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Who decides what is family?

My job is to listen to stories. It goes a little further, but the first step is always having someone tell me a family story. Its beautiful. I am lucky that love whispers to me, tensions tense me, pranks give me, anecdotes of happiness or unhappiness and also shared dreams. Many times when I hear these stories there is an uncle who is not an uncle, a stepfather who is almost a father, a grandmother's boyfriend who is not a grandfather but it is like he is... and I always say: if he acts like he is, why then? it is not. Aren't those bonds we create stronger than those assigned to us? Isn't the conscious decision to love and learn to surrender the strongest bond we can forge? Who decides what is family?

One of the books that I usually read to my son tells that there are families that are alike and others that are not, some of the same color and others that are very different. He says that some live in the same house and others share a house with other people, some eat the same and others like different foods. Many are big and others are very small, but they all like to hug each other and they are all sad when they lose a loved one. What the book shows with a very simple visuality, based on flexible lines, few shapes and a lot of color, it is also possible to tell it with music.

Days before closing the popular consultations on the brought and brought Family Code, where my son's book is only read by us and life wants a few others, the scope of a song can make us return, many, in that collective listening, to connect with our most precious memories of the first human group that teaches us how to love, since when and why. 

Serve this playlist to accompany us in the exercise of understanding and hugs. (Dachelys Valdes Moreno)

long live the grandparents / Los Van Van 

Any concept of family that we decide to consider at this time will not be able to dispense with the problem that population aging represents in society. In an increasingly old country, with a low birth rate for various reasons and successive migratory waves, learning to age, as individuals, will be the key to a better future than the present that we borrow from our children.

To my father / Comp. Nestor Milli; Int. Benny Moré and his Giant Band 

The unmistakable voice of Bárbaro del Ritmo sounds in this bolero, composed by the founder of Los Zafiros, and which comes to pay homage to all fathers in the world. "If you sing to a mother, / to a girlfriend, to a wife, / why is it that being a father, they don't even dedicate a few glosses to me?", the singer demands here while coloring one of the songs with his musicality most tremendous that has been written to the father figure. Our hearts open and we immediately transport ourselves to the happy moments that we share with our “old people”.

 The orphan / Abelardo Barroso

Remembering the irreplaceable timbre of Abelardo Barroso (“El Caruso” sonero) together with his Orquesta Sensación, the last one that saw him compose and sing, makes us travel to the 50s of the last century. “I don't have a father, I don't have a mother, I don't have anyone who loves me”, they chant in this track which has been heavily covered and re-recorded by the charanga itself to the rhythm of bolero-son, chachachá and even danzón. East remastered, included on the disk There is no one like me (2014), talks about loneliness, family misunderstandings, the loss of fathers and mothers, and the search for love to remove those sorrows that sadden the soul.

My girlfriend / Jose Antonio Mendez 

There is something heartbreaking about this work and its author's interpretation. The conjunction of his hoarse but sweet voice, with the sincerity of the words he dedicated to his girlfriend at that time, have turned this song into an icon of the filin, a subgenre of bolero that reigned with respect in Havana at the end of the 1940s and early 1950s.  

Sister 2 Sister / Ibeyi  

“Slow down, now we've grown / Let's start new”, the jimaguas Naomi and Lisa Kaindé Díaz sing in the song that gives name to their upcoming third album. In this song with electronic overtones, both give free rein to the ambivalent feelings that accompany the emotional roller coaster that is the relationship between sisters, especially if they accompany each other since before they were born. At the end of the day, after the good and the bad, there is the unbreakable bond of what has been lived, the Ibeyi tell us. And they fill us with hope.

Wanted / Liuba Maria Hevia ft. Polito Ibanez 

There is not, in the Cuban songbook, a theme dedicated to the mother more beautiful than this one. At first, the listener could confuse the lyrics with a reference to a romantic interest, a couple; however, at some point we realize that the search of the composer is, in this case, the search of a daughter. Because there is no invisible bond as strong as the complicity established between a mother and her children. In the face of loss, Liuba overflows with the best of her poetry to immerse herself in the irreparable sadness left by the death of a mother. "Half of my blood and seed is sought / the good that is in me is urgently sought," Liuba sings, and there is no way that whoever listens does not feel her pain. 

Aixa / Comp. Vanito Brown; Int. Gema and Pavel 

That Vanito Caballero is a composer touched by the divine hand, it is already known. This song is proof of how the dynamics of family and social interaction with a restless and sensitive girl can be turned into a musical marvel. While the theme flows, we see the scenes of Aixa, her father, her mother, the neighborhood friends go by like in a movie. The interpretation of Gema and Pável is the no more. Yeah, you know we're fans. 

for my old man / Willy Chirino ft. Leonie Torres 

This theme, released in June 2021, came precisely as a special gift for Father's Day. A controversial campaign (of hate and politics) around Willy Chirino's collaboration with Leoni Torres joined the premiere of this single that from a sincere message celebrates the necessary presence of parents in our lives. The guide that they represent, the teachings that they leave behind and the path that make us up are strong motivations to create a song like this one. for my old man it fulfilled its objective, it was the background soundtrack for many families on a day to give and celebrate life.

Micaela's granddaughter / Pedro Luis Ferrer  

With his usual grace, interpretive rigor and good taste for the son and its variants, Pedro Luis Ferrer and his daughter Lena discover here the first sentimental dalliances of an adolescent with her neighbor, in a rural setting that the text emulates using images and metaphors of spring freshness, river that sounds and seeds in the sun. "Let no one say a sentence where love is stained", could be the motto of this playlist and of our lives.  

other things as well / Santiago Feliu 

As if he knew that it would last a little longer, Santiago Feliú, on his latest album oh, life he bequeathed to his son Adriano this song-paternal advice, in which he speaks to him from his own life experience of the precipice of oaths, of the weight of love that persistence carries, of being oneself and finding oneself, of not complicating the simple, of balance that the soul needs to love. And of other things, with other things more.... What better dowry for a teenager? 

live in parents' house /Frank Delgado 

Parental emancipation is a complicated issue. Frank Delgado approaches it in this song narrating everyday situations of coexistence from the perspective of a son who has not finished achieving his autonomy. In passing, he pays a nice tribute to the relatives who, from abroad and presumably with better finances, help, with their remittances, to the survival of those inside. Being Frank, the sense of humor and the guitar do not fail.

Isla / Kelvis Ochoa  

Isla, the song that closes the album kelvis (Ariola-BMG Music Spain, 2001) is a tender and small lullaby that the singer-songwriter Kelvis Ochoa composed for his daughter, today a singer herself. A few chords, a couple of verses and a few tiny and accurate fragments of conversation between Kelvis and Isla are enough to feel overwhelmed by fatherly love. Good song where there are to cradle the little ones at the end of the day, or to remember, if your daughter exasperates you at some point, that all the efforts are worth it.

to my old / Oscar Sanchez  

“My parents carried family on their backs/ this was not a burden, but rather the heart. / They knew that their climb was not easy / and with their smiles they broke pain”, says Oscar Sánchez from a place where the singer-songwriter releases, perhaps, some of his best verses, that place where he is almost always accompanied by some chords to the guitar. In this tremendous song, family-song, the one from Holguín reminds us that there is no time in the world enough to say how much we love those beings who, from childhood to adulthood, accompany us. The time, then, is today. 

I sing to grandma / Pablo Milanes

In a sea of nostalgia and longing for childhood, Pablo Milanés tells stories of his childhood in Bayamo and between images of walks with his grandmother and vivid descriptions of times when nothing mattered, the singer-songwriter manages to complete a sketch of what was and will be the memory of his grandmother in his memory.

Friends / Comp. Gerard Alfonso; Int. Angel Bonne

It is curious, considering the impact that this stage has on our lives, that few Cuban songs dedicated to friendship in adolescence have been immortalized. This song by Gerardo Alfonso reigns supreme in that select club. There is no way to listen to it without triggering nostalgia and making us think about the forked paths of those people who were the center of our world one day, and we wonder about the fate of that group of essentials. With a lot of luck, a couple still accompany you on the route.

Statements / Polito Ibáñez

This song appears on the first album by Polito Ibáñez, Recuento, 1998, the year of his son's birth. There is no need to explain much more. The lyrics are a rosary of life situations in which the recently released father promises to accompany him. The interpretation, with sign language included, of the actress Yordanka Ariosa in this version that was released in the telenovela Your, by Lester Hamlet, is about renting balconies (and keeping paper napkins handy).

Mother in law / David Calzado and the Charanga Habanera 

That not everything is rosy in the family environment, reminds us of this well-known theme that returned the group directed by David Calzado to the public arena. The well-trodden topic of confrontations between mother-in-law and son-in-law is presented to us in all the splendor of 90s timba. How much ill-earned fame and how much truth is hidden behind that myth is something that we will be discussing forever, especially thanks to songs like this one that reinforce those who do not leave that other mother that life gives you in a good light.

Aunt is dying of thirst / Los Van Van  

Family coexistence, on the premises of what, socially and physically, we consider home, is also a historical construction. There where social determinations seem to blur when crossing the borders of the intimate, work and leisure times, responsibilities, decision making, within those limits, are marked by cultural and moral codes specific to each society and each historical time. . In Cuba, for years, machismo in everyday household life in some social sectors has lost ground. In others, it seems to recycle chameleonically.

listen to all the playlist here:

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  1. Oscar Sánchez says:

    AMPM, thank you very much for generating this playlist and adding me to this constellation of musical stars. Big hug for the whole team. 🐢🐍💚🔥🔥🔥

  2. Zullín says:

    Hello family 😊, just reading the comments to each song makes you want to listen to them. I know many of them and it is fabulous to revisit them, to remember them. Thank you and good weekend!

    I support the Family Code without 'buts'!

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