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Magín Díaz

Magín Díaz

The basics
Quick Facts
A.K.A. Magin Diaz
Gender male
The details
Biography

Magín Díaz García (born 30 December 1922) is a Colombian musician and composer. He is best known for being the uncredited writer of "Rosa, que linda eres".

Biography

Díaz was born on 30 December 1922, to Domingo Díaz and Felipa García. Both of his parents were singers; his mother was a well known Bullerengue singer in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Born into poverty, he along with other children worked the land, planting rice, beans and yucca to feed the family. As such, he did not go to school, and thus, cannot read or write. Early on in his life, it was clear that he was musically talented, and was described as a child prodigy. Aged nine, he sang, wrote, and was able to play all kinds of instruments, including the drums, maracas, and guacharaca.

In his teenage years, he worked on a plantation as a sugar cutter. He was enamoured with the Caucasian plantation owner's daughter, Rosa, and aged fifteen, wrote "Rosa, que linda eres" (English: Rosa, how beautiful you are). Their budding romance was taboo, and could never have happened during that time, so the song was seen as just a melody sung by a humble farmer. As the song was not written down or recorded in a studio, it gained popularity along the coast, and other musicians picked it up. He was also known to have written other traditional songs such as "Por el Norte Por el Sur", "Espíritu maligno" and "Me amarás" in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1940s, Díaz then moved to Venezuela and occasionally performed with the tropical band Billos Caracas Boys, alongside Cheo García. However, homesickness and caring for his ailing mother meant he moved back to his hometown, Gamero, a small village near San Basilio de Palenque.

In the 1970s, Díaz returned to Venezuela, to work on a construction site in Caracas. A relative of the Díaz García family, Irene Martínez, went to Medellín to meet with a lawyer to establish legal protection for the song. Díaz could not be traced, and so Martínez was credited as the songwriter. The song was covered multiple times, most notably by Carlos Vives who recorded the song for his album La Tierra del Olvido. However, it has been proven that the song was registered and recorded in Cuba around 1918 before either Díaz or Martinez were born.

Díaz appeared in the 2012 documentary El Tamborero Embrujao, where he performed "Rosa". In 2014, Daniel Bustos, a philosophy graduate from Universidad Javeriana, established No Name Productions, a platform to raise awareness of the “cultural debt” owed to Magín by his fellow citizens through producing an album and documentary entitled El Orisha de la Rosa p

In 2012 an album entitled "Magin & Santiago" was published in the Colombian indie scene. Later in 2015, Chilean label Konn Recordings (now based in Colombia), published the double album, Magín Díaz y el Sexteto Gamerano. The traditional music is on the first disc, whilst remixes of his songs were on the second, encompassing a wide range of genres such as house, dembow and future bass. His first solo album El Orisha de la Rosa was released in 2017, with many artists such as Vives, Monsieur Periné, Totó la Momposina and Celso Piña collaborating on the project. The album was produced by Manuel Garcia-Orozco and Christian Castagno. ″El Orisha de la Rosa was the product of three years of research and recording. Diaz is a bearer of the Afro-Colombian culture, maintaining the country’s magnificent and tenacious traditional music, bullerengue, which, like the country’s Afro-Colombian communities, has survived near constant marginalization and discrimination over the centuries. Diaz says, “Singing for me is as if someone injected me with life… If I do not sing, I’d die.”

Discography

  • Magín y Santiago (2012)
  • Magín Díaz y el Sexteto Gamerano (2015)
  • El Orisha de la Rosa (2017)
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