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Backstage Rosa Marquetti. Photo: Personal archive. Rosa Marquetti. Photo: Personal archive.

Rosa Marquetti

In the town of Alquízar and its diaspora there are hundreds of adults who, if you ask them about the teacher Romelia Torres, know very well who you are talking about, where she lived, what her children's names are. Something similar happens with Professor Israel Marquetti. Still, more than 10 years after the end of their long and fruitful lives, there are people who, passing through the land where they grew up, take time to bring flowers to their graves. Others look for their descendants on social networks to thank them "for what your old people did for me", to tell them stories of how they killed hunger at the Marquetti-Torres house - where there was always an extra plate in case someone arrived. without eating—, or to describe how they put their life on the better path by being close to their partner. Romelia and Israel exercised their teaching in a tireless way, without rest, like a karma or a predestination.

Through intelligence and courage, faced with the difficulties involved (yes, it still involves) being black of humble descent and not born in the country's capital, the couple went beyond the subjects they had to teach in each course, to transmit love to knowledge, respect, decency and courage for life, to hundreds of students and three children. Of the latter, the oldest was the only woman.

As part of her "comprehensive training for life", the girl Rosa received piano lessons from the age of six with the teacher Ángela de la Uz. Without being a strictly musical family, the melodies and harmonies, especially those of classicism and its reflection in the Cuban music of the time (dances, contradanzas) were part of the soundtrack of his life. His paternal aunts, on the other hand, inoculated him like someone who doesn't want things with an interest in his younger world and his idols Antonio Arcaño and Arsenio Rodríguez. In the voice of Luis Marquetti, paternal uncle and relevant composer of popular music, who was a frequent visitor to the mansion, and also by the younger students, the winds of bolero and filin entered that family and in that house with a humble atmosphere. and distinguished at the same time.

Rosa Marquetti with Pio Leyv. Photo: Personal archive of Rosa Marquetti.

Rosa Marquetti with Pio Leyva. Photo: Personal archive of Rosa Marquetti.

The Marquetti girl —with a natural humanist vocation and a firm and independent character— quickly opted for freedom, which then inevitably embodied in the decision to live and study in Havana. He left behind six years of domestic piano studies to get a scholarship in the capital, enroll at the university, graduate with a degree in Philology in Russian Language and Literature and, very soon, find himself translating as soon as a relevant event or negotiation took place with USSR officials —such as part of Cuba's presence in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Came). With too much of her own criteria to accommodate being a mere transmission channel from Spanish to Russian and vice versa, it was not long before she was considered a specialist in economic collaboration and was invited to be part of important negotiating groups in the nascent State Committee in charge of this activity (Cece). Meanwhile, there were always musicians in all gradations of her personal environment: acquaintances, friends, lovers and boyfriends, while the young Marquetti was herself a regular presence in the capital's nightlife audiences.

Those who have been protagonists or even secondary actors in the Cuban musical events of the early 1990s must have heard of the Pablo Milanés Foundation. The well-known singer-songwriter was determined to make available to the Cuban culture to which he owed so much, a not insignificant amount of his time and resources and he did so through a management model that had no precedent in the Cuba of the last 30 years. , something more than the protagonist of our story told then. The Pablo Milanés Foundation lasted a short time (1993-1995), but while it existed it had a relevant role in discovering and launching both emerging and forgotten musicians. There, in the role of executive assistant to the president of the Foundation, Rosa Marquetti perhaps found the perfect fit to take advantage of her artistic interests, her personality traits and a vocation for service that owes much to teaching. “What is inherited is not stolen”, goes the saying.

Rosa Marquetti with Joan Manuel Serrat, Víctor Víctor, Lupe Pérez and Darsi Fernández. Photo: Personal archive of Rosa Marquetti.

Rosa Marquetti with Joan Manuel Serrat, Víctor Víctor, Lupe Pérez and Darsi Fernández. Photo: Personal archive of Rosa Marquetti.

Since then, music was no longer a collateral element in his existence. Rosa or “La Marquetti” as some of us call her, is one of those few truly off-road people in the Cuban musical ecosystem. He has worked in record companies (Magic Music, 1993-1997), in collective copyright management entities (Sgae Cuba, 1998-2019), produced records and events (with impressive names such as Joan Manuel Serrat, Chucho Valdés, Concha Buika, El Cigala, Michel Camilo or Rosario, just to mention a few), in promotion and public relations, in digital music distribution. He has probably the strongest track record that someone born in Cuba can display in terms of archival research, supervision, casting, coordination and production of audiovisual materials dedicated to music (The Miracle of Candeal, Old Man Bebo and Boy and Rita, by Fernando Trueba; Tosco, King of Timba, by Asori Soto; Stories of Cuban Music, a series coordinated by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón for TVE; Walking Aragon, by Tané Martínez; Chucho Valdés, the child inside, by Angel Alderete; Buena Vista Social Club. Bye, by Lucy Walker; Y the great felove, by Matt Dillon, are just a sample of the dozens of films and documentaries in whose credits his name appears). It seems like a lot, too much. But there are people whose energy and gifts do not understand 24/7.

The absolute devotion to his family and, especially, to his mother and father, whom —already elderly— he cared for with courage and infinite love without ever stopping work, the practically maternal attention to his nephews, the number of friends and “godchildren ” of all ages who can attest to her hand always lends solidarity, they seem like things from a movie superhero when seen in context with her impressive professional work.

Rosa Marquetti with Ivet Frontela and Herbie Hancock. Photo: Personal archive of Rosa Marquetti.

Rosa Marquetti with Ivet Frontela and Herbie Hancock. Photo: Personal archive of Rosa Marquetti.

Thus, as if the time dimension had no relevance, Rosa decided in 2014 —perhaps trying to fill the void left by the departure of her father, her mother and then her brother Israel, the doctor— that she had much more to say. and to do. Slowly, quietly then, while he fulfilled his responsibilities in the Sgae delegation in Cuba, he created a blog and began to write in his "free time" with an obsession evident from the very name: to avoid the collective amnesia that was leaving forgotten dozens of protagonists in the history of Cuban popular music. Forgotten: Stories of Cuban Music It soon became an oasis for music lovers, scholars, musicians and readers in general. As I write these lines, it already has 82 entries of meticulous, carefully written and highly entertaining prose about characters, milestones and moments in our musical ecosystem, many of which are also the only reference that exists on the subject on the Internet.

The blog became a book, with editions in Colombia (La Iguana Ciega, 2016) and in Cuba (Ediciones Ojalá, 2019)… And more research and more books followed: Chano Pozo. Life (1915-1948) (Editorial Oriente, Cuba, 2018 / Editorial La Iguana Ciega, Colombia, 2018 / Some & Others Editions, United States, 2019); The Child with his three. Andres Echevarria Callava, Nino Rivera (Unos & otros Ediciones, United States, 2019)… And he wrote dozens of record notes… And many other collaborations on Cuban music for The Cuban Gazette, The Jiribilla, Cubarte, cataurus, AM:PM Magazine, OnCuba News & Travel, La Lira Magazine and Barranquilla Jazz Festival Magazine… And she answered requests to participate as an expert in events, conferences and panels on music here and there…

Rosa Marquetti with Bebo Valdes.

Rosa Marquetti with Bebo Valdes. Photo: Personal archive of Rosa Marquetti.

In this roller coaster full of vital adrenaline that is the contribution of Rosa Marquetti Torres to cultural management and studies on Cuban popular music, her current stay as curator and researcher in the largest collection of Latin American music in the world (the one that proudly holds Alejandra Fierro from the project Radio Gladys Palmera), where he has also settled the version in podcast by forgetful. Stories of Cuban Music, might seem like the highlight. But for Doña Rosa Marquetti there is no culmination.

He has an unpublished book (Carlos Vidal Bolado, a Cuban in the kingdom of jazz), and others in preparation. He is currently working on different phases of various audiovisual materials. And to those of us who have a feed of social networks that privileges musical environments, meets us with amazing omnipresence in posts and multiple interactions. Wherever an oversight, an error, a malicious or uninformed bias seems to discredit our music or its followers, she is there to provide data, add missing information, undo misunderstandings, dot the i's. Indefatigable, like a karma or a predestination.

Romelia and Israel must be smiling while they dance a danzón, there where the father-teachers who have their missions well accomplished go to relax.

Avatar photo Darsi Fernández Hyperlink with human figure. He has a bad memory only for what suits him. He dreams of retiring to read. More posts

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  1. Indira Contreras says:

    Beautiful story thank you for being part of that family

  2. Grettel Pozo Ubals says:

    Excellent article!! Undoubtedly, the teacher Rosa does justice to forgotten characters of Cuban music and who gave so much glory to the national culture. I celebrate this simple tribute!! Bravo!!

  3. Alfonso Nieto G. says:

    An article that shows with great objectivity, the importance and in-depth investigative value of Doña Rosa Marquetti, who is tireless in her historical and real exploration, always printing with great freshness the cultural value of Cuban music, the Caribbean and other spheres. with important reflection and roots in the "popular". Thank you Darsi F. for showing us the great value and the intense work and the monumental and transcendental contribution of Rosa Marquetti in our music and in Our America.

  4. lorenzo cisneros topete says:

    a tireless woman in her love for Cuban music her music is a respectable reference for all, in my frequent visits to the Sgae in Havana I met her sweet and intelligent presence, topeteCisneros

  5. Chely Rodriguez says:

    Beautiful article, she deserves it.

  6. Ivet Frontela Rico. says:

    A thousand thanks Darsi for such a beautiful tribute to our dear and admired Rosa, our Marquetti of the soul. And not only from the soul of his friends, acquaintances, relatives, but also from the soul of our Cuban culture, of our musical legacy, our country will forever owe him a gratitude close to the divine, without his efforts to be a chronicler of his time and In the past , we would not leave to those who come after the faithful testimony of what we were as musicians , if there is anything left many centuries from now , we will largely owe it to our Rosa , she came to the rescue of a large part of the musical heritage that almost died without knowing each other well, leaving anonymous those who laid the foundations of what we are today. One day he will have the place of honor that has already been done within our culture , surely some self - respecting musical research center will bear his name , and that will be a guarantee of truthful knowledge . The bar has been set very high but it will surely serve as an inspiration to the replacement that succeeds her. Thank you Rosa for being so great and so generous. Thank you Darsi for not forgetting about her.

  7. Felix Morin says:

    I am from the other side of the CD... that is, a neighbor of her parents and of the great family in the Alquizareño terroir and I can only affirm that this great lady of the best education, a brave, capable and unrepeatable woman has more energy than a Hurricane. Wherever her hands pass, there is a true Revolution of Love and deep transformations….and thousands of other qualities, as well as being a great professional, she is also the best daughter, sister, aunt, friend 5 we are not proud, privileged to be able to say Rosa My sister is my best friend

  8. Beatriz Cifuentes BB says:

    Nice and well deserved article.

  9. Lisbeth says:

    Magnificent and interesting, Rosa is great, with a unique charisma and at the same time so simple. Very nice and well deserved Mr. Darsi

  10. Emelina says:

    Wonderful article, well deserved by Rosita, and I attest to the veracity of the data.
    Thank you Darsy!!!!!

  11. Maite Martínez Ruiz says:

    My respects to Rosi, she is an arsenal of knowledge and born intelligence, I am aware of her dedication to the family, needless to say, the love we feel towards her, we wish her a long life.

  12. Rita M. Juncal says:

    Magnificent review of dear Rosa Marquetti and her family. It fills me with pride to have shared with her a part of her years in the work of CAME.

  13. Daisy Diaz Mora says:

    Excellent comment that does justice to this great specialist and person

  14. Leo says:

    You missed the hand girl!!!!

  15. Leobaldo says:

    You missed the hand girl!!!!

  16. AlePendiente says:

    How enlightening your words are for those of us who know Rosa Marquetti for what she teaches us about essential music in each of her publications.

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