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Oye cómo va Illustration: Jennifer Ancizar


I was talking on the phone with Robertico Carcassés and I felt a voice nearby. "Who is it?", I asked Roberto and he told me it was Descemer. What, if it is possible to talk to him, Roberto, I asked; "sure", said Carcassés with a voice that seemed firm, but exhausted. It was a Sunday; I remember it because I was recording my radio program and because that same day they gave me some rare yellow sheets and, as they sold pumpkins, we laughed a lot at the yellow of a stubborn day, as the days in Cuba can be.

I spoke with Descemer for about 10 or 12 minutes. He was happy, full of plans in Cuba. He had left Yerba Buena and decided to form Siete Rayos. We already knew that he had been part of the Estado de Ánimo, that in the ranks of that group the lecterns were very high, and that he went on to Columna B and then decided to try his luck in the United States.

At this point it seems too obvious that being close to Santiago Feliú brings verses. Descemer drank from there, and came up with some boleros that he placed on Fernando Álvarez, who was already in finals. The New York Times said that this was one of the great albums of the time.

Descemer knew how to reposition the bolero in today's world without burning its essence. The bolero was modern, but with verses that came from the Cuban trova, passing through the bars where Membiela or Laserie drank. Let's say that Bueno also won a Goya. Let's remember that he produced albums for Vivanco, Yusa, Telmary, Haydée Milanés, Diana Fuentes, Kelvis...

And after doing jazz, fusing, writing traditional music, he made a shift that, looked at from the extremes, would sound like betraying himself. He left the bass and made commercial music. Today, I think I paraphrase Walter Benjamin, everything is merchandise, even the Bible, so Miles Davis is sold (Davis knew, he knew) or Charlie Parker or Silvio.

But Descemer has not only sold, he has sold well. His songs in the Billboard charts support him. His songs go hand in hand with Juan Luis Guerra, Romeo Santos, Enrique Iglesias, a sustained etcetera that continues, because he already dares to try his hand at dembow.

Thirty years ago Descemer stopped being 20; however, he continues to make music for teenagers. Many have stayed with his early stuff, just as his current audience is unlikely to listen to his jazz moments.

The world spun, Descemer spun, life has also spun. I wanted to remember him with this column. I have seen him talking surprisingly about a peace that resembles his first songs, when he told us about butterflies, placed in simple verses, almost perfect, quivering verses.

I also went back to his album OkayI listened to influencers influencing those he influenced, saying the word "master" as if it were a bad word. I also returned to Descemer in lawsuits, unfocused, scattered, with his wilted dragonflies. I saw the pain in which we have sunk and the extremes that haunt us, and I ended up seeing an extraordinary musician.

I can only be grateful for the songs. I no longer have time to keep dancing, turn up the radio and alcohol, or pose, pose, pose when I fall in love, but this man gave a twist that implies many things. Here there are those who were painfully afraid of pop. That Sunday of the first paragraph, Descemer told me on the phone: "For me there are no artistic boundaries". He was clear.

He has returned in a beautiful calm, as if he had sunk into some bolero of his, as if he had heard himself say to himself: "don't abandon yourself to calm with an open wound, be happy".

Rogelio Ramos Domínguez Writer of verses and songs. Full-time journalist and especially father of Claudia Ramos. More posts

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  1. Ángel Ramírez Goliat says:

    I think it's great! Thanks

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