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Interviews Radames Giro. Photo: Courtesy Isabel González. Radames Giro. Photo: Courtesy Isabel González.

Radamés Giro, passionate about Cuban music

I doubt that anyone is unaware of the important work carried out by Radamés Giro, musician, book editor, researcher, musicographer and self-taught musicologist, author of several titles, including the Encyclopedic dictionary of music in Cuba published in 2007, recipient of the Scientific Critics Award that year, and whose four volumes have become an indispensable source of information . His repeated presence in anthologies or periodicals, addressing dissimilar topics about the sonorities of his native island, evidences what Leo Brouwer said about this tireless man from Santiago:

“Radamés is not the type of researcher who wants at all costs to go down in history for his theses or for his ʽstatus' professional which deserves, but the man who is passionate about music, the man who searches and finds”.

To know the origins of his love and dedication to music, I asked him to tell about his childhood in Santiago de Cuba, where he was born on July 30, 1940, and lived until his adolescence.

"Actually I learned to play the guitar watching how my uncle, Carmelo Giro, put the positions on the fretboard. Later, I went to see the teacher Alcibíades Castillo so that he could tell me the name of the chords. Thus, I assumed the execution of that instrument, first with the trio Los Románticos, in which in addition to playing the accompanying guitar, I did the first voice, can you imagine? In 1956 the group Avance del 56 was founded, of which I was a part as a guitarist and backing vocalist. It was at the Copa Club cabaret where I met Orlando Contreras and accompanied him on several occasions. With the director of Avance del 56, Herbert Bordes, first trumpet player and excellent guitarist, and Rafael la Rosa, also a trumpeter, I learned a lot about harmony, because I had to know the arrangements, and this greatly developed my harmonic ear. In addition, I am the grandson of a great troubadour, Ángel Almenares, and the nephew of an outstanding active member of the Santiago trova, Alejandro Baby Beacons. They all contributed to my growth as a musician.

“Also, the Grupo Hermanos Giro was founded in my living room: Crescencio, my father, tresero; my uncles: Claro, conga, and Carmelo, great guitarist. The repertoire was boleros and works by Arsenio Rodríguez. I don't remember many things about this set, because I'm talking about the 48; I was then eight years old.

“Fernando Álvarez rehearsed with the Giro Brothers and, on occasions, Sergio Calzado who became a singer in the Félix Reina orchestra, and who was married to my maternal aunt. My mother, Norka Almenares, could have been one of the voices of the Márquez Sisters, but my grandmother's prejudices, typical of the time, did not allow her to be an artist, despite the fact that it was in her blood.

“I do remember the King Ranch, Copa Club, Rancho Club, Níspero Club cabarets —here I worked with Avance del 56 and the Hotel Casa Granda. There the usual groups were the René del Mar ensemble, the Chepín-Chovén orchestras whose presentations on radio station CMKR I frequently attended, Pancho Portuondo and Miguel Patterson.

“At that time it was usual for a 'come-you' to form, a small picket of musicians to liven up a dance and even perform in some of the cabarets I mentioned. With a group made up of my brother Ramón Monguito Giro (maracas), Onelio Labadí (conga), Argimiro (philharmonic), Miguel Núñez (marímbula), and I, barely 13 years old on guitar, appeared on the radio program The Dog Head Gang, sponsored by the beer and malt of the same name and we won the first prize which consisted of a trip to Havana. This was in 1953. It was my first time in the capital. My mother accompanied us.

“In 1959 Conrado Wilson appeared at the Copa Club. It was the first time I saw it. That same year he formed a group made up of two singers, a double bass player, a conga player, and myself as an accompanying guitarist. We toured the carnivals of the province of Oriente, which ended in what was then called Victoria de las Tunas”.

Going back to the time in Santiago de Cuba, and to your musical jolts, were you one of the children who searched on the radio or on the jukeboxes? How much did the successes of the moment influence the dissemination of our music?

"The music was in the mood. What do I mean? On any corner there was a bar with its nickel slot; that is, there was no need to search: the last hits were within earshot. This way of spreading music made many singers, without being excellent and sometimes not even good, gain the interest of the public. These devices, being everywhere and at all times, without you having to leave your house, imposed a music that many times without you liking it, you sometimes found yourself whistling a melody that had been "recorded" in your subconscious by the strength to listen to her, in spite of yourself. And when the slot machines disappeared, the spread of popular music was affected, and this, of course, was aggravated by the low production of records from the 1960s onwards”.

How did you find out about the possibility of studying at the National School for Art Instructors (ENIA) in Havana?

"That is a curious story. I taught myself to read and, when the campaign ended, they offered the brigade members to study in Havana. I opted for the ENIA, which worked in the Hotel Comodoro. Upon my arrival at this facility we were briefed on the specialties. The logical thing was for me to study Music, but the Theater curriculum seemed more interesting to me, since it included Acting, Theater History, Philosophy, Economics, Universal, Cuban and Spanish Literature, Voice and Diction. It was my secondary education and my baccalaureate. I was not wrong, all this helped me for the later direction of my professional life”.

This led you, at just 26 years old, to become deputy director of Music at the National School of Art (ENA). Did you like it or was it the circumstances?

“It wasn't really that I was interested, but little by little I started to like it; later I saw it as my great opportunity, since I was already inclined towards research. It was Professor José María Bidot who discovered me. I had taken History of Music classes with him, and he made me want to record everything I read about music. At that time I was interested in the life of universal composers, and Bidot guided me to do it with Cuban music, for which I will always be grateful. I owe a lot to the ENA and its teachers”.

When did you start systematically collecting information about our music, a process that culminated in the Dictionary?

"Consciously? In 1966. At the School for Art Instructors, the Spanish Literature teacher taught me to file as a class exercise. And what is well learned is not forgotten. Already at the ENA I began to record everything that interested me from what I read, especially music. Back then, if someone had asked me to write a music dictionary I would have burst out laughing. But life showed me that curiosity and perseverance, together with knowledge, make miracles; and the ʽmiracle' It occurred". 

In his note “To the reader”, of the Dictionary…, Radamés Giro recounts: “In October 1967, at the suggestion of Bidot, professor of History of Music at the ENA, and motivated by my curiosity —trahit sua quemque voluptas—, I began to accumulate information in order to elaborate what could be —I believed then— a catalog of Cuban musicians. He could not foresee the dimensions that it would take. By reviewing the information accumulated up to that moment, which was immense, I traced —aided by the referents of the José Martí National Library—, the profile of what the work in progress should be”.

Today, in this conversation, he returns to that moment:

“Perhaps there are those who find it presumptuous, but since then I have titled it Encyclopedic dictionary of music in Cuba. Actually, the dimension of the work fulfills, in my opinion, the requirements of its title. On the other hand, the review of countless dictionaries and encyclopedias of music, in search of a model that adjusted as much as possible to the case of Cuba, allowed me to reach the following conclusion: the entries would include composers and should cover not only the description of their lives, but also include their works, reviews received and bibliography, active and passive, as the case may be; also performers, orchestras, trios, ensembles, genres, magazines, theaters...; the most relevant foreign musicians who performed in Cuba…

“I must confess how important my two trips were, 1991 and 1992, to New York, invited to CUNY by Dr. Vernon W. Boggs. That allowed me to meet, among others, Mario Bauzá, Peter Manuel, Max Salazar, Rudy Calzado, Joe Cuba, Cristóbal Díaz Ayala and his wife Marisa, Bob Sancho, Harry Sepúlveda, Chico Álvarez, Ned Sublette, Ralph Mercado… being in the presentation of the first album of the group Niche, and at the music school in the Bronx, acquiring voluminous documentation that allowed me to complete the information that I had already accumulated; These two trips were decisive in the conclusion of the Dictionary…".

Mayra A. Martínez with Radamés Giro.

Mayra A. Martínez with Radamés Giro.

In 1969 you make a notorious change, when you enter the Cuban Book Institute (ICL), to take charge of editorial production dedicated to music...

“In October 1969 I left the ENA subdirectorate in Cubanacán, and I directed my life towards something related to the experience acquired. Miguel Miguelito Rodríguez, vice president of the Cuban Book Institute, who was a fan of music, proposed that I create a Music Publishing House and, although that seemed very big to me, I got down to work.

“Thus, I went to several professors and researchers, and created an Advisory Council, with the aim of drawing up a line of work: Argeliers León, Carmen Valdés, José María Bidot, Roberto Valera, Sergio Fernández Barroso, Nilo Rodríguez, Danilo Orozco, Odilio Urfe, Dulce Maria Betancourt. It was a luxury team. From these advisers came the list of the first books on music to be published and that corresponded to the needs of musical literature for students. But I am a realistic man. I realized that there were no conditions to found that publishing house, nor did I have the necessary knowledge to undertake such a company.

“So, I dedicated myself to learning the trade, reading all the recommended books. The first thing was to ask to be located in a publisher; I was assigned to People and Education. There I worked with a small group of experienced editors, but who did not know music. So that part was up to me. I posted the oxford dictionary of music, the first work of this type that saw the light in our country; later, they would come History of music as a reflection of cultural evolution, Of song and time, music and people, modern harmony, The counterpoint of the 20th century, nursery rhymes, by Olga de Blanck; children's songs, by Gisela Hernández, and much more. That publishing house also commissioned me for books for artistic education, which included plastic arts and music. This forced me to expand my knowledge in a self-taught way, surrounded by a very competent group. It was my university.

“So in 1974 I had some experience and prestige. So, Pablo Pacheco, director of Editorial Arte y Literatura, suggested I work for that center. It was the conviction that I could propose more ambitious plans, since I had to deal with editions of painting, architecture, ballet, folklore and music. I was there for two years. In 1976, when the Editorial Letras Cubanas was founded, and again Pacheco requested my services, this time to focus on Cuban music and arts. Here I worked at the head of an efficient and professional team of editors such as Dulcila Cañizares, Ricardo González Jane, Carina Pino Santos and Silvana Garriga. A stage in which very important books were published. 

Do you consider yourself a collector, who is often questioned by accumulators? Is it a kind of addiction or compulsion that leads to collecting?

“I don't know why question the 'hoarders' and collectors. They are great helpers. I am neither an accumulator nor a collector; I treasure books, magazines, newspapers, records that I need for my research. In any case, if you will, I am a collector of friends.

You know, from experience, what it means to accumulate data and decant it. In total, it took me 40 years to “finish” this work [the Dictionary…]. The most difficult part was precisely ordering and decanting. I prepared a base document where I set the budgets to follow, that is: input system, amount of text according to the importance of the character, gender, etc. Of course, this was not always the case, since many times the information accumulated on certain aspects conspired against my objective. In addition, another of my purposes was to provide Cuba with its musical memory as Díaz Ayala did with the discography —. But, I must confess something: I was not aware of what I had done until the presentation of the Dictionary… at the Havana Book Fair in 2007. The influx of people, what the presenters Isabel González Sauto, Ana Cairo and Leo Brouwer said, left me speechless. So much was the emotion! If my work serves future generations to continue delving into our music, I will be satisfied; I only hope that it will be useful to you. I donated part of my archive to the Music Museum, since it will have a collective use there; perhaps from this new contributions to the knowledge of Cuban music will arise”.

By including in this invaluable document figures denied on the Island, including
like nobody until that moment a really wide panorama of our music, didn't you face difficulties for the publication?

“In all honesty, no. From the beginning I proposed to include everyone who had a participation in the history of Cuban music notice that I say participation and not importance, which are two different things—. Because a dictionary must record the historical memory of a nation and the criteria to conform it depends on the dictionary. I refuse to accept that there is a single formula to make a dictionary or write our history of music.

“On the other hand, that history, for one reason or another, is full of musicians who emigrated to be able to develop their work according to their opinion. These are the cases in the 19th century of José White, Lico Jiménez, Rafael Díaz-Albertini, Brindis de Salas; In the first decades of the 20th, Mario Bauzá who joined me a beautiful friendship—, Machito, Graciela Pérez, Mongo Santamaría, Alberto Socarrás, Alberto Iznaga and many others, all very important. After 1959, I will only mention Celia Cruz.

“I must say that I had no setbacks. Abel Prieto, Minister of Culture, supported its publication, and Iroel Sánchez, president of the ICL at the time, materialized it. Everything happened normally and with respect, not only for me, but also for the music and the musician. In this aspect I feel happy and fulfilled”.

What are the demands of a musicographic work? What qualities can you recognize? Are you organized? Patient? Rigorous? Curious? Able to achieve concentration? You have a good memory?

“Without the qualities you point out, no researcher can achieve imperishable work, or one that contributes new knowledge. I am extremely organized, a quality that allows you to trace the course you intend to walk; being patient is an essential requirement to achieve long-term works; being rigorous allows you to reduce as much as possible the errors and superficial evaluations that abound so much; concentration is fundamental, without it you will not be able to realize your own mistakes and when your judgments are not serious and rigorous enough, because it does not allow you a critical reading of your own text; memory is an instrument of work. Here you failed to relate honesty and intellectual honesty. Recognizing the work of the other is something that some researchers lack.

“Furthermore, I am a person who constantly observes himself, criticizes himself, who is not afraid to admit his possible mistakes. If you read carefully my note to the reader of the Dictionary…, you will realize how much I value my work. This is, neither more nor less, a starting point. Collecting, accumulating, are necessary requirements for the work to be undertaken. Without these two elements  they are not the only ones, of course, how to write? It is collected and accumulated for a previously established purpose. Of course, there is also the pleasure of having something that no other has. Or to show friends, for entertainment. All of this is valid."

Your investigative and authorial work is immense. At what point do you consider making your first book and why did you choose Leo Brouwer as the protagonist? Then you even go to another figure, this time in the filin: César Portillo de la Luz…

“In principle, the motivation was to write a history of the guitar in Cuba. As the investigation progressed, Leo cut me off. Therefore, it was necessary to study him, and I discovered that he was the center of that story, due to his importance not only as a guitarist, but also as a composer of one of the most impressive repertoires for the instrument of the 20th century.

“But I had another problem. Without the popular guitar that story would be incomplete; So it had to be integrated. It was audacity on my part to mix Isaac Nicola, Leo Brouwer, Jesús Ortega, Juan Antonio Mercadal with Sindo Garay, Manuel Corona, César Portillo de la Luz, José Antonio Méndez, and some jazz players and rockers within that story. It seems that I was successful, because I did not have many adverse reviews, quite the opposite. I think that is the way to go when studying the history of Cuban music. It's complicated, but possible.

“On the other hand, César was a complex man, with his own ideas that he defended vehemently. The importance of his work is unquestionable, but you have to know it. I did. First I learned almost all his songs on the guitar, trying to understand the use of his harmony; in that learning I understood that harmony for him was not an element of decoration or simple accompaniment, but an element of composition. Hence the richness of his work. In addition, I had to know much more about the character, to whom I was linked by a long friendship, only interrupted by his death. We had long interview sessions. The questions sought the background of his motivations as an artist and as a man, what he thought of impressionism, jazz, music in general. Thus, I was discovering Portillo, his spiritual world, his motivations, his way of conceiving songs. That is to say, I met the whole man, and that made it easier for me to write the book, which concludes with an interview with Silvio Rodríguez talking about César, who thought of recording an album with Silvio's songs and that he, in turn, record another with the yours It didn't happen, but it would have been something very nice, two generations, two greats of Cuban songwriting, shaking hands."

What characters of our culture do you admire or influenced your career?

“For example, I was editor of The music and the people, of Maria Teresa Linares, and of Of song and time, of Argeliers Leon,. With both I was united by a great friendship and respect; without them it would not be possible to speak of musicology in Cuba. Unfortunately I was not friends with Eusebio Leal, whose legacy can be seen in every stone that shines in Old Havana, and whose written work should be known for the originality of its arguments and its poetic beauty.

“Guyun Vicente González-Rubiera y Cortina—is a transcendent character in my life as a researcher and as a man. His great erudition impressed me from the first moment; his behavior and way of playing the guitar and his rich harmonizations captivated me. I was the editor of his book The guitar: its technique and harmony, a treaty that transcended the national sphere to settle in other countries, and not only in Latin America. I was lucky let's call it that—to record 30 hours of interviews with him, in which he walked extensively through the history of traditional trova. He was a very open man, not at all dogmatic. In his analysis he started from the work, the center of his attention. Hopefully one day this interview can be transcribed and published with a disc where his qualities as an interpreter are made known. For now, I will publish a volume with his works for solo guitar, and for voice and guitar. Thus, his versions for this instrument will be in the hands of current generations of guitarists”.

I know that Leonardo Acosta was very close to you. Tell me about those links and your opinion on his vast oeuvre.

“I met Leonardo Acosta in 1981. I had already read his articles in  Revolution and Culture, which later appeared in his first music book From the drum to the synthesizer, which I published in 1983 on the occasion of his 50th birthday. Since then we have been united by a friendship that was complemented by my marriage to Isabel González Sauto, Michi's sister, Leonardo's wife. And I was the editor of almost all of his books on music.

“For me, Leonardo is the most interesting musicologist in our country. In the first place, for having been a performer of various instruments; second, because he handled a broad conceptual apparatus. He had a culture that allowed him to develop through the most diverse knowledge, while projecting himself with an enviable expository clarity. He was a great writer, an essayist who shone for the depth of his analysis. He was not one of those who wallowed in the beaten track, but instead focused on issues that, while not totally new, addressed them in reverse, so to speak, from what is generally done.

“On the other hand, his work as a musician In addition to the studies carried out with Federico Smith and his tireless readings of the most varied topics, it prepared him to deal with a wide range of subjects, among others jazz, and almost all genres of Cuban music. At this point, I must remember that Leonardo Acosta lived immersed in a cultural environment. His father, José Manuel Acosta, was an outstanding cartoonist; his uncle, Agustín, a poet of elevated values. In his house he met Alejo Carpentier, listened to the work of the most important composers of all time and dissimilar ways of doing things, and with Julián Orbón, one of the most important composers of the Musical Renovation Group, he had fruitful exchanges. And it is precisely about the work of Alejo Carpentier, one of his most lucid essays: I leave on Tierra Firme. Intertextuality and chance encounters, phenomenal incursion through some of the paths that Carpentier followed during his literary production, and that was awarded the 2004 Cuban Academy of Language, where he discusses, with Alejo himself, his theory of the marvelous real and the baroque.

Returning to his Ingres violin, Leonardo showed his talent for leading the reader more than to accept to think. He tackled the hottest issues in Third World music at Music and decolonization; of the history, practice and personalities of Cuban music in From drum to synthesizer and You choose what I sing, or the history of jazz in our environment and its relationship with this artistic manifestation in the United States, in A century of jazz in Cuba. Acosta confronted these issues with singular lucidity, erudition, and audacity. His originality in the interpretation of these issues is backed by his solid theoretical background, which led him to unusual disquisitions in this type of study in our environment. As he searched for answers that are rarely, or almost never, within the framework of the history of music, he turned to sociology, literature, general history, philosophy, economics, psychology and anthropology, to demonstrate a once again, the importance of interdisciplinary studies in musical analysis.

“If anything, his perspective on music is ʽfrom within, never as a casual spectator'; it is that of a man who prefers the street to the academy, valid only ʽwhen it is an ally of talent'. Overcoming the borders between the cultured and the popular, Leonardo Acosta moves naturally among the most advanced currents of music in the 20th century. With its specific codes, music intertwines with other branches of culture and society. That dialoguing and integrating vision characterizes his essays.”

You mentioned your wife, Isabel, an intellectual who has undoubtedly supported you in an essential way in your career. Although it has nothing to do with the subject of this interview, what is the effective "recipe" for a life in common, extensive and with affinities?

“The recipe is very simple: love, respect and admiration; add to this the affinity, the constant exchange of points of view not always coincident—in the analysis of the most diverse aspects of politics, culture and daily problems, to which time must be devoted, since no one can live in peace without an understanding of the environment that surrounds them and even of what happens in the world. We talk about everything on a day-to-day basis in a relationship that has already surpassed three decades, in which the intelligence and culture of Isabel González Sauto have been decisive. She is my best and most severe critic in my work as a researcher; besides, he writes like the gods”. 

Radamés Giro with Silvio Rodríguez and Marta Valdés at the Casa de las Américas. Photo: Ivan Soca.

Radamés Giro with Silvio Rodríguez and Marta Valdés at the Casa de las Américas. Photo: Ivan Soca.

In addition to giving conferences in Cuba and abroad, and advising film productions, have you not been tempted to have radio programs or be a television scriptwriter?

“Working on the radio, television, being a screenwriter, as I see it, is something to which you have to dedicate yourself body and soul. I don't know how to do anything if I don't give myself to the ultimate consequences, but I chose a perhaps more difficult path that I am passionate about: editing and researching are the same thing for me. That has been my support for almost 50 years. You can do research without being an editor, but in my opinion you can't be an editor without doing research. I mean: to know what and who is researching a topic, what perspective this has of becoming a book and when. Unfortunately, the editor's job has been reduced to what I call desk work: checking punctuation, typos, and some other aspect of this job. In general, most of the time that editor does not know what path that original traveled before reaching his hands, and abroad this profession hardly exists. Of course, there are very serious publishers that do observe the editor's job with respect and their books have great quality in their form and content”.

Based on your experience, do you think that the musical memory of the Cubans, taking into account the damage caused by the denial of so many artists after the diaspora?

“Terrific question! Actually they are several in one. I don't like to talk about rescue. Rather it is about understanding that it is the media that must work to make it ʽaudible' the music of all historical periods and that everyone listens to what they like, remember or are interested in. Of this, there is not much clarity in those responsible for those media, neither in Miami nor in Cuba. I don't think it's a lack of will, but a lack of knowledge of what happened yesterday and a taste developed for the immediate. Much must be done by radio, television and the written press to make Cuban music of all time known”.

With so much tradition and richness, what do you think about the enormous rise of reggaeton in Cuba?

“Every time a phenomenon arises ʽnew' and note that I say phenomenon and not genderIn Cuban music there is controversy, fanatical detractors or defenders. I must remember the controversies in the 19th century about the contradanza and the danzón; in the 20th century, son and mambo, salsa, rock and timba..., then all ʽthey played madly'. Now, it's reggaeton's turn. What does reggaeton have to reach so much root in the current generation?

“Enervating rhythm, transgressive texts, of what? It would be necessary to study his lyrics carefully and without prejudice. Where does it lie, and why the rudeness? Because it seems that's what it's about. What is happening in our society so that machismo, for example, is so deeply rooted in reggaeton? How funny is this manifestation of our music, and also in that of other countries? I don't think it was imposed just because some famous people assumed it, that would be a simplistic analysis. The truth, the real thing, is that reggaeton is ʽI hit', and it is urgent to refresh the environment. How? Contributing with the entire arsenal of genres and rhythms in Cuba. Performed by whom? For the young Cuban musicians, what training and quality they have for it. The lasting will remain from reggaeton That's how it is with all music, the rest, sooner rather than later, will be forgotten”.

What genres survive or remain valid in the Cuban musical environment?

“The validity or not of a genre does not depend on the will of the person or persons who maintain it. I explain. The filin was a renewal movement in relation to the traditional trova; the Nueva Trova was a renewal movement in relation to the filin, and you can hear according to the knowledge and taste, interest and information of each one—the traditional trova, the flin and the new trova. It is a phenomenon of culture, influenced, of course, by the media.

“For example, the approach to bolero by researchers has been partial. In addition, there is talk of the need to renew the genre. I think that it does not depend on the will of someone who says: I am going to renew the bolero. Some singers think that by distorting the melody they are modernizing it. And sometimes it's hard for me to understand why that nonsense. You have to say the melody as the composer created it, you put your ʽyours' on it, which can be lengthening the phrase a little here, delaying it there, it's what is called in technical terms agogic; the melody, however, can be accompanied with different harmonizations, let us remember that the harmony dresses the melody, and just as one can put on different costumes without changing the figure, the same can be done when a song is harmonized. It is a problem of culture, of good taste, of knowledge.

“On the other hand, there are those who want to impose a music they are the lovers of the eternal return— above another. Worse yet, they claim that certain genres continue to be executed as their contemporaries did, with which they try to sacralize what, by law of life, changes; because what deeply moved one generation can leave another indifferent, even seem ridiculous. What it is about, then, is not to impose, but to demonstrate that the values of the past are a cultural asset that is worth knowing and even enjoying in the present. We need a cultured listener. So let us train that listener.”

Some say that jazz is the most benefited by young performers...

“I don't think jazz has benefited, because jazz has never stopped being performed in Cuba, and its influence is more present in all our music than many suppose. If you pay attention to the accompaniment of pianists, guitarists and orchestras to our singers, without surprise you will hear many of the harmonic turns, rhythmic frameworks and ways of doing things characteristic of jazz. If a musical form is constantly changing, it is precisely jazz. Therefore, today we can speak of a latin jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, or simply Cuban jazz; because although this genre was not born in Cuba, in our country it found its own home, although at some point it was rejected by moth-eaten spirits.

“It should be remembered that innovation is not someone sitting down and saying ʽI'm going to create this rhythm, this lyrics, this way of singing and instrumentation'. Innovation is a process that is given by the expressive needs of the composer, by the environment that is created around a way of doing things that is not yet conscious in the creator. An example of this is songo, which emerged within Los Van Van. Neither Juan Formell, nor Changuito Joseph Louis QuintanaNeither Blas Egües said: I am going to create a new genre. This came out of the compositional and executive practice of the group. The same thing happened with timba. I have heard that Cuban music is stagnant. I do not think so. I do believe that a jump is being prepared, which will not be in a vacuum. Like when? Nobody can predict it.

“And I do believe that Cuban popular music is in good health, from time to time. Within the young composers I feel a new boom beating, thanks to the need to create and express themselves from this generation of musicians with a solid academic background. We'll see".


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