In F sharp. 20 years is not everything / Interactive
Interactive —I write it without trembling a finger on the keyboard— is the great fusion school of Cuban music of the last 20 years. The band has accommodated and served as a springboard for an impressive group of Cuban performers, vocalists and instrumentalists with above-average musical abilities; and all of them, without exception, extremely difficult to pigeonhole into common musical genres.
Like almost everything that Roberto Carcassés undertakes, Interactive was born as a game. His previous stint in ensembles with a similar playful and collaborative spirit (Estado de Ánimo, Columna B) created the foundations for what would come at the beginning of this millennium, the musical project to which he has dedicated much of his maturity as a composer, arranger and director.
The small chalet in Marianao in which he still resides, was in those fin-de-siècle years in which he "interacted" the first times, an anthill. Robertico, with his relaxed way of living and making music, attracted everything and everyone, like a magnet. People of any social origin, trade or nationality, passed through that house at any time and, crossing the living room and the rooms, went down the two steps that led to Cocinalmin Studio, a relatively small space, without a defined personality (as its name indicates , houses the kitchen of the home and something that simultaneously acts as a rehearsal room, a recording studio and a social headquarters) but which has an absolute magic. In something more than 5 x 3 meters —go to know how we fit—, you could then find a huge band rehearsing while vendors of anything, friends, couples, children and curious, walked among the musicians, made coffee, served drinks , they made jokes or laughed at what anyone did, they attended the rehearsal or simply browsed through the photos on the closet wall, beautiful snippets of the host's life. There, like someone who doesn't want things, amid smoke, laughter and chords, the founders began to form a group and the first choirs emerged (“…this year's horses…”, “celame como aye'…”).
It seems like yesterday that Roberto, Yusa and Oliver performed for the first time under the then enigmatic name of Interactive in the Anti-Imperialist Tribune on the Havana boardwalk during a tribute to John Lennon in December 2001, or that we organized that concert in the Pogolotti neighborhood, without prior promotion, so that the townspeople could taste the band and give us the go-ahead, directly.
But not. Four full decades have passed in which at least a couple of generations of Cuban men and women have copied, learned, listened to and/or danced until fainting to the music of this all star in permanent boiling and renewal. In Cocinalmin the burners that cook that tasty ajiaco that makes up the collective work of Interactive have not been turned off, not for a moment in these two decades.
With no predefined musical genres, no strict templates or emasculating loyalties, the musicians at Interactivo come in, come out, collaborate, lose time, come back. They play at the Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center if nothing prevents them, sometimes they go to rehearsals and sometimes they don't; sometimes they go on tour with the picket line or stay to follow them on social networks. But everyone, without exception, can attest to how much they have enjoyed making music within this project, how much they have come to love their scene partners, how much they have learned from each other, how much they have grown as musicians and as people in that delicious communion. artistic.
In the meantime there has been everything: from a first demo that spread like wildfire without ever being released; the recognition of the Cuban music industry —CUBADISCO Grand Prize in 2006 for the CD Enjoy Pepillo (Bis Music)—; couple of documentaries dedicated to the “phenomenon” —Enjoy Pepillo by Ana Rabasa (2006) and Interactive. The movie by Tané Martínez (2011)—; two other albumsCubans around the world (Bis Music, 2010) and how beautiful is love (2014)—even censorship and punishment for the “insolence” of its leader, who is not shy about saying what he thinks, on stage and off. And also within the band there have been loves and heartbreaks, best friends and internal anger, mutual admiration and a little professional jealousy; as in any family that is respected.
Because that is what, more than anything, is Interactive. A family made up of stellar Cuban musicians and another group of people who manage, produce, make sound, document concerts, carry instruments, manage social networks. An already huge family, because whoever has been part of this interactive clan at some point during these 20 years is forever an inescapable fragment of this sustained party. The cake will have to be monumental because there are many of us and the joy has no intention of stopping.