of that band.

So I was shocked the other day when I accidentally came across a much different version of the song by Compay Segundo. Segundo is, of course, one of the Cuban greats featured in the Buena Vista Social Club film and CDs. I thought, “That’s crazy…Segundo covered a Mexican rock band?”

Well, I’m the crazy one. “La negra Tomasa” is a song that was around well before Caifanes covered it in the 1980s. It was originally written by the Cuban musician and composer Guillermo Rodríguez Fiffe, which goes a long way to explaining how Segundo came to record it. Sheesh!

Fiffe is the one to the far left (because he's Cuban--ja!).

Estoy tan enamorado de la negra Tomasa
que cuando se va de casa triste me pongo.
Estoy tan enamorado de la negra Tomasa
que cuando se va de casa triste me pongo.

¡Ay, Ay, Ay!
Esa negra linda, que me tiene loco, que me come poquito a poco.
Esa negra linda, que me tiene loco, que me come poquito a poco.

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3 responses to “La negra Tomasa

  1. Aleida Marcy Rodriguez

    I just completed a presentation on Rodriguez Fiffe for my music class and I want to tell you that every time Bilongo is played people feel the rythm. Bilongo is the real name of La Negra Tomasa. I had the opportunity to know
    Fiffe. He was my father in Law. Bilongo was written in 1937 and it has been recorded more than 60 times in different country all over the world.

    • Can you please tell me or help me find the information on the first recoding of the song, such as year, label, artist and format??

  2. In this column, you remind me of my husband, who really liked La malaguena from Kill bill 2 and was taken aback when I told him it is an old old Mexican song– so we got home and I had to find one of my recordings– heheheh