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The Jam Raul Cyrus. Photo: Courtesy of Humberto Manduley. Raul Cyrus. Photo: Courtesy of Humberto Manduley.

Raul Cyrus (VI)

In the first semester of 2017 Raúl Ciro returned to Cuba. Wounded, emotionally vulnerable, with fragility on the surface, he left behind a happy time, intermittent works, sonorous and conceptual daring, reconciliations, discoveries and love. At some point, he had started an uneven battle with his inner demons, in which he got the worst of it. He arrived empty of possessions, to settle in his usual apartment, without knowing what to do with his life. It was the beginning of the end, although at the time it was premature to predict it.

Friends in Havana pampered him according to their possibilities. Suddenly he had a guitar, harmonica, laptop, but it took him a while to decide to recover as a musician. He kept listening to records, devising plans for audiovisuals, tracking down vinyl in a store in Centro Habana. He changed the dream of making songs for that of partnering to set up a private pizzeria and maintain a small garden on his terrace. He ended up as a projectionist at the Sala Chaplin del Icaic for just a few months, returning to the job that had sustained him during his days in Spain. As far as he knew and could, he worked hard to get ahead.

Witnessing the death of his mother became a push towards the final collapse. Its cables, already exposed, went into court. He hung up the guitar, put away the harmonica, piled up the LPs without furniture, gradually forgetting the digital archives with recordings and videos. He was reluctant to leave the house, beyond what was minimally necessary. A growing indolence invaded him and he felt himself to be a shadow of the past, torn between looking at yesterday in flash back, or towards a future that seemed out of focus.

We met at the beginning of February 2019. I visited him at his house and ran into a catatonic Raúl, who barely looked into his eyes, answered in monosyllables and refused the physical contact of a hug. He just nodded, though his eyes hadn't lost their bright sparkle before. I brought him a vinyl that he liked a lot (with the songs from the movie La vida sigue igual by Julio Iglesias). He looked at it, without expression on his face, placed it next to others. It was everything. My bewilderment and his distance resulted in a broken farewell. I waited for a call that never came. We didn't see each other again. Only a few days later I learned that he had chosen to jump into the void.

He, who was so obsessed with suicidal and tragic music (Nick Drake, Mark Linkous, Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley, Elliot Smith, Los Angeles, Roky Erickson, Syd Barrett), not only forgot the verse "choosing never ensures success" of your own theme air corridor, but also the warning launched by Neil Young in the song Hey, hey, my, my: “Out of the blue and into the black, you pay for this, but they give you that, and once you're gone, you can't come back when you're out of the blue and into the black”. He left the blue and sank into the black.

Here, then, concludes this rescue attempt of what would be like his memories. They are the reflections of his last days in Havana. He recalls part of the time in Granada, Spain; his persistent hobbies; dreams, plans and chimeras; death and its devastations; the eternal gratitude to friends and the look towards a daily life and a country that, in the end, surpassed him. He arranged the steps of the escape as a response to his ghosts, but the reasons that led him to end his life, he carried them in his heart, tied with the strings of a guitar.

Rest in peace, Raúl Ciro Hernández Gómez (1964-2019).  (Humberto Manduley)

Also readCollage: Raul Ciro.
The Jam

Raul Ciro (V)

Raul Cyrus17.02.2021

slow clouds

I have started to create a small garden on the terrace of the house. I planted ferns in a plastic ice cream jar. Also a small tree that I don't know what it is but being so small it is already blooming. I am waiting for a basil and an oregano to take root, so I can plant them and enjoy each watering. Many people have told me that I have good hands with plants. What am I not good at? It's true, I just need to speak German, English, have a minimum gift of people.

I have recovered fifty percent of the information on the hard drive that I had lying around. There are a lot of cool photos and music, also videos which is what I'm missing. Now the goal is to be able to get a little job, income. I have some ideas, although they are still impractical.

I recently went to Rafa's store and left with a record that had a cardboard sleeve with color illustrations and a photograph of Ela Calvo. I can not make any history of it, because it was never really one of my favorites. What catches my attention is that the album was live (just as Juanje and Amelia saw it, being captivated). A production by Rafael Somavilla and Juan Pablo Torres; with arrangements, among others, by Chucho Valdés and accompanied by the Cuban Orchestra of Modern Music. I haven't heard it but it sure sounds great, great. The cover is horrible and even so it is signed by a designer, and the most curious thing is that it has this data. The same suffers from the year of the edition, the recording.

I remember that a long time ago I wrote to Mirtha Medina, proposing to make a documentary about that time of the seventies. He never answered me. Maybe he has no idea that, at least I would like to know about then, to be able to spread it calmly as I am talking to you now.

Finally I have been in AM/PM, in Fábrica de Arte Cubano. I saw the inauguration, a conference in which Darsi intervened. She and her fellow speaker were very charismatic and knew how to make even the vaguest things entertaining. Now, I don't know why this statistics mania, you always have to exceed an ideal million. I can't explain it and I don't think it's the heritage of my ethnic group. It is a universal evil.

I am very attracted to any analysis of anything and more if it is about music production, all its ramifications and shortcuts. Sure, no one has a clue why success is consummated, and everyone wants to have conceived Softly wave Macarenaeven if they say they despise it. For my part, I have always had my rejection of the subject of money, you know.

Also readImage: Maria Jose Sardinas
The Jam

Raul Ciro (III)

Raul Cyrus27.05.2020

If you shut up, something will speak

It's incredible: more than six years have passed, I hear the Dark Night of the Soul by Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse, and it still sounds fantastic to me. The paradise orchards, our concert-rehearsal in Granada, was something similar and around the same date. Too bad it was more the latter and very full of errors. But, really, that experience was something supreme, the exhibition, above all.

I would like to go back to work at Radio Taíno, or something similar, and be able to recreate the idyllic, perfect conditions of those early 90s. Sure, it's impossible, although, on the other hand, it's just a matter of attitude. If I want it that way, it will be. I remember that, working at Radio Rebelde, from 1991 to '93, I functioned better under pressure (not under psychological torture), I organized myself. Here are the results of the first Surplus; I don't remember where Frómeta and I found time to set up and rehearse, which we did frequently. I really want to achieve a balance between paid physical work and training with music. I have to achieve a solid and self-sufficient solo repertoire.

I need my guitar. I've tried to borrow the twelve-string Ovation that a friend of Abel Omar has, but no, no deal. The one that Frank (Delgado) passed me is fine, of course, but not like “mine”. I've been practicing, but I don't spend more than a few minutes; I feel as if I were carrying a backpack full of lead, very heavy. And I've started to get bored. Anyway, I've never been to study anything. I've always thrown myself headlong for whatever it was and it hasn't gone badly for me. I still don't want to go shitting around and "killing the legend, mine", if there is one and I think there is something. I would like to do something well and then, little by little, grow, until I manage to enter a company again and get paid, even if it is a ridiculous amount. I want to recover a repertoire of cute little songs that I have, and go through Bowie. I can also review all the versions I've made, bring to life some ideas that I'm not lacking and prepare something very practical and elegant. someone should version in Villa de Paris. I wish Raphael would.

However, on this subject of music, I am not going to force anything. I'm going to take my time and when I have something to show, that sounds good, then I'll do it. Otherwise not.

Also readFragments of the cover of the album Ciro 3C, by Raúl Ciro. Image: Mayo Bous.
The Jam

Raul Cyrus

Raul Cyrus09.12.2019

What will calm this hangover?

Last night I dreamed of a river, or something like ditches. We were two girls and me. After showing me the place where they kept the boat, I lost them in one of the channels and swimming among beautiful ice fractals, really diving, I reached some rapids, but I never met the girls again. I have been dreaming many early mornings about excursions in which I participate and all, or almost, are civil servants. Still, no one could stop me from being swallowed by a bank of quicksand. I saw the hand that let me go, in a crystalline low angle (curious) and I couldn't let go of the background, the person who, just like me, a little below, was gobbled up and trusted me.

I don't know how many things I've destroyed from almost two years ago to here. I also don't know what the friends who come to the Obsolete Samples feel, or to the Güirito Noguerol, but I've listened to many repeatedly and there is one that my mother and I recorded with Mario Ojeda, which is my favorite. I am lucky to have very good friends, here and there, but all these displays of sound affection have the quality of bringing us closer, if you have the will, but on the other hand you don't have to try too hard. Believe me, I love you all very much, I will love you forever. In the end, one keeps the best, the rest is digested as quickly as possible and evacuated.

There is another country beyond your ear

Now that I'm home alone, "everything falls on me." I had never faced death as an event so close, but loneliness yes. And this one now far surpasses all the others.

In Cuba there has to be a very strong, deep, agreed and gradual change that adjusts the ways in which the State is controlled and accessed as a tool and a necessary evil. I do not know exactly the formula in which this should be done, but there are many alternatives to assess, and the one that should never have been chosen was to take that institution by violence, corrupting it, being, as they say, already rotten.

We have to start over from where we destroyed everything for this present, that's what I think. Do not wait for any authorization, turn your life around, do what you consider, if you are on time. Ideas go for being able to preserve what we have treasured in years, or seconds. I'm not a good mirror, much less a shortcut. Just an accident, a fiction of my humble parents and as frustrated as almost all of their generation. But it is true that there are other ways out. Likewise, the supposed ballast is not such, it is an accumulation of knowledge. If that is lost, nothing happens, no one will miss us, or yes, but life will go on without us, blessing whoever is able to adapt and survive.

(The end)

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  1. Liena says:

    The final paragraph is a farewell. Raúl was not made for this world, he survived for a long time. He was a complex being, extremely sensitive and perhaps because of that, fragile. I will always carry him in my heart, as well as his imprint on me.

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