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Who Sings Palombo?

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Palombo's songs are melodic and follow seemingly simple chord progressions.  His lyrics are poetic, at times romantic, at times subversive and always humane. Just a few of the reasons so many musicians and groups have recorded his songs. And why his songs are recorded across so many genres. 


Said another way: his songs are great to sing!

Here's a sample Sing along and. Enjoy!

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"Maria" (Sonia Manzano) and Big Bird

SONIA MANZANO is the popular "Maria" from Sesame Street. She recorded several of Palombo's bilingual songs.  This, by the way, was a daring move on the part of Sesame Street, for, at that time, their programs were typically only in either English or Spanish. She recorded two bilingual songs, "How Nice to Return/Que Lindo es Volver"and "Let’s Go Outside to Play/Tomando el Fresco".

Eventually, she found El Taller Latino Americano and joined Spanish classes

Sonia Manzano
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Nadie en otoñoPalombo/Sanchez
00:00 / 02:36
Por las palomas Palombo/Sanchez
00:00 / 01:57
Cancion por NicolasPalombo/Sanchez
00:00 / 01:51

MADRIGAL, a group from the Argentine province of Santa Fe active in the '70's, recorded eight songs by Palombo and Sanchez for their first album.

Cancion por VioletaPalombo/Sanchez
00:00 / 03:56
CONTRACANTO was one of many groups that were formed in exile during the era of military regimes in Argentina.  Made in Spain, this is the first recording of Canción por Violeta, a standard of many choral groups all over Latin America.
Cancion por VioletaPalombo/Sanchez
00:00 / 04:06

SANAMPAY was a group from Mexico active during the 70's and 80's.  Its director, Naldo Lambrin, brought together musicians from Mexico and Argentina.  Eventually, he returned to Argentina and  recorded an album called Canción por Violeta - this version was released much later than Contracanto's.

Philip Glass

“Bernardo was my first introduction to Latin music"

(Philip Glass, The Latin Beat, HBO)


Palombo was Philip Glass’ musical consultant for the film Powaqqatsi. He joined Glass on a research trip throughout South America. They visited Peru, Brazil and, at the end of their travels, they composed the theme song for Powaqqatsi.

POWAQQATSI (1988) was the second film in the “Qatsi” trilogy, which began with KOYAANISQATSI (1982). The composer Philip Glass composed all three soundtracks. Powaqqatsi is an experimental film, containing only sounds and images. And its opening song was co-written by Bernardo Palombo. In the film, this song is called Serra Pelada/Bald Mountain; it is also known as Malambo del Sol, for it is based on the Argentine beat, Malambo.

El Taller Latino Americano won funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to create a video that demonstrates the inter-cultural play at work in rhythms throughout Latin America. This video, shot in NYC and Peru, is a complex fusion of place, culture, and sound.

Serra Pelada (Aka Malambo Del Sol)Palombo/Glass
00:00 / 05:01

The group Los Amigos Del Ritmo (Friends of Rhythm) made their own version of Serra Pelada set to merengue beats.

Malambo del solPalombo/Glass
00:00 / 05:25

CANTURIA was a vocal group of almost 20 singers accompanied by percussion and other instruments. It was active in Argentina during the '70s. For its first and only album, they recorded the Palombo/Sanchez Canción por la fusil y la flor (Song for the Flower and the Gun), Juan Nadie (John Nobody), and Cancion para Gabriela (Song for Gabriela).

Cancion por el fusil y la florPalombo/Sanchez
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Juan nadiePalombo/Sanchez
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Cancion por GabrielaPalombo/Sanchez
00:00 / 03:56
Cancion por el fusil y la florPalombo/Sanchez
00:00 / 03:18

Mercedes Sosa’s CANCION CON TODOS was an album recorded live from a concert in Havana, Cuba in 1974. Many of her critics refer to that repertoire as the most political period of her career. Included here is Canción por la fusil y la flor (Song for the Flower and the Gun), featuring her guitarist Pepete Vertiz, native of Mendoza, Argentina.

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Pedro PuebloPalombo/Valdes
00:00 / 02:17

JOSE VALDES, a Puerto Rican musician who passed away in 2008, was a former member of EL GRUPO who continued to make music that used Puerto Rican beats but was of New York’s urban context. The songs relating his experience in the Lower East Side are still unknown – one day, they will get the recognition they deserve. Here, he and Bernardo Palombo sing Pedro Pueblo, a song they composed together.

EL GRUPO is a self-titled album recorded in New York with artists from Argentina, Puerto Rico, the Bronx (NY, USA), and many other places in Latin America. It was a compilation of poems and songs that supported Puerto Rico’s independence effort. The members of El Grupo were Suni Paz, Papoleto Melendez, Sandra Maria Esteves, Jose Valdes, Bernardo Palombo, Hilcia Montañez, and Raffi Rodriguez.

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Voces Blancas

LAS VOCES BLANCAS was one of the most popular vocal groups in Argentina. The mixed band became popular after their rendition of Tito Francia and Armando Tejada Gomez’s Zamba Azul. In their second LP, they recorded Cuna Pobre (Poor Crib),  a lullaby by Palombo/Sanchez.

Cuna PobrePalombo/Sanchez
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MUSICA EN FOLKLORE is the second album by LOS TROVADORES, the famous Argentine vocal group, when it was under the musical direction of Damian Jose Sanchez. In this album, two tracks stand out: Por un Viejo Muerto, which eventually became a classic to choirs and vocal groups, and Imágenes de la Guerra (Images of the War), a folk dance song written for a documentary about the Vietnam War.

Imagenes de la guerraPalombo/Sanchez
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Por un viejo muertoPalombo/Sanchez
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Los Trovadores' first album under the direction of Damian Sanchez. In this album, partially because of the inclusion of three new members from Mendoza, Los Trovadores added to their repertoire folk rhythms from the Cuyo region (Argentina). Plus, they recorded one ballad by Sanchez and Vendimiador, the same recording that made a recording artist out of Palombo, as you may recall! Vendimiador was the product of Palombo and Sanchez’s first musical collaboration. Los Trovadores also included a cueca titled La Cordillerana (The Andean)

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CUARTETO VOCAL ZUPAY’s “Folklore sin mirar atrás”(Folklore without looking back) was voted Best Album by the MPA (Música Popular Argentina) in 1968. It contained songs by Argentine contemporary poets, some traditional songs, and Por un Viejo muerto (For A Dead Old Man).

Por un viejo muertoPalombo/Sanchez
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Loisaida de Siete ColoresPalombo
00:00 / 05:30

WARA was one of the main Bolivian groups that experimented with the adding of rock music’s electric guitar to Pre-Colombian and Bolivian folk music. Sojta was recorded in New York and contains Malambo del Sol, as well as Loisaida de Siete Colores  featuring the Quartet of David Soldier.

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TRAIGO UN PUEBLO EN MI VOZ (I CARRY A PEOPLE IN MY VOICE) is a live album recorded from a concert by Lucecita Benitez, the main voice of Puerto Rico, held at Universidad de Rio Piedras (University of Rio Piedras). Traigo un Pueblo en Mi Voz was from one of her first concerts in which she performs South American songs by Facundo Cabral, Atahualpa Yupanqui, and Bernardo Palombo/Damian Sanchez. One of these songs was Te Digo Hermano (I Tell You, Brother).

Te digo hermanoPalombo/Sanchez
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LIBRE :"LOS LÍDERES DE LA SALSA was the third recording of Imagen Latina which is an authentic statement for Salsa Brava"(The Book of Salsa” by César Miguel Rondón, first published in 1979)

Imagen latinaPalombo/Gonzales
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1981. Irakere y Trabuco Venezolano 2, LP

TRABUCO / IRAKERE In Venezuela 1981, at the Poligono of Caracas , there had been a concert that in many music anthologies is considered to be one of the best salsa events in history.  This concert included acts by the famous Cuban group Irakere and Trabuco Venezolano (Trabuco Venezolano was a musical experiment that brought together Venezuela’s salsa all-stars under the direction of Carlos Naranjo). Below is the 1981 live recording of their rendition of Andy Gonzales and Palombo’s Imagen Latina.

Imagen LatinaPalombo/Gonzales
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Tico Da Costa, born in northeastern Brazil, is a guitar virtuoso and composer. Palombo produced many concerts in New York for Tico, pairing his sound with figures like Philip Glass and Pete Seeger.


Here he is singing a collaboration with Palombo titled

El Pajarillo (A Little Bird).

PajarilloPalombo/da Costa
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And Cancíon del inmigrante (Immigrant Song)

Cancion del inmigrantePalombo/da Costa
00:00 / 03:28
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 Valerie Naranjo, percussionist, Marimbista, singer, and director of the percussion ensemble for Broadway’s The Lion King and other productions, can be heard below with her group Mandara. She sings Canto al Sol/AKA Rising (Song to the Sun), a collaboration between herself, Palombo, and Barry Olsen.

Canto al sol (aka Rising)Palombo/Olsen/Naranjo
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Marta Gomez, the Colombian composer and singer, sings a song by Sara Plant and Bernardo Palombo, Luna Guajira (Peasant Moon).

Luna guajira Palombo/Plant
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Cuida el aguaPalombo
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Dan Zanes, the Grammy Award-winning family music hero, made his first crossover to Spanish with the album “¡Nueva York!"(Dan Zanes and Friends). In it, he sings most of the songs he learned in Spanish class. The album itself was recorded at El Taller and produced by Bernardo Palombo. In 2008, it won the 8th Annual Independent Music Award for Best Children’s Music Album.

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Throughout his career as a music producer and Artistic Director for El Taller Latino Americano, Palombo has combined the talents of artists across genres AND languages.

Leon Gieco and Pete Seeger performed in a benefit concert for El Taller in 1986 in New York City's Washington Irving High School's auditorium. They were joined by Talking Head's singer, David Byrne, who was then a Spanish student of Palombo's at El Taller, but that's another story.

Here is the Leon Gieco version of the song "Cuida el agua" from a performance in Argentina's Luna Park:


This is the last version of "Cuida el agua" that will be shared here is by the incomparable Spanish guitarist, Rosalia Mowgli and her group The Enchanted School. In 2008, Palombo produced an album with her of her interpretations of traditional Spanish folk songs titled "SubVersiones"

photo by j maya luz

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Esta canciónPalombo/Otero
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Palombo recorded "Esta canción" with enfante terrible, protege, pianist, composer, singer, song-writer and Grammy winner, Fernando Otero. 

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