'Chan Chan' was written in 1987 by Cuban singer Máximo Francisco Repilado Muñoz Telles, known as Compay Segundo.
The song relates the story of a man and a woman who are building a house, and go to the beach to get some sand. The man collects the sand and puts it on the sieve. His woman shakes it, and to do so she shakes herself, making the man embarrassed.
The cigar-smoked tones of Compay Segundo, who has passed in 2003 aged 95, were central to the great band known as the Buena Vista Social Club. His signature voice defined the face of Cuban folk music for more than half a century, while his songs relished with double entendres and cheeky allusions to love. He emphasised the significance of love and dancing in his life.
On the composition of the song, Compay Segundo said:
"I didn't compose Chan Chan, I dreamt it. I dream of music. I sometimes wake up with a melody in my head, I hear the instruments, all very clear. I look over the balcony and I see nobody, but I hear it as if it was played on the street. I don't know what it can be. One day I woke up hearing those four sensitive notes, I gave them a lyric inspired by a children's tale from my childhood, Juanica y Chan Chan, and you see, now it's sung everywhere."
'Chan Chan' page on LyricsTranslate.