This charming performer has been well known as a Cuban troubadour since the early '80s, writing his own songs and performing them with the sole accompaniment of his guitar. His career developed according to a grand scheme, the venues increasing in size from clubs and cafes to theaters and cultural centers with the names of cities scribbled in the datebook taking on decidedly non-Latin characteristics. The 2002 release of the CD entitled Ilustrado Caballero de Paris meant a great deal to listeners long enchanted with Gerardo Alfonso's poetic songs such as "Sabanas Blancas," a portrait of his homeland's gorgeous white savannahs.
"Yo Te Queria Maria" was an Alfonso ditty delivered unto the Cuban hit parade by Issac Delgado, expressing the familiar desire in Latin music to somehow bond with somebody named Maria. Alfonso's biggest fans no doubt prefer his own interpretations of his material, themes ranging from the ultra-serious religious dogma of "La Balada de John (Sentado y No Crucificado)" to a novelty song such as the hip-shaking, shutter-clicking "Polaroide Habana Rock." As for "El Ilustrado Cabellero de Paris," the so-called "gentleman of Paris" was a famous street person in Havana between the '50s and '70s, meaning this song is a kind of Cuban version of "Mr. Bojangles." ~ Eugene Chadbourne