Fucked, lost and hidden: ninth punk themes
No reconstruction can replace the way they felt. Not a movie or a review or another song. Usually they show some images: unbelievers, sitting on the asphalt ... But the recordings that were left are the most glorious prolongation of their sensations. Music was the best way they found to burn their time. As they shouted, the world was already burning outside. Also inside their heads. Risk and context made the Cuban punk material of the nineties. A few letters coming out of the urgency of the internal fire, and the distortion as a sonorous grimace of what they were saying.
With this it could be said that punk soon arrived on the island. Rather, their scene "appeared" at the precise moment, when those young people tried to endure the crisis and the disillusionment of the time with the most radical figurations that haunted them. and they drove an art of their own.
Given the current situation, with more facilities to access new (and old) productions, why go back to the punk of the nineties in Cuba ?, why join those who live extracting from time? others header themes? There are as many reasons as sound paths in those "relapses" of listening. Nostalgia returns compositions whose depth marked a generation. They sound, sometimes, for their aesthetic perfection; without wrinkles despite the years: they are still an example of creative vitality. Others, a few existing samples of a whole musical scene, manage to give us clues about their time.
When in your book Music and Revolution (University of California Press & Center for Black Music Research, 2006), Robin Moore discusses the Cuban trova and states that well-known pieces of the eighties and nineties did not sound openly, we think of the even scarcer diffusion received by the songs of a circuit not as big and "weird" as the punk made in Cuba.
For that reason, returning to those records, saved precisely by those who in one way or another have been linked to that current, is to stand on the streets, which is where Cuban music questions and reformulates its lines. In that extension of our sound spectrum; in the nonconformity of appearing only in the diffuse picture of the applause, of those shot down in the depths by a concert; in the distancing of the best known forms of expression during the period; In the search to narrate and live their circumstances musically, there is the transcendence of punk on the Island.
However, neither Moore's text, which recounts Cuban music from 59 until the beginning of the 21st century, traversing cultural polemics - a book that is definitely enjoyed - goes deep into the punk scene. Some researchers like Humberto Manduley, occasionally the radio (the Sabarock program, for example), and the independent fanzines, have spoken or passed cuts of this music in the courtyard.
With all intention unite in the title of this work productions of the national punk. Referents in this story, on the one hand, the Fucked and lost (1992) of Break (the group that together with Futuro died marks the roots of this movement), and on the other, the Hidden (1995) of HIV, an important band in the punk band of the decade. These names reflect the way in which they saw themselves and their reality, the same one in which the national music scene seems to perceive them today.
"Fidelity to the motto not future", "his was - and always has been - 'here and now', literally", "with an abundance of street and directional language". With those traits, Manduley leaves the door open Bad weed. A history of rock in Cuba (Ediciones la luz, 2015) for other considerations about Cuban punk. Little has been said, for example, of the relationship of this scene with the trova, with that which was remade from the rock and the poetic exits from the depths of the city. In fact, the map of the places where the troubadour creation has been most vigorous (Havana and Santa Clara), coincides with that of punk.
According to some scholars with access to the most underground music scene of the time, as Manduley himself, the biggest influences came from "Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Ramones, Black Flag, to some extent Clash, Napalm Death, Misfits , Crass ", and especially Rip, La Polla Records and Eskorbuto. However, his emergence here was not a matter of mimesis. Already the contemporary song came by the rope of anti-authoritarianism, stepping on the ground where violence and generational conflicts emerged, which, in turn, enveloped others. What international punk did was to lend the codes to speak more crudely about these realities.
The aesthetics and the anarchist ideology had a formal and philosophical repercussion in those boys without artistic patrons, some also unprotected in their social setting, while others let go of almost everything as an internal protest, sense of irreverence or freedom in the face of the long wave of the nineties. The anarchy, which they interpreted as the power of people to think, feel and move without walls of any kind, was essentially translated into their lyrics, another magnet that together with the punkera criticism of classical thought about music, allowed the extension in the Island of a new scene. Thus, a space was forced between the harsh economic, social, political and cultural conditions of that time.
Interestingly, Moore, following the approach of Alberto Faya and others on "the new trova and culture of rebellion," account for features that are related to those used by Joaquín Borges Triana in With a certain Cuban: life is a divine script (Editorial UNEAC, 2015), to define Cuban alternative music, which is part of the national punk.
Taking these contributions as references, we can affirm that the "elements of innovation and contestation" of this genre in Cuba were to take on foreign musical and cultural aspects to create a different kind of art that would challenge previous sound production; a lifestyle and artistic identity as a representation of the breaking of ideo-aesthetic norms; and a new prioritization of themes, according to the experience and the expressive need of that youth group.
During the year 1991, while vocalist and bassist Abel García created Futuro muerto, Gil Pla gave shape to Break. The first concert of this line-up was made at the Casa de Cultura Roberto Branly, already established as "El Patio de María". They were also part of the Joel Bejerano group, in the guitara; Jorge Luis Barba, on bass, and Wendell Gutiérrez, on drums. Humberto Manduley collects other names in Patch. Encyclopedia of Rock in Cuba (NialaNai Ediciones, 2015): the bassists Rodolfo Humpierre and Pedro Saizen, in addition to the guitarists Ludwig Rivero and David Blanco. It is also known that Canek Sánchez contributed to the musical memory left by the band.
In what has been recovered from the production of Break, stand out cuts of Fucked and lost as Police violence and Slum. With these themes, the bridge between international creation and the island begins to settle, based on the dissipation of punk sound and central themes, mainly those made in Spanish. Recurrence to boredom and precariousness are found in other songs like Suicide, Marking his end and own Fucked and lost, that gave form to a concert of 1993. Nevertheless, the pessimism in these letters was nuanced by the possibility of making music as a saving table; as "best advice" or "motto" for "the new generation", according to that last topic.
His self-definition of identity through music is also evident in Breaking the problem, where punk is characterized as free spirituality that departs from violence and "la guapería", without renouncing social criticism, catharsis and irreverence. It is also the sense of The world burns: "The bureaucracy and the bourgeoisie / everything is the same crap / the crap with what is left over / that it does not matter to them / the world burns / burns everywhere". Or the song Celebrity stinks, where they echo the inequality in the forms of consumption, which were dissected in the nineties.
Cadillac Solitaire, a number of Loquillo and the Troglodytes - as they explained in that presentation that marks their brief passage through the Cuban musical scene -, gives an account of the diverse influences that reached them. They are perceived not only in the incorporation of that theme of the Spanish band, but throughout their own recordings, where in addition to an unquestionable punk style, the guitars manage to move, at times, between brief melodic passages, some adjoining with the energy of heavy metal, which could figure as a source of other compositions.
Conformed in 1994 by Amaury Triana, "el Chile", as vocalist and guitarist; Bassist Pedro Sainzen and drummer Marcos Díaz, VIH left several productions in their short period of activity. In Hidden They included themes where punk rock is predominant: Deskontrol, HIV and Luxury jail.
Through their songs, the trio put libertarian symbols in their midst resulting from their own searches. Choirs with an energetic and cathartic attitude, chords in which sneaks a subtle melancholy, come as songs of rebellion and discontent. They are pieces against resignation, weapons to cut frustrations to the extent possible.
Some members of Breakage and HIV went through other projects during the nineties. Challenging texts and overlapping trends that emerged or evolved in the period defined proposals such as Censorship and Waste. All these groups, together with Futuro muerto, Arrested, Enemies of the Society (Sancti Spíritus), Joker, Eskoria (one of the most challenged at the time, of Santa Clara) opened the scene of punk here. Although not all of their cultores assumed a total identity within that musical circuit -although many did-, they helped create a national soundtrack that was incorporated by those who, since the late seventies and eighties, already knew the international panorama of the genre and they carried some of their symbols on their bodies.
Even in the records in poor condition of several of these groups, a peculiarity of Cuban punk of the first wave stands out. They achieved that in that "disembodied creation" in front of the context -as it has been cataloged by several glances-, the sensitivity will remain intact. It is what is rediscovered, despite the years, while listening to those issues again.