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The Jam Collage: Raul Ciro. Collage: Raul Ciro.

Raul Ciro (V)

In the summer of 1999, Raúl Ciro was part of the concert cycle Generación Ñ (a Sgae project), making presentations in Spain together with singer-songwriters such as Nacho Mastretta and Antonio Birabent. Very soon he settled in Granada, Andalusia, where he lived for more than a decade, until his final return to Cuba. His new life project in the Iberian Peninsula moved between more or less formal jobs, from sweeping the floor in a nursing home to being a projectionist in a drive-in movie theater, composing, studying, making recordings and videos, performing a concert with friends (including a nostalgic reforming the duo of Superávit), playing in the Madrid subway (one of his longings), acting as a househusband and dreaming a lot. 

Alternating with housework and various commitments, he put together the compilation CD master leftovers with his songs recorded live in previous stages, and billed new music for a couple of independent and self-financed albums, Cirofúrgol (2002) and zeronine (2008) that he distributed in domestic copies among his friends, with hardly any circulation in Cuba. He also made rereadings of other people's pieces, which never came out, and put together the audiovisual follow the rabbit, with footage of Surplus, Queso and Cyrus 3C.  

Here Raúl recounts his thoughts, small victories, discouragements, the anguish of distance, and his daily observations. (Humberto Manduley). 

images that heal

I approached the audiovisual world because at home there was always a camera and a good slide projector. Because he forged my invitations to the Havana Film Festival; because I met the Chaskels; because I always cry if it touches; because Alfredo Pérez said it knowingly; because I downloaded Premiere from Soulseek, and Antonio and Laura have helped me and taught me a lot. Because they gave us a camera when Susy and I got married; because I've always been who now they think they see or ignore. Simpler: because I can, I want to, I always wanted to and I couldn't. I love cutting and pasting, adding synchronized or unsynchronized effects to a good theme, and being able to open a hole in the wall that people thought was insurmountable. What is it but follow the rabbit?

Too bad the rabbit thing was done by learning to use editing software. I made mistakes and that's what people put forward. It's curious that now, that I control it more, something doesn't come out with such authenticity and bomb. 

I like to believe that my “audiovisual” projection was formed by all the cinema that I saw as a child and that marked me, sometimes in very subtle or strange ways, as much as the one that I have known later. The Matrix took me out, Ghost in the Shell, Deli, Solaris, Forget about me! Then, working at the drive-in theater, I was able to see many films that I didn't know and I accessed others with a different perspective, perhaps that of my age. But I must say that playing with the camera and the Premiere has saved my life. Meeting Julio Álvarez, the brilliant inventor and lover of profound cinema, in addition to being his employee, brought me closer and closer to the genius of the great José Val Del Omar. 

of good judgment

van it is a cursed project, it did not suffer the same fate as the previous ones. Also, I couldn't count on Víctor Bencomo to master all that. That's why it doesn't sound like it should, although every time I check it I see great themes. early water is my favourite. I find it incredible to have played all the guitars the way they sound. NIE and 6 circular they are not bad 

When I get control of the programming of drums and percussion, things will go better for me. This time I only used a few loops ridiculous without variations and very predictable. I dream of playing a real drum set. 

I also made a disc with only two songs. Is named zeronine. I produced it in its entirety and I think it sounds very good, with a timbre richness almost bordering on certain classic sounds. walking with the cow it is a version of the original walking the cow by Daniel Johnson. I know she has her flaws, but she's adorable and authentic. The other is the final shot of Tricolor, with the ending you wanted. Also, recently I dared to gold-day from Sparklehorse. In the absence of Pablo (Herrera), Susana helped me with the translation. The rest I did. there it was golden day, my version. 

I am dedicating a good time every day to my music, although it is obvious that I am more alone than «my mother». it's hard to throw palante in this sense of direct, having made it clear years ago that it doesn't make much sense, although today he contradicts me only in intentions. At times I want to do so many things that I get a little lost alerting myself and finally reorienting myself.

I have contacted the sister of a friend, she is a drummer. We haven't squared anything yet, but I'm sure I'd like to do a short concert, a few songs. Form the trio using Mario Ojeda as bassist. If I can ride Verde melón,, NIE, Cájar Sacristy, 09, menstrual regulation, images that heal and Lali —plus two possible versions (golden day and I want to be millionaire, of the Illegals)—I will already have a repertoire. The point is not to bore the staff.

Raul Cyrus. Photo: Courtesy Humberto Manduley.

Raul Cyrus. Photo: Courtesy Humberto Manduley.

I think the important thing is to be very clear about what you want and not make a fool of yourself. Achieve goals. For now, I can play a nice piano timbre and sing over a background by Tricolor. When I listen to those songs I think they sound really good. Also, with video and everything. What else can I say, do? Could it be that people can't stand the evidence? Is it that more time has to pass, priority changes happen, and then, someday, when I can no longer know, feel the feedback? 

Finally, I am alive. I always continue to do my things from self-sufficiency, but today none of this matters, as far as I can tell. Like I'm talking about more. People seem to me to go to another frequency, I'm not saying better or worse, they understand other things. The others, he ignores them, discards them, they are non-existent noises. I'm not even a troubadour anymore, much less a singer-songwriter. Being able to recreate my leafy worlds does not guarantee me anything. It doesn't condition me either, I just observe affected sometimes, analyzing the event. 

Of music in Granada and cool

Between Radio 3, Radio Gladys Palmera, the second [hand] vinyl I get and digital technology, I keep listening to everything I can and it happens close to me. The other day I discovered a 1971 album by the Frenchman Serge Gainsbourg, Story of Melody Nelson. What a sound! But I go jumping from this to that, without marrying a time, or a style: King Crimson, The Beach Boys, a lot of Beatles and McCartney, Adrian Belew, Jeff Buckley, Spinetta and Charly, Sigur Ros, Daniel Johnston, Grandaddy, Jimi Hendrix — what a great album Are you experienced?eh?—Emitt Rhodes. I'm also reconnecting with Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Nick Drake, their rarities that have appeared on the market. Market, did I say? Although in reality the one who caught me was Mark Linkous. We have talked about something. His music with Sparklehorse is simply great.

I have also discovered a lot of music from around here: the Solynieve Expert Group, 091, Suso Saiz, Domestic, Dorian Gray. Even Last in Line, The revolt of the frogmen I heard it quite a while ago. Many old things I go through again, and I still haven't decided between the original analog copies and digital. Juan and Junior, Los Pasos, Formula V: it's like coming back. There are others that I no longer see as funny, but yes, I think that —despite what they say— it was more interesting music than most of what is out now.  

The Bill Frisell of All We Are Saying (the version of mother: I imagine singing it) and the old recordings of the Machín Quartet and María Teresa Vera are here with me. I've gotten a lot of old Cuban music, the one my parents used to listen to at home. It is an advantage of this type of second-hand market. The singles produced by Gema, Puchito, Tropicana —unfindable on the Island— roll around here. Sometimes very expensive, depending on who has already had their eye on it. But purchasable if I put my mind to it.

Raúl Ciro in 2017. Photo: Courtesy Humberto Manduley.

Raúl Ciro in 2017. Photo: Courtesy Humberto Manduley.

I would like to find Cuban pop records from the 60s and 70s. Los Bucaneros, Mirtha and Raúl, that Changui 68 (Do you remember?), the Meme Solís Quartet. They appear in a deplorable state or at impossible prices, or they don't appear no matter how much I search and ask. It'll take a while, I know, but they'll get to me. Everything is learning and information. 

Of course, I do not forget where I come from, nor who I am. Today, for example, we visited the Granada cemetery and placed three white roses and a lighted white candle on the tomb of Alfonso González Rodríguez, Poncho, drummer and singer from Los Angeles.

what will calm

Since I finished at the movies, between one thing and another, I've been reviewing some topics. It's hard for me because I've forgotten some chords, and taking into account that I can't read or write music, everything depends on memory.

I have a few songs that "I didn't feel like recording" because I made better ones or with which I felt more comfortable. I am obsessed with strings, the cello above all. Although I can't say that I know how to fix, sometimes I am surprised. I usually have a very clear idea of how to structure a topic. Frómeta can attest to this. 

However, until today I have not been able to take advantage of recording software. I've done experiments, but with each passing day I prefer the classic mini-cassette studio; like the one we use in the Queso. It was clear to me and, now that I have lived it, I reaffirm myself. In any case, I have gotten quite a lot out of the acquisition (thanks to the subsidy from the Junta de Andalucía) of our PC; which, by the way, we bought it with the money from the sale of a mini-studio of eight tracks to Zip disk, a piece of equipment that I had bought second-hand years ago with the money I earned from painting a flat by myself.

Raul Cyrus. Photo: Courtesy Humberto Manduley.

Raul Cyrus. Photo: Courtesy Humberto Manduley.

I have assembled at home two turntables, two microphones and their respective references adjustable by headphones. With that I am making “pinchitas”. I want to respect more than ever the rule regarding the rhythmic stability of the songs. I've been told that what makes it more difficult to digest my results is that section, the dizziness of my songs —something unforgivable according to orthodoxy, I understand. I also understand why things turned out this way. They are like those photos that we took when it was unthinkable to have a good camera or all the necessary material to consummate the "miracle" of capturing the moment. 

Today, after almost 10 years, I managed to have a fairly self-sufficient system to be able to produce high quality material, almost standard, and I am alone again, more alone than ever. It is what I have always been able to count on, I still feel very aware of my limits. Now I do have a good “camera”, but capturing a great "image" becomes difficult; I lose myself in limiting myself, or not, by demanding so much of myself. I'm having a blast to get a believable-sounding drum sequence, with swing, nothing artificial and that seems touched by me. If I were in Cuba this would not be a problem, we would record with a real drummer, there would be no mess, “everything is possible there”. Paradoxical, right? But hey, the conflict is in managing to supply that attribute and not make a big piece of paper. However, I have come a long way in terms of capturing real acoustic sounds. Acoustic guitars sound great to me; the basses can sound very good to me; also the voices, almost perfect. Also the additions of "dress" via MIDI, but the drums is the great goal, the current conflict. I am on it.

I was really impressed that Yusa gave me the tres but although I have used it, I don't think it has influenced my writing style. With him I made a song for Susana ("... love me a little, girl") and some other songs out there. You'll see when I can have a piano. Instruments are tools and I'm wonderful at relating to them. It's just manipulated sounds. Now, it must be said: Roberto Fonseca plays like the saints themselves; God give him long life and light always.

I would like to play in Cuba, among other things, but for now I don't think it's a good idea. Anyway, if others have done it, why can't I do what I want and want? That is my house, I was born there, say what you say, ignore what you ignore.

(To be continue)

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