“Vengo de la yunta de buey/ que tira del carretón/Traigo el olor a carbón / y el aroma del batey…”. This song is heard every day in the community of Las Terrazas in the western province of Artemisa, home of the deceased singer-songwriter Fernando Borrego Linares or Polo Montañez, one of the most important musicians in the history of Cuban music.

Polo was born in a town of the Sierra del Rosario known as El Brujito. His father, a coal miner, taught him to love the music of the mountain, to pay attention to the trills of the birds, the wind beating the tops of the trees, the rattle of the carts and the subtle sound of the footsteps on the grass.

His training was self-taught. No one told him how to sing, play the Tres or get poetry out. Towards the 90’s he began his professional career as a vocalist and tresero. It made the nights of the Moka Hotel, very close to his house.

He was already 40 years old when he met Jose da Silva, president of the French label Lusafrica, who after listening to him sing three songs, he hired him for six years. With this record company he recorded “Guajiro Natural”, an album worthy of a Gold Album and a Platinum album in Colombia, where he sold more than forty thousand copies. Lusafrica also published the second album of the composer: “Guitarra Mía”.

Polo was also acclaimed in his homeland, where he was told “Guajiro Natural”, “Cazador de Estrellas (Star Hunter)”. People hugged him at concerts and he hugged them as if greeting relatives

On November 20, 2002, the car in which he was traveling from Havana to San Cristobal crashed into a truck, resulting in serious injuries. Six days later he died leaving a void among those who loved him well.

Since then, his house became a museum and is frequented by dozens of people from around the world every day. There are treasured gold and platinum discs achieved by the artist, white hat and guitar that he used in life, gigantographies, guayaberas and dissimilar personal objects that reveal the spirit, the human quality of the author of poignant lyrics like “Barca a la deriva”, “Cuestión de suerte”, “¿Dónde estará?”, “El rincón de mis ansias”, “La mujer que amo”, “La última canción”, “Locura de amor”, “Mi mejor amiga”, “Puras mentiras”, “Si se enamora de mí”, “Soy un idiota” and “Un montón de estrellas “.

Outstanding personalities of music in the world such as Gilberto Santa Rosa, Willie Colón, Marc Anthony, among others, have recognized the value of the work of Polo Montañez and they have called him “Legend”.

by: Susana Rodriguez Ortega
pictures: From Internet