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Reviews Photo by: Abel Carmenate.

When Frank came on stage, the audience was already there.

Long before the scheduled time, the public began to arrive to fill the Che Guevara hall of Casa de las Américas. The hall was full and chairs were still being brought out. People on the floor, standing and at the back, on the sides. Everyone was anxiously awaiting the departure of the musician who had announced the celebration of his 45 years of trova. On the stage, the minimum and the usual: the emblematic sculpture The tree of lifea guitar, a tres and a ukulele. Three microphones.

The people waited and the conversations made a sound cushion on which, around 6:00 p.m., the first chords of the evening stood out. Frank entered the stage guitar in hand and singing "Sometimes when I'm lost, like a sailor in the distance, I see your compass rose and I breathe confidence again.". An ovation greeted the artist and a chorus rose to sing with him: "You have become my map". There was no shortage of smiles from those who remembered their youth or from the young people who have found their voice in Frank's new trova.

After breaking the ice, what makes it authentic: the talk; the jokes that can not miss, because whoever has been to a concert of Frank knows that it is fifteen minutes of conversation and three minutes of music. But the artist did not extend himself as usual. There was a musical life to go through and more than twenty songs to sing. So with the joke "Batteries have to die in combat" - alluding to the technical malfunctions that could occur during the concert, which was being recorded - he sang, guitar only, The fortune teller.

Photo by: Abel Carmenate.

Frank brings together years of Latin American music. Belonging to the Nueva Trova movement together with Santiago Feliú, Carlos Varela and Gerardo Alfonso, he is a worthy exponent of that mixture of traditional trova, filin and protest song. He is recognized as the voice of more than one generation. Tracks such as In Cuba the troubadours, The wheel of fortune and Friendship -the latter, together with singer Vicente Trigo, served as a preamble to the guaracha that would follow.

Once we got into the warmth of the Casa, the following themes came to get us out of our chairs en masse Cubañolito, Hipibano, Casanova, Cecilia Valdés and Sleeping Beauty, Melesio was right and The whore island. Accompanied by guitarist and tres player Leodan Brito, several genres could be enjoyed in the same song: traditional trova; contemporary trova with some less conservative arrangements -guitaristically speaking-; influences of jazz, blues and son in all its variants; changüí; sucu-sucu; son with trova and son montuno. 

"If Sabina doesn't remember me, that's his problem, but we share the same stage...", Frank said while telling the story of when, at a Silvio Rodríguez concert, he went on stage to sing Cuba goes and then Santiago Feliú and Joaquín Sabina joined him. With him in the middle and hugging both of them, the photo was left for history. "If he doesn't remember it's because of life, imagine, but we did sing together," he laughs as he tells the story. With that introduction we already knew what song would come next: With Sabina in Vedado, of the disk You troubadours don't know a thing about life. We sang, once again, and then we realized the couples that in that theme were trapped for history, because "if Pablo is from home, Silvio is with Niurka, Santiago with Ofelia and Pedro Luis left. Carlitos is with Greta, Gerardo is on the moon and Polito told me he was going to see...". 

Photo by: Abel Carmenate.

And as the traditional trova is a kind of mother for the movement, the stage was not lacking in Saint Cecilia. Silvio and Pablo had already done it, and Frank and Carlos Lage did it, as will other young people in the future. The knowledgeable audience chanted loudly from their seats. Heidi Igualada and Marta Campos joined in from the other side of the stage to make the moment a cult of history and roots.

Troski's Cha cha cha cha, If Che lived and I am a man who suffers, the latter performed with Erick Sanchez, served to "...shine on a stage where he has played everything that is worth and shines of the new Latin American song", as the musician said exclusively to Prensa LatinaThis was the place to do it, like a pilgrimage that has to be made from time to time", he said.

Photo by: Abel Carmenate.

After 19 songs, a pile died in combat as he had announced would happen. "If I were a young musician I would panic, but I already make this a show", he commented at the end of one of the songs accompanied by the guitarist, because his guitar was mute. With the instrument ready again and after two hours of concert in which the audience did not get tired of singing and applauding him, as it is done to people who have filled one's heart, came songs such as The orchard and Serenade.

He didn't have to say "When the lights go out, my nigger, we're going to get naked." to make the audience stand up when they heard the first rips of the song. To the beat of a rock and roll with bluesThe feet of the young and not so young could not contain themselves. At that point, the chairs that were not enough at the beginning were left over and there was no one left on the floor. Adrián Berazaín got on stage and with his harmonica played a legendary song in Frank's repertoire, one of the composer's and many people's favorite albums: Trovaturwhich led him to be broadcast and listened to in Africa, Europe and Latin America.

After this one, we all knew the end was near. The law of retaliation, Within reach of a ten, The broth, Rapunzel and Fuck Miguel served as a farewell to the concert. The catchy Cuban music, the rock and roll, the Brazilian influences in his music and a deep discourse, without forgetting his evident sympathy to connect with the people, make Frank and his concerts a unique experience in which you don't just go to listen to music. Laughter, musical knowledge and stories "back in the day" enriched an encounter that is, musically speaking, more than trova, more than "trovear".

It went without saying that the theme was the last one, the audience intuitively knew: "Life is like a second of a great event and you must be clear about its fundamentals".. People, friends who had gone in groups, those who met again at the Casa, those who from a distance made video-calls, those who recorded in WhatsApp audios, we all sang along with Frank and Leodan Brito at the end of a concert for which 27 songs were chosen from more than 300. A broad tour through the discography of a voice that conquered past and present generations and will surely conquer future ones.

Frank Delgado will reach 45 years of artistic life being what he always wanted to be: a troubadour. The Casa de las Americas welcomed him in advance of the date, which will be celebrated this coming July 29, for which he will perform another concert at the Almendares Park, a site that, like the Casa, received his music from the beginning.

When Frank took the stage, the audience was already there. An audience that he has been able to cultivate for years, that will always be there, that knows all the songs, even the least sung in concerts. And the troubadour, like his batteries, ready to die in combat.

Photo by: Abel Carmenate.

Karla Flores More posts

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  1. Francisco Saucedo says:

    Pero como no reconocer a este hombre-trovador que con sus canciones me hicieron conocer parte de la Cuba profunda, desmitificar lo ideológico y acercarnos a una de tantas realidades que se llenan de cubanía. Frank me acercó el corazón y con la “María flaca” o “Konchalovski hace rato que no monta en lada” o “Con la adarga al brazo” me brindó el placer de conocerle. ¡Salud, vida y amor para todas y todos y para Frank Delgado y su trova, larga vida…!

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