“La Paloma” is a popular song, having been produced and reinterpreted in diverse cultures, settings, arrangements, and recordings over the last 140 years. The song was composed and written by the Spanish composer of the Basq region Sebastián Iradier (later Yradier) after he visited Cuba in 1861. Iradier may have composed “La Paloma” around 1863, just two years before he died in Spain in obscurity, never to learn how popular his song would become.The influence of the local Cuban habanera gives the song its characteristic and distinctive rhythm. Very quickly “La Paloma” became popular in Mexico, and soon spread around the world. In many places, including Afghanistan, Spain, Hawaii, the Philippines, Germany, Romania, Zanzibar, and Goa it gained the status of a quasi-folk song. Over the years the popularity of “La Paloma” has surged and receded periodically, but never subsided. It may be considered one of the first universal popular hits and has appealed to artists of diverse musical backgrounds.
In my new country of residence, the festive season is a time of high summer, where nearly the entire country repairs to the beach for a month or so. We’ve followed them, as evidenced by this pohoto of sunset at La Paloma on the Atlantic coast, looking across from where Africa tore away from South America all those millions of years ago. The basement here is around 2.5 to 3 billion years old, part of the Rio de la Plata craton, and gneisses intruded by granite and other high grade metamorphic rocks outcrop all along the coast.