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Reviews Cover of the album Ode to Plagiarism / Image: Enrique Smith. Cover of the album Ode to Plagiarism / Image: Enrique Smith.

Ode to Plagiarism / Yunier Pérez “Gape”

A friend had told me about Gape in a download on 13 y G, he told me how ingenious his lyrics were while, through Zapya, he sent me the songs. That night, when I got home and got ready to go into Yunier's album, I noticed that I had lost my phone in a bank on Avenida de los Presidentes. 

Months later, at the Longina Festival, a rather bland group was playing at La Luna Naranja, part of the audience had been outside for some time until another artist came on, and I had managed to start a rather promising chat with one of the girls who were waiting in the park of the front. But the conversation had not reached five minutes when Yunier's first chords began to sound and she, excusing herself, went to the call of her group that was running to reach the best positions.

Suspecting, after both incidents, that this Gape could not bode well for my life, I looked for a space to sit down and listened to Yunier Pérez for the first time. The spectacle of this troubadour not only purged with laughter the considerable suspicion with which he judged him, but also completely fired the mood of the public who now attended anxiously, waiting for the next rhyme.  

His compositions move along two easily differentiated lanes, on one side the "serious" and on the other the satire, the pooch. Although it is in the latter where the singer-songwriter from Altahabana accelerates the strongest, in his repertoire there is no lack of space for tenderness when in Soulmates sings: “What will her face look like? / Is she already asleep? / Will you retrace the streets of my nocturnal city / or is it day in your city? or in Moon of Altahabana, closing the song with the coda pleading: “Don't rush/ the morning/ Altahabana moon/ Last a little longer for me/”.

Yunier's guitar skills are no better than the rest of the minstrels' guild and, with a couple of exceptions, his melodies, almost recited at times, don't linger long in the listener's head. Gape and his arranger, Yasel Muñoz, know this. That's why on his debut album, ode to plagiarism (Egrem, 2019), —with which he won in the youth category singer-songwriters the past Cubadisco— a melodica, a clarinet, a cello, or the flute of Yasel himself court the voice during almost all the recordings, on some tracks like leitmotifs and in others playing with the main melody to enliven it. For the same reason, in the homonymous piece there is a hum as a bridge so that, in addition to the lyrics, we would have something to remember at the end of the track. 

But the author of ode to plagiarism He also knows that although these details broaden the color palette of the work, he does not need to use them to get you into his game. This man looked for his strong point and there he put the bait. With Take down the tent, Rock to Make You Invisible by Your Own Means, love complaint or the aforementioned ode to plagiarism —to name a few— makes you go to a corner of the ring crowded with songs that make fun of their author, social criticism from a very well achieved sarcasm or verses simply destined to make you smile. There, the newcomer listens, beats him by knockout

As if this were not enough, when you see him sweating, almost at the climax of the concert and you think that he has no cards left to play, Yunier throws the missing ace for the straight flush on the table: he gets up, lets the guitar rest On the stool, he takes a couple of steps away from the microphone and, putting into practice what he learned in his studies in performing arts, he projects his voice in the room to declaim a brief monologue. There are no instruments, the harmony is now strange body movements, he slowly moves from one side of the stage to the other, interacts with the audience and retracing his steps picks up his guitar again to end the performance, having mixed theater and song in a way —at least— singular.

By way of closing, I would like to interpret the photographs taken by Enrique Smith to illustrate the album. Both on the cover and on its back we see the composer of the LP wearing a classic striped inmate uniform and a mask hanging from his neck, holding a lit light bulb symbolizing the idea that he has presumably just stolen. On the back cover he appears protecting it, taking care that no one steals what was stolen or no informer notices its luminosity, while on the other side he is seen sitting, satisfied with the robbery and showing the world its light, which, although made of a thousand other lights, shines with the same intensity than the Altahabana moon.

Listen ode to plagiarism here.                  

Camilo Marino Camilo Marino Empirical harmonica player, collector of sad songs and aspiring poet at the risk of a monogram that says buffoon. Trying to reconcile with the reality as an angel advised me. More posts

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