Cover image of the single Quiero verte otra vez.
Cover image of the single Quiero verte otra vez.

Alexander Abreu: chronicler of our time, singer of the people

4 minutos / Leannelis Cárdenas Díaz

17.04.2020 / Reviews

A few chords were enough to put me into an almost indescribable emotional state. A listening that began just out of curiosity became the most revealing action I have taken in this quarantine stage.

There are many songs that have seen the light of this difficult period that humanity is going through. Artists from all geographies and musical genres have been present these days, each one from his sensitivity trying to calm so much despair. But nothing that I had heard compares with what Alexander Abreu and Havana D´ Primera transmit to me in his most recent song.

I believe that the musical qualities and capacities that coexist in this collective project and in each of its musicians individually are not secret. For several years, this orchestra has been an obligatory reference when talking about quality in Cuban music. Equally well known are Alexander Abreu's ample skills as an instrumentalist, musician, composer and leader of this group. And this is where the detail is: when I thought there was nothing left to discover about Havana D´ Primera, arrives Quiero verte otra vez , a track full of light.

Few times in recent times have I been lucky enough to hear a work in which musical quality, common sense and sensitivity go hand in hand in such an exquisite way. A sincere work, of which they are only possible when it is spoken and created from the heart.

Quiero verte otra ve is a new example of the excellent musical work that Havana D' Primera has accustomed us to, where the ability to masterfully combine complex technical elements with musical codes common to the ear of the common listener becomes a work without borders, of true popular reach. Its secret? The use of elaborate harmonic cycles, although not at all complicated, and the virtuosity of the brass string, added to the use of common texts that are structured from everyday popular expressions and the wise use of percussive resources, always attractive to the dancer .

The use of the "harmonic modes" (minor and major) is in pursuit of supporting at all times the exposed literary ideas, achieving great dramaturgical sense. The same happens with the formal aspect of the song, in which the construction of the phrases and parts of the work is precisely appreciated, exhibiting a perfect marriage between function and form.

On the other hand, the metal section continues on fire. The cleanliness and technical skill with which the passages written for this instrumental section are executed, allow the listener to enjoy a true contrapuntal exercise within popular dance music; recurring aspect in the band.

So far it seems that so much musical technicality prevents the enjoyment of this track. But it turns out that everything is balanced by the construction of a melodic line that, although we cannot call it easy, uses totally affordable intonations in its construction. Likewise, the use of choruses developed on colloquial phrases such as "save it for me tomorrow" ("guárdamelo para mañana") end up giving the song that proximity that the Cuban public so badly needs for a song to become a companion of its days.

But Quiero verte otra vez goes far beyond making you dance and making you repeat one of his choirs. This song makes a phrase so hackneyed these days like “stay at home” ("quédate en casa") —which in the mouths of some has sounded even burlesque— makes real sense without becoming just another expression. He achieves that in each of his verses the feeling of an entire people is reflected in a natural, organic way. It is a true portrait of current times, without ornamentation or artifice.

Today I know many things! I know that music is still the most universal of languages, I know that even in the most difficult moments human beings can turn the ugliest feelings into the most genuine art. Today I hope that "when I see you again I will fill you with hugs."

Leannelis Cárdenas Díaz

Always singing and smiling. There is no better way to face life! Musician and musicologist seven days a week. Cuban from head to toe, inside and out. Keywords: music, family, light, friends, wind, free, sunflower, smile, honey, Cuba.

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