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Enid Rosales or Music Everywhere

Enid lives the music, she almost prefers to listen to the children sing than to sing herself. In her concerts a kind of magic room is created where everyone sings, everyone laughs, everyone feels the music. Enid is a big girl who plays on stage while using her songs as a pretext to share a party with those little ones who have learned to love her, who are growing up with her.

She had been in her artistic career for 20 years, the kind they call "serious", for adults; but the reality is that few knew her before. Already when she started making music for children, it was inevitable to reach every home, to enter the popular imagination, to be part of the soundtrack that marks a generation, to make music be everywhere.

People see me on the street and say to me: "Ah, you're the one who makes children's music! Few know that I am a troubadour or that I play the tres".

Working for children was not alien to him; in parallel to his career for adults, he accompanied other artists who have always made children's music, such as Rita del Prado, Dúo Karma, Liuba María Hevia or La Colmenita.

"I started composing my own children's songs when I became pregnant with my son Álvaro, in 2017. Motherhood, from the very process of gestation, changed my life; I started to look at children differently. When my inspirational muse was born, it was the greatest creative overflow."

2021 marked the year of his big breakthrough in the music world, and it was thanks to children's music.

"When I decided to make the record mirror people I thought of Ángel Lorenzo, my right-hand man, my student. I wanted to do it with him because besides playing guitar, he is an excellent arranger. We recorded instrument by instrument. We were in a pandemic, there was no other way.

"My first concert was in Habana Music, when I was living in Infanta, in Centro Habana. That was in February 2020. I felt from that moment on like a fish in water; the children responded so well to me... then I understood that I had found my place, my other place".

Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee


Enid, the one with the ribbons 

From the first children's concert Enid became visually what we see today. "I put on some necklaces and a colorful headband, and I said to myself: this is the way it is. Maybe my passion for Mafalda had an influence," she says without hesitation.

"The anecdotes with the children are very nice. One day leaving a concert at Bellas Artes, I had already taken off my headband, I had made my "little bow", and a little girl was asking her mom to take a picture with Enid. I was next to her and she asked me: "Ma'am, where is Enid? I told her that it was me, but that I no longer had the headband. Then she took a good look at me and told me that yes, I looked like Enid".

"The first headbands I had were from Aguas de Marzo, some girls who have specialized in making such accessories, but then I met other companies that are dedicated to the same thing and I have loved it, such is the case of Bokeh Accesorios de Moda. I have many, I've already lost count, it's obsessive. Every time I see a new one, I buy it. I think I should partner with a brand that makes me special ones, because I want to wear them bigger and bigger".

As we have already said, Enid is a big, restless, playful, happy child, who loves to share with other children, who sings by, for and with them.

Teaching is her secret weapon. She has given classes to all ages, from ISA to the youngest in MusiPeke, or in her own workshops Do Re Mi with Enid, where there are from pregnant women and babies, to 10 year old boys and girls. The experience in the musical initiation workshops was fundamental to connect in the concerts with her ideal audience.

At some point during the day Enid sleeps, brushes her teeth, goes out to buy the headband she will wear at her next concert, plays with her son or has coffee with her mother, the one she considers indispensable in her life. Without her, she wouldn't have been able to do much, because who helps her with Alvarito?

"My mother is my anchor," Enid says, and at that very moment Doña Nancy Villasón enters the room. She knocks lightly on the door, opens it, and says to her daughter, "What are you going to cook today?" Enid laughs, she doesn't want to tell her that she has interrupted, but warns her that although we have been chatting like two friends for years, we are in a real interview. Nancy is speechless, she looks at me with pity, but I smile too. I tell her that it's okay, that this is the best interviews I've done, spontaneous, without posturing or absolute silences, with the reference environment to know for sure how the character I'm questioning lives. She, still not recovered, tells me to stay for lunch, that Enid cooks delicious food.

Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee


The beginnings

"It was always art. Ever since I was little I loved to sing. Then I became the lead singer of the school matinees. Already later I started taking choir lessons with a neighbor, thanks to my mom who recognized that I seriously had an aptitude for music."

But then, Enid was in the sixth grade and could not enroll in piano at the elementary level of music. She was too old to start art school for a long career, so she started guitar, a shorter career.

"I started at the Adolfo Guzmán Conservatory, a school that no longer exists. It was at night, for "out of date" children.

At that time, at half past five in the afternoon, he would begin his music classes, after having been in a classroom since eight in the morning receiving other subjects in his "normal" school. Almost at ten o'clock at night the teaching day ended. "The load was too much, the children couldn't cope with so much. But that's where I managed to graduate from elementary level guitar."

In 2000, in the "change of level" from elementary to intermediate, Enid chose the tres as her second option. Up to that time, there was no tres and lute course at the elementary level, so she was able to choose the tres as a second option.


Three chose me

Enid was clear, the guitar was not her thing, she rather categorizes herself as an average, average guitarist. "Because let's face it, in this land of good musicians, anyone can play the guitar better than me". The tres is something else.

"It was only when I met the instrument that I realized that it would be my life companion. I learned all its rhythmic possibilities, as an accompanist, as a soloist, that you can play a traditional son, but also classical music, or jazz, or flamenco, everything.

"I barely learned three chords and went out to work; the rest I was incorporating it in the street, playing live in groups.

"Working with Erick Sánchez was another learning experience. Being a musician accompanying a troubadour gives you another baggage that you then take advantage of. I learned a lot playing with Duo Karma, Liuba María Hevia, Rita del Prado, Frank Delgado. I began to open up a world of my own songs, to compose my own songs.

"But when I'm accompanying, I'm doing just that: a-com-pa-pa-ning-doing, I can't impose my work, although one always leaves one's mark through the instrument; otherwise, why am I there?"

Each tres player has his own way of playing, he creates his own style that can be recognized even if a giant band is playing and there is only one tres. "I have friends who tell me that just by listening to a song, they know that that tres is mine, that I recorded it".

"Once I heard a Venezuelan troubadour say that in her country the singer-songwriters accompanied themselves on their instrument, which is the Venezuelan cuatro. And I said to myself: gee, it should be the same in Cuba, that's why we have the tres. I think that marked me, that's why I decided to do my work as a troubadour with the tres".

Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee


The three: Cuban and macho

It's not a little guitar, it's a tres. If you want the music to sound Cuban, it has to have a tres, an instrument of ours, created here to sound Cuban.

"The tres is a macho instrument, it's as clear as that. Even its terminology. When they tell you that you are playing "macho", it means that you are playing hard, that you are playing well, or the opposite, if they tell you that you are playing "hembra", you are playing very badly".

Before, a woman tresera was frowned upon, how could a woman be in bars and cantinas playing in a son band? That was a scandal.

"The woman plays the tres as a woman, as a female, and she plays it well. After all, guitarists also get calluses on their hands; steel strings don't make a difference," she says while looking at her hands.

Obviously, there is a before and after the creation of the Tres y Laúd chair by Efraín Amador. The empirical process is more for men, but in the academy it changes, now there are more women tres players.

"I've played everything on the tres. I think I have the only concert of tres and organ ever made. It was in my church in El Carmelo; I shared it with a German monk who spent some time in Cuba. One day we decided to do a concert, we put on a show with baroque works, very classical, and others with arrangements I made for tres. It was a wonderful experience. The church was packed, perhaps because of the curiosity of seeing something that had never been done before".

Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee


That's Enid Rosales

Enid is a natural talent. She is an excellent musician, a good teacher, a good accompanist and, to top it off, she is good at winning awards. In 2022 she released her first children's album and that same year she won the Cubadisco Award in that category.

"It was a nice album that we did independently, because at that time the record companies didn't have the budget to pay for it. The process was a lot of fun: we recorded percussion stuff thanks to crazy initiatives I had, like banging on the table with some shoes; but the cherry on the cake was the Allegretto choir. Those kids are great, in two days they recorded eight songs; and they had to do it only a few, because with the pandemic, the number of people in the studio was super reduced. That energy and love that was experienced in the recording process, at the end I think you can see it in the album, you can feel it".

In every Enid Rosales concert at Bellas Artes there are many families who stay outside until the last minute because they did not get a ticket, but in the end they manage to be part of the party, they sit on the stairs, they group themselves between the seats, they settle in any space that is available so as not to miss the show.

"The National Museum of Fine Arts Theater is my home. It is the place that always welcomes me and to which I always want to return. It is a small theater, but it generates an immense energy, that closeness with the public is special.

"I am very happy with the reception that my music and videos have had on national television. Already more than one friend has told me that I have become the test pattern; almost every day they play a video, or if not a concert of which I have also been lucky enough to record. I believe that we artists need and appreciate that promotion, but in a genre like the one I defend, it is the youngest who appreciate it and those who need it the most".

"That your main supporters are children, it's a very healing, pure experience. The kids in my workshops adore me; we give each other collective hugs, and then I come out full of snot, and I get their colds...but it's a lot of fun."

Enid links one story to another, talks of age, of vagal crises, of her decades of work experience, of the hundreds of students she has had, of the countless collaborations she has done, and at that moment I do the math.

-How old are you, Enid?

"You're going to have to transcribe a lot," and she laughs to change the subject. So far she had been holding back, she was in serious mode, in the pose of an interviewee, in her studio, sitting on a black swivel chair, one of those old-fashioned office chairs.

During the whole time of the interview we didn't even drink water; we just talked and talked, as if we were very close; I knew more about her but she wanted to know more about me. At times the roles seemed to be reversed and she was the interviewer.

-And you've always been a journalist? But, besides journalism, do you do other things? And that's why you wanted to interview me?

Then I'm the one who starts laughing. I've wanted to interview Enid ever since I met her; ever since a friend told me, the day she humbly enrolled in an improvisation workshop that I was also part of: "Look, that's Enid Rosales".

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