Aurora en Pekin
The song ‘Aurora en Pekin ‘ is an enigma. The opening line, translated from the Spanish, goes..”When I heard that Aurora was in Peking, I swore to God that I would follow her.”. However later in the song the singer suggests taking a tram in order to find her. It’s not really possible to take a tram from Havana, Cuba, to eastern China, not now, and not in 1927 when this song was originally written by Alfredo Bolona.
Alfredo Bolona was only one metre tall but in his native Cuba he was a musical giant. His band, the Bolona Sextet, was one of the hottest, most creative combos in Havana in the ’20s. He wrote many popular songs, they are well documented in libraries and on the internet. But on the subject of ‘Aurora en Pekin’ there is almost no information.
Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra decided to record this wonderful song and to feature it in their live set but faced a difficult problem, it’s almost impossible to find a copy of the original lyric, and eventually had to resort to listening over and over to the 1927 scratchy original with pen and paper and a team of Spanish friends.
So who is Aurora? And what is Pekin? We are bold enough to suggest that Pekin (Peking) was maybe a pleasure district in Havana’s chinatown in the early part of the 20th Century, or perhaps an actual club, speakeasy or ‘house of entertainment’. In order to find his girl, Alfredo had to take the tram downtown.