La Habana está de bala, Frank Delgado. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM
La Habana está de bala, Frank Delgado. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM

The Scratched record: La Habana está de bala

6 minutos / Carlos M. Mérida

22.09.2020 / Worn-out record,  Reviews

I do not know if this album was released physically. Frank Delgado, among the moles, is the one who has had the least luck in the study. It had to do with a thousand things that I can't even imagine a third of, but not with his quality as an artist. It does not go there. That is plenty. His political stance, a proper name that was placed in a song, falling down with someone who should have liked him, saying when he should have kept quiet and the opposite, are some variables that could be taken into account to find out; although I don't think he would have had the slightest chance even with all the elements in his favor.

Frank has always been an outsider. The most eclectic of the Cuban trova. Very local for the universe, very universal for the farmhouse. Very communist for Miami, very dissident for Egrem. Very black for whites, very white for blacks. He himself recognizes it in this concert, in one of his customary talks that pretends to pass us off as spontaneous, but everyone knows that he learned them by heart before — so naughty—: “… I was always out of the trova cycles ( …). I almost never agree, that's why now I sing what comes out of me ”.

Like most, I began to shape my own political positions (and of all kinds, what I now want to talk about politics) in adolescence, specifically between the years 2003 and 2006, which were those of the pre. When I came in, it was red, red. He had two idols: Israel Rojas and Che. Behind the door of my room were several photos of the Argentine. It was not the mural of emulation; Whoever was there was because I had decided that it should be so, no one forced me to post anything, although there was only one external suggestion to the canonization committee that I chaired and of which I was the only member.

The Puro saw that I had pasted the photos of Che and one day he surprised me with two of young Fidel, cut out of a newspaper, so that I could add them: one was holding a baseball bat and the other I don't remember well, but I do. he was young. I put them on willingly, but I remember having a strange sense of wonder. Not because of the images, nor because of the old man's participation in the assembly of my adolescent altar; What surprised me was that it hadn't occurred to me before, because in 2003 I still loved Fidel. My unconscious knew more about me than I did.

Two or three years later I ran out of space on the door to post more photos, and had to decide to remove some. Those two were the first ones I removed. I braced myself for an argument with my father, but it never happened; not for this reason. He turned a blind eye when he saw the two rectangular spaces in the door, which reminded him that it had once been white.

He also had several notebooks where he pasted photos of the members of the Cuba baseball teams. One notebook per event. Olympics in Sydney, World Cup in Taipei, Intercontinental Cup in Cuba, Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, and so on. Some I still keep as treasure. When a player "left" he would write a capital letter "t" under the photo, for "traitor." That was me before Frank Delgado.

It is very difficult to pinpoint exactly when I began to expel the poison (“I started”, be careful, because that process has not stopped, nor will it), but I do remember two events that had to do with this. One was that I began to position myself on the opposite side to what I usually do in discussions at the hostel, following the cessation of circulation of the US dollar at the end of 2004; and the other was listening to the records Trovatur and La Habana está de bala, especially this one, and especially Si el Che viviera.

Se la puse al puro un día, bajito. No le gustó. Se enojó. Me dijo que no se la volviera a poner. Era normal; la canción le daba miedo. A mí también, pero yo llevaba la ventaja de tener 15 años.

The song was scary not because of what it said about the past, but because of what it said about the present. Not because of what he said about Che, but because of what he said about Fidel. It was a lot of disorder that this topic generated for me. A genuine ethical battle with me. I remember not understanding why Frank was singing: “If Che lived he would be an ornament without talent; a repressor of feeling; some scum, who living off his history immobilizes ideas (…) and would not want to be like him, if Che lived ”, when before, presenting the song, he had proclaimed:“… there are people who have understood it the other way around, I really I did the song on the left ”. For me at that time two speeches like this could not be delivered by the same person: either something was wrong with the person, or something was wrong with the speech. Where was I then? Among those who had understood it backwards?

I was on the left; I wanted to be on the left, what happened was that the left was not what I believed. I found out later.

I continued dismantling myths, while removing photos from the door of my room and putting new ones, until the number of empty spaces exceeded that of the images and I decided to finish with the altar and repaint the door white. Among the latest snapshots there were several of Che and one of Frank Delgado.

Carlos M. Mérida

Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.

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