Quizás Quizás Quizás

Updated: Apr 17

In week one of our new online course - An Introduction to Spanish Song - the first song you will look at is Quizás Quizás Quizás.

Osvaldo Farrés was a prolific composer of more than 300 songs and he is widely recognised for his boleros. Born Osvaldo Farré, the composer of Quizás was born in a small Cuban town of Quemado de Guines, Las Villas, on 13 January 1903. In 1962, he and his wife Fino del Peso Farrés left Cuba, never to return. Farrés passed away on 22 December 1985 in New Jersey, USA.

So, first thing's first, what is a bolero? Simply put, the bolero is a dance. It originated in Spain during the late 18th century as a form of ballroom music. This influenced European art music composers - including French composer, Maurice Ravel - whose 1920s composition Bólero is performed all over the world to this day.

In the Americas, an unrelated bolero genre rose out of the Cuban trova tradition, a 19th century Cuban musical movement of itinerant poet-guitarists who roamed eastern Cuba, particularly Santiago de Cuba. The songs written during this time directly influenced the nueva trova cubana of the 1960s, a socio-political reaction to Cuban identity in the aftermath of the 1958 Cuban revolution and the 1968 student movement worldwide.

But, back to 1895, trovador Sindo Garay is thought responsible for transporting the bolero from eastern Cuba to the Dominican Republic. This led to stylistic exchanges and fusions between the islands. Around 1915, the bolero was popularised by pioneering radio stations in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

By the 1930s, when Trío Matamoros mixed bolero with son cubano (a musical form traced to the Cuban highlands incorporating Iberian and African styles). This famous fusion became known as bolero-son and was soon a staple of the musical repertoire of most Latin American countries.

While living in Cuba in the 1940s, Farrés ran a radio show called "El Bar Melódico de Osvaldo Farrés", which was eventually turned into a TV programme. It was during this time that he wrote Quizás Quizás Quizás, which became a commercial success internationally. Its English title was "Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps" and was sung by the biggest Hollywood celebrities of the day.

The year Farrés left Cuba was the same year as the Cuban Missile Crisis, a 13-day confrontation between the United States and the USSR brought on when the USA found out about a Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba.

This is a recording of the songwriter Osvaldo Farres singing Quizás Quizás Quizás in 1947.

In 1958, Nat King Cole - one of the most famous TV personalities at the time - released an album of Spanish-language songs. This record hugely popularised these songs to the English-speaking masses across the USA and Europe, including Farres' beautiful song.

Despite Cole's questionable Spanish and gringo accent, the calibre of the musicians performing on the album, as well as Cole's infectious charm, made it a hit.

To find out more about the history of "Quizás Quizás Quizás", the very best renditions, as well as its cultural context, sign up for our course at this link and keep reading below.


Dates: 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th April 2020

Time: 5:30pm - 6:30pm UTC

Who is this course for?
  • Singers who speak a bit of Spanish

  • Spanish-speakers who love to sing

  • Anyone who wants to learn a unique party piece

  • Anyone who wants to learn more about the heritage and musical culture of the Spanish-speaking world.

  • Anyone who wants to learn a party piece

  • Singers from other cultures who may want to diversify their repertoire

What you'll learn:

Over the 6 weeks of this course, you will learn 6 songs from the Spanish-speaking world. This course is taught through both English and basic Spanish (recommended). As well as learning how to sing the songs, you will study each song’s history, its lyrical themes, and the musical culture that created it.

About the facilitator:

Dónal Kearney is a singer and music educator. Living in Spain, Ecuador and Bolivia embedded his love of the Spanish language and deepened his appreciation of the distinct cultural identities within the Spanish-speaking world. Dónal is a certified Community Music Leader with international humanitarian organisation Musicians Without Borders, a critically-acclaimed singer, and Director of Coro Español Irlanda (Spanish Choir Ireland). He is joint Founding Director of the Irish Institute of Music and Song.


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