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Song by song Cimafunk. Photo: Courtesy of the artist. Cimafunk. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Cun-Cun-Prá, by Cimafunk

Ask yourself for a moment if you have seen Cimafunk motionless. Answer that, surely, no. Witnessing its stillness is a rare sighting, a privilege of close friends, family, band... and of this servant. One November afternoon I could see him sitting, cup of tea in hand and very willing to be interviewed, but then I learned something: when Cimafunk keeps his feet and hands calm, it is his words that get out of order, they go at their own pace. He talks like he dances and thinks like he sings. I had to recompose ideas, align facts, put aside my stubbornness and fight one on one to find plot and foundation for Cun-Cun-Prá, his most recent production, his first EP. 

Towards the definition of EP and other twists and turns

If something is clear Cimafunk is that to get to music heaven, in your case, you need to be a Cuban artist. For this reason, and even though he must submit to market forms that do not adjust to the reality of the Cuban music industry, he thinks first of his audience of here as a gauge of what will happen to the there

“We call it EP because that is what the press asks for the most, but most people do not know what an EP is, especially my audience, which is the people in Cuba, where we are not adapted to campaigns or things of those. An EP, what is an EP? They are two or more songs together that you release, with which you want to say something but it is very short [to be an album], it is a preview...

“We are adapted to tell that demo. Really what we are going to do with this EP is to promote it with a single. It is very difficult to have a budget in this historical moment to move four or five songs at the same time, and not even people who have a real budget do that, everything moves at the stroke of a hand. singles. What happens, that you need a material that has more than one song to be able to move seriously in the press, because with a single Not all the media pay attention to you, especially artists like me who are just starting out, who don't have a fan base neither so great nor so much prestige outside of Cuba. The EP is called Cun Cun Pra and his single The most important is the one that gives it its title and the one that is going to be promoted. full time

The Pottage: how and why to build a legacy

Perhaps what many have not yet understood is that Cimafunk is not moved by the fleeting merriment of empty fame. The cornerstone of him is the nostalgia for the music that he was, for sounds of times that he did not live. He talks about Bola, Chucho Valdés and Omara as someone who found a jug in the courtyard of his house and wants to go out and distribute it.

His wakefulness is the desire for a future for Cuban music on the world scene, where the popular prevails over the vulgar. He shows his pride in the Cuban essence, that which goes beyond the easy archetypes of the moment.

He understands that if it is true that everything has already been invented, it is up to him to rebuild his legacy. He also has the beautiful vanity of aspiring to be the one who, one day, leaves that prodigious inheritance in someone else's hands. Not in vain did he want to begin our dialogue by The Pottage, a song that, in the midst of so many remixes, novelties and changes, he left almost intact for the EP.

"That is a very important song for me. I feel that in Cuba we have a need to know who certain people were, and what they did for the culture. Those people are there, making music, and they are even willing to collaborate. I never thought I was going to achieve something like that, but I did.

“It is a theme that I will always carry with me as one of the most special. It includes people whom I admire and who have done a lot for Cuban culture, for us; people who have put identity to sound, when nobody was there for that. What Chucho did with Irakere was another type of movement, sound, it was totally different. What Pancho Amat did is enormous, always supporting young people who are trying to make his art, with the inclusion of tres in music schools in Cuba. People like Omara, like the musicians of Aragon, are a gift. Then El Potaje is going to stay. We decided to do a master's degree and we put it there; so he will continue giving timba ”. The Pottage is going to stay We decided to do a master's degree and we put it there; that way it will continue giving timba”.

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From Cimafunk, reparterismo and surrounding themes

Víctor Fowler26.01.2019

The potato and Parar el tiempo: music that mutates

The potato and Parar el tiempo are not casually included in Cun-Cun-Prá. The first is a piece where a very confident Diana Fuentes returns with her elegant sensuality. It is also a song that, whoever heard it at La Tropical on January 18 of this year, knows that it changed and for the better. The same thing happens with Parar el tiempo, a song that serves as an intermission so as not to exhaust the listener, give the dancer a minute and show the other Cimafunk. It is also a cut whose intentions have grown, with a Salma who, although little known, shines.

“For me, Diana is a complete artist. I remember that before I started making music, she had a record where she sang that 'I love you more than me, I love you more than me'; when I heard that I said: 'I don't know who he is, but he has tremendous swing'. After that she started doing other things but I've always seen that, in all the ones she's been involved in, she has a singular sound. And that, for me, is the most relevant: having a sound. When you have that, it doesn't even matter if you make this type of music or another, it's already you, wherever they put you, you're going to sound like you and people are going to know that it's your voice. He will know that it is your sign. When I made this song, I thought of it to sing by myself. The potato live it lasts seven or eight minutes, and even ends with a chorus that says 'the potato helps… the potato'; so obviously, by including it in a material with other songs, I modified it a bit. By taking that topic to a shorter time, I had to do it practically again in terms of the composition and the order of the texts. We even put new texts on it.

Cover of the EP Cun Cun Prá, by Cimafunk.

Cover of the EP Cun Cun Prá, by Cimafunk.

“There is a part —that of the falsetto that Diana sings: 'I only want the best for you'— that when I wrote it I said: 'that would be lethal if a woman sang it.' So I set out to see who could have no more or less voice, but the swing to make this natural. When I called her, she of course said yes; We recorded the song and it was super rich.

"With Parar el tiempo What happened was that I told the producer Alfredo González: 'I have this song that sounds like me, but I made it experimenting and I would love to make a different version'. He did that version for her and we started looking for a female artist for the featuring. There were a couple of proposals but Salma also has the swing Overall, she has a beautiful voice. Plus she wanted the song, she really wanted it. And that is more important —even if you think it isn't— than thinking of another artist who can give you or generate more followers or views, but it really doesn't matter if he does the song or not. That leads to another magical result, flow of the subject that makes it different. If you start thinking what is the best strategy, of course there are many. Even for me, making other types of music or merging my music. But sometimes you can't get carried away by what would be better for the numbers, because that's where you get lost and start making croquettes. If the thing is to take it with him soul, is in size; but it is also a long road when you pursue a result and melt. 

“I love how the theme turned out. It was a story that really happened to me and I did it in just 20 minutes; then the musical arrangement came out at dawn. When the arrangement began, it had the original sound flawed. As much as I wanted to, it was very hard to adapt because I met Parar el tiempo with another mood, but in the end when I listened to it with a cool head I thought 'no, how nice'. When the song came out I sent it to a friend and her text back was 'I think I just got pregnant'. I think if you listen to it at the right time and in the right situation, it's sure to work." 

Hot: all roads lead to funky

Isaac Newton said that chance is God's way of making Himself present. The funk gods were pleased when they matched Cimafunk, Tank and The Bangas and The Soul Rebels. As the culmination of that moment remained Hot.

“We came to New Orleans for the first time and tried to find people to share. That's where The Soul Rebels appeared. We went with them to a house that had been abandoned since Katrina and where Maceo Parker's engineer did a super lethal study. There we unloaded very hard and, later, we went to our concert at Tipitina's and they went upstairs. As a result of that, the idea arose that we had to do something together and something serious. Later, when we returned, we did coordinate the study and began to experiment, without being clear that we would do a feat. We were so relaxed that they thought they were only going to record the horns on one song on the album. 

“I had a tumbao in mind, the one at the beginning, and a discharge formed over it that, when we finished recording, lasted about 11 minutes. Later I sent it to Tarriona and told her 'it would be nice if you could do something here'. She accepted and did the spoken word, super poet, super killer. The song also has Hilaria's super hot solo at the end; got rap, new orleans grass. In the end we left it in four minutes. that's how it came out Hot, like so many things, unexpectedly, without a plan. 'Are we going to do it?' Well, we do. 

“Certainly the project that gave birth Hot it was beautiful. Being lucky enough to be able to do the tour, to play at the Blue Note —where Ray Charles and Nina Simone went through—, was very impressive. Each group has its sonority, each culture has its sound, its flavor. We have a very marked and strong one, that's why the acceptance; because it is a Cuban sound, that people are adapted to listen to. Cuban music is breaking the planet, and the respect it has is incredible. I am nobody, I have not studied music, but people look at me with enormous respect and it is not for me, as an artist, but for Cuban music and culture. That's what made us go viral with all the craziness of Ponte pa’ lo tuyo and The Pottage.

“When you observe the food that you have in the gao, culturally and sonically, if you really start looking for it, it's great. That is the support to throw her wherever. We got to do funk in New Orleans. You can't go dancing at home with a top, but the funk that we do is something else: it's Afro-Cuban music, and we didn't know that there was a sound behind all that that wasn't theirs, at least they hadn't heard like that and that's what always strikes. We have the sound in our heads and on the street”.

Cun Cun Pra: of the onomatopoeia of the peal and other matters

“Cun Cun Pra came out of quarantine. That song I originally started writing for another artist, because his manager contacted me saying that he was missing a song on the album, that he wanted a dance song. I had been experimenting a little more with the Afro thing for a while and I started to make that song, however when I finished it the artist thought it was too acoustic. We have that disease of putting and putting and putting—even me, I put too much sometimes and the song doesn't need it. I am also very jealous to give songs away, along with that all my musicians told me: 'that song is very hard, let's do it', and in the end I decided to release it as the next single. As a result of that, comes the idea of the EP.

"I like him a lot flow that the song has, and even the phrases. 'Cun Cun Prá' is a phrase that exists. I have always heard from all percussionists every time they imitate a rhythm, like Bobby Carcassés, that when he is going to do a series he says cuncuncunprá, cuntincunprá, priprá, cun-prá. That's where I got the idea of synthesizing how we interpret the sounds of leather. That's why Cun-Cun-Prá it is a state of mind, it is a slogan that says where we are, a cultural place. Normally when you're in an environment where that sound is heard —cuncunprá, prá, kinkinprá— there is music, party, alegríadera, conga and leather. That's why the name, that's why the expression”. 

Also readCimafunk. Photo: Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Marie Aureille.

Cimafunk: "I do not want my music to be an alternative"

Leannelis Cárdenas Díaz05.09.2018

Encore: Cimafunk Explained

Do you think that Cun-Cun-Prá it will get where it got Me Voy?

"I dont know. I'm going It hasn't arrived yet, it had a promotion but the songs stay for a long time. You make them and over time things happen with them. Me Voy it caused a lot of sensation in one part; but my most listened song on music platforms streaming like Spotify or iTunes is not that, but Parar el tiempo. Me Voy have the Afro-Cuban rhythm with its pilón and its mechanics; It has the allegorical phrase when you leave a place —“hey, I'm leaving”— and there comes a point where you get bored of the song because of that, although it's also delicious. Me Voy created an effect on people, Parar el tiempo other, and Paciente other. Suddenly you find fans Paciente or what do you prefer Alabao, but they don't know I'm going, as has happened to us on many tours. In the end that varies all the time. 

"With Cun Cun Pra I could not tell you. It is always important to do something that you like, enjoy it to the fullest and not think about the results of the people. If you are going to live pending with that, with what people give you, then you will not be able to download what you did. I always try to unload him and that's it, let him take the path he leads. It's mine anyway." 

In that possible world that artists create, the cohesion and coherence (the style in the end) is evident in the sound and the discourse. In your case, there are recurring reasons for the popular: the lycra, the bajichupa, the guara and other related terms. Is that speech intentional?

“I am always talking about the same thing but in different contexts and with the words that I normally use when talking to people. But there is a problem: sometimes, when I write a song, I start to calculate very much how I am going to say things. When I go in there I already lose the spontaneity of saying it and that's it. That's why I always try to make the songs look like I'm talking to you, with the same composition of the words. In Me Voy: 'oh, what's the point if you're not going to do anything…'; the same in Cun Cun Pra: 'let's ripianos with the beauty of life'. On the other hand, I try to tell the truth and the truth about how I see things, about how I communicate. That is why the words are repeated and there are reasons that I always resort to. Well at least it's hard for me to connect to say something and to put a kind of language into the song to tell lies. It's something I wouldn't do. I say it my way whether it's a ballad or a bolero, whether it's a conversation, an argument or a party. There are people who can put poetry into it, not me, I throw it as it comes out”.

Avatar photo Gladys M. Quesada Degree in Spanish Philology, Announcer, Scriptwriter. Master in Communication Sciences. Convinced that there is life outside the Earth and life. Crespa by conviction, Philologist by vocation. Voracious consumer of series and music. Eternally, guajira girl. More posts

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