My Freedom, by Yaíma Orozco
It's Thursday night in Santa Clara. El Mejunje, the center and cultural space of that city, comes to life little by little. In its patio, around a tree that provides shade during the day and shelter at night, groups of people gather in complete diversity. Freedom of movement is breathed along with the smell of cigar and rum, and the strings of the guitars that are tuned. The bleachers around a brick wall stage are being filled.
Before starting the concert, silence.
A not very tall woman, with bare feet and loose black hair, lights up. She takes the stage with her guitar and her pregnant belly about to burst. Yaíma Orozco smiles, closes his eyes. Break the first chord, strong, and the voice, soft. A voice that seems to fly lifting the weight of the guitar. The whole body vibrates with the song.
Some time later, on a hot afternoon filled with predictable rain, Yaíma is on the balcony of her house watering the plants. From where I am I can see aloe vera and basil planted in an old basin. The afternoon light touches her face and begins to enter the house, full of colors and details. There are memorabilia on every shelf, instruments hanging, tour posters, a guitar leaning against the wall. On the table where I wait for her there are two cups of hot coffee, some sheet music with old annotations under new notes and a small open notebook with the list of songs that will be on her next album: My freedom. As Yaíma rushes to the table, I think about the meaning of a word as big as freedom. And so I begin: what does "your freedom" mean?, and we launch into an hour-long conversation:
"Freedom is being the owner of what I feel, and acting frankly," she says. “It is wanting or desiring something and being able to do it. To have total control and to act as I please, in my way, with my times. No obligations or patterns imposed by someone: without permission. It is letting my emotions flow. Making songs has shown me the path of dispossession. The creation is daring and has no fear or prejudice. That process for me is a complete liberation ”.
A hug every time
“To make a song I don't have an established format, it happens without warning. Sometimes when I have long stages without composing I force myself a little, I review papers, I play the guitar, I put chords and I invent melodies: provoking myself. The process of the song in me responds to the day to day, to my experiences and emotions, which makes me vibrate, makes me happy or sad. One day it happens that all that accumulated feeling is transformed and becomes a song. It is like a channel or an outlet that eternalizes key moments. What I do need is to be alone for it to happen. Sometimes they snap off, other times they stagnate and it can take months, years, until they finally bloom. Either way it's magic to me.
"A hug every time It's a guitar song and a declaration of love. I usually have long crises of tendonitis in which I can't play the guitar, although I never stop singing. Those seasons make me very sad and desperate: I feel imprisoned. I enjoy singing, but the way is different when I don't accompany myself, the voice takes different paths. I made this song just after spending four months without being able to play and it came out on the first try. I speak to her, to the guitar. I tell him how much I miss him: If you miss me there will be a pain, I may sing, but without your body there is no prayer that will save me…”.
“I have no preferences in terms of genres to compose or perform a song. A bolero or a habanera is almost always associated with nostalgia; the son is more fun and carefree; rock is strength, determination, rebellion; the tango, the passionate, the torn. When I did Callejón I didn't think that. It was a very necessary song at a time in my life when I lacked the courage to make decisions. It is a theme that, beyond me, rejects ties and invites us to dare, to walk. Alley set me free. It made me focus on my feelings. I did it without a guitar because I was going through one of those tendonitis crises. As I couldn't wait to heal to see what it would sound like, I sang it to Alain Garrido and he brought out the basic harmony, guided by the melody and rhythm that I was doing with my hands on the table. It turned out to be a tango! The arrangement for the album makes me shudder. The format is very simple and very deep: Gastón Joya on double bass, firmly; two guitars played by Alfred Artigas and Carlos Ledea; and the Buenos Aires bandoneon by Pablo Yanis. Deep down, I notice an air of bolero that I like. She is the number one candidate for the video clip ”. Alley I didn't think that. It was a much needed song at a time in my life when I lacked the courage to make decisions. It is a theme that beyond me, rejects ties and invites to dare, to walk. Alley set me free It made me focus on my feelings. I did it without a guitar because I was going through one of those tendinitis crises. Since I couldn't wait to heal to see how it would sound, I sang it to Alain Garrido and he drew the basic harmony, guided by the melody and the rhythm that I made with my hands on the table. It turned out to be a tango! The arrangement for the album makes me shudder. The format is very simple and very deep: Gastón Joya on the double bass, firmly; two guitars played by Alfred Artigas and Carlos Ledea; and Pablo Yanis' bandoneon from Buenos Aires. Basically, I notice an air of bolero that I like. She is the number one candidate for the music video.”
to dream of you
“I always sang as a child at school. I chose the songs of Silvio, Pablo, Sara, I liked to listen to Miriam Ramos, Elena Burke, Celina González. Raúl Cabrera, from the Enserie Trio, gave me Music Education classes. He was the one who taught me old trova songs, he even accompanied me with his guitar in pioneer festivals. I followed their advice one by one. That's why I graduated —like him— in Music Education at the Félix Varela Pedagogical School in Villa Clara. to dream of you It is a song that is born from all these references. It's from 2007, more or less. I started composing in 2005, recently graduated from Pedagogical and closely linked to La Trovuntivitis. El Mejunje and that project fell in love with me from the first time I went: because it was authentic, because it was different, because of the songs they sang. I became a regular at the peña and at the concerts, and it began to be more and more normal to share other moments with them, more informal spaces, hanging out at friends' houses, with poets, with other artists in the city, in the park. One thing led to another. I stopped being in the public to be in the dressing room waiting to sing with Leonardo García or Diego Gutiérrez. I knew all the songs and I learned to do voices. It was the perfect setting for creation to be unleashed in me. I had the best teachers, the most admired by me, the most loving. With the certainty that I began to have that I had finally found the path that I had been looking for so long and the confidence that they gave me from the beginning; It was just a matter of time, I think now, to write my own music. So it was. Fifteen years later, I feel like a very lucky woman and I am proud of myself for having been true to my dreams.”
“The production of the album, putting together the whole process and thinking about the times according to the moments, we did it between Raúl Marchena, Alfred Artigas and me. Alfred was in charge of the arrangements and assembly with the musicians - who were many - and Marchena, of the production, along with me. He was the main promoter of this project. If he is, I am calm. In addition, Gisela Saíz, Migue De La Rosa, also a member of La Trovuntivitis and a life partner, my sister Yaily and even my mother joined in helping. Involving family and friends in projects is a specialty that I have. But it was the first time in one this big. We spent months with Alfred thinking about the arrangements, the instruments, summoning the musicians, recording demos, accommodating everyone's agendas. A month before we rehearsed together because we wanted to record an album as close to a live show to achieve the warmth, fluidity and energy of the live show. The house in disco time was a camp. They were beautiful and exhausting days. The new arrangements demanded another way of singing and if that connection with the band had not been achieved, I think it would not have been the same. Yaíma with voice and guitar is very different from Yaíma with a band ”.
"Abundant It's a suggested song, you could say. It was Alfred who, in a conversation about the composing process, told me to try to pick a theme, a motif, and write about it. So, as if it were a game, I thought to make a song using adjectives and this came out. It describes a tremendous love with all its edges: a transformed and revolutionary love. It was an exercise that, now with this arrangement for the album, took on a beautiful flight. It's one of the things I like the most."
"Amazon, in an arrangement with strings and me singing only, it was like floating. She's not the only one like that on the album. Of 10 songs you have My freedom, I only played the guitar in cuatro. Singing without playing the guitar is something that I have been experimenting with duet work with Alfred Artigas since 2013, also because of what he provokes in me when he plays this instrument. Having the voice as the only way to show the song makes me sing it in a different way and I like that. It's a romp with the melody all the time. I love moving it from its place with the confidence that the base is being done by others and I just have to let myself be carried away by its timbres and cadences. In the first meetings with Alfred to dream up the album, I asked him for such an arrangement, for strings, I wanted to hear the depth of the cello, of the double bass. I think he hit the sweet spot, choosing this song to do it. I feel it as a perfect mix between the tenderness and softness of the sonority of these instruments, and the strength and conviction that I wanted to express with this song. Amazon It is a song to courage and surrender without fear. A song in which I recognize and accept myself. It is my song of fight against the establishment, but from love. I really like how Alfred dressed her for me.”
After My freedom I would like to make an acoustic album with a small format where I play female singers like Violeta Parra, Teresita Fernández. I am incapable of projecting myself in the long term, but one always wishes for things and imagines. new melody is one of my first songs and my first son. I included it on the album with to dream of you because I wanted to show a little the path from my beginnings until now, taking advantage of the fact that they would be officially registered thanks to Bis Music. That's why I also included From my and Grace that were already recorded on a previous independent album. I remember when I sang it for the first time —at dawn, as it should—, next to a river in the Las Clavellinas campsite in Camagüey. That night was an injection of courage, a push. In My freedom, the arrangement of this theme was done in a more group way. At the last minute in the studio, ideas from Gastón, Armando Osuna, Oscar Sánchez and Iran Farías jumped up The younger who took the reins. It was fun".
"From my It was almost the name of the album. It's a song I wrote for my father after he died. This album is dedicated to him. This song was already recorded Grace (2013), a duet with Alfred Artigas; But I was very clear that I wanted to take it back. It was necessary. When we were working with Alfred on the format for the album we imagined a strong arrangement for this song. I wanted rock: drums, percussion; but I also wanted softness. This is a song that hurt me a lot and now makes me happy. It has the tremendous sadness that I suffered and the pain that time helps to put in a place of love and memories. That spirit was essential for me in the new arrangement and Alfred achieved it, thanks to his talent and the complicity that we have come to have making music together. It's like I can see inside myself. And that my ways of explaining music are rustic. I almost dance when I explain a song. When I imagined this phonogram I immediately thought of him for the arrangements, it couldn't be any other. Then I went further and, beer in hand, one night I proposed the musical production”.
“Studio work is something I love. We record My freedom for 12 days in a row, with which we achieved a rhythm that, on the one hand, left little room for doubt, but on the other put us at the maximum of dedication, of connection. There was nothing else to think about but the record, and we didn't want to either. It was beautiful to see how it was taking shape, sound by sound. The musicians we work with are all amazing. Once the bases and the instruments were laid, I had to put the voice on top. All that sounding, for me, was immense. I was scared, I was emotional, I cried. Sebastián Perkal, Argentine sound engineer and music producer who I called for this album, made everything easy. Some instruments were recorded later: the bandoneon by Pablo Yanis and the drums by Mariano Tiki Cantero, from Argentina, and the trombone by Rita Payés, from Barcelona. Now I listen to us and I am surprised at what has been achieved.
"Swirl was born getting off a bus full of people in Havana. That's not what the song is about, not at all, but the title is. The moments in which a melody can arrive are unsuspected. Originally Swirl It's a son, but then I wanted to turn it into a guaguancó. It was the last of the arrangements. Irina González participated as guests from Toulouse, in the voices, and Michel Hernández The cat from Miami, on the electric bass.
"Come back It is an old love song that asks for love, because it is not satisfied with calm, with custom. He wants movement, daring, he wants passion. It is a song of clarity and longing. Everything that once moved me strong things inside makes me nostalgic, and one day it stops being like that. I can't stand it and I cling to get it back. I appeal to everything without fatigue, without losing hope: I suffer. It happens to me with love relationships that end and then I resist them dying. I keep them by force of pain first, but then I place them in a new place where they can continue to be beautiful. It happens to me with friends who, due to life situations, move away, with the places where I was happy. I like to go back, remember, reminisce. I do not live nostalgia with sadness. I have turned it into a tool that drives me to seek ways to recover and bring closer what I love and miss”.
wind and distance
"wind and distance It is the song that closes the album and it is the arrangement most similar to the Yaíma that I am in music: voice and guitar singing our rhythm at the same time, a habanera. I share it with the Catalan artist Rita Payés. With this song I am thanking everyone who was involved in the album. It's the goodbye song. It remains in the wish to be able to make an EPK of the album. We have everything filmed: rehearsals, recording in the studio, meals, parties. I would also like to be able to make a DVD of a live concert that captures all the emotion and energy. Present it at the Santa Clara Theater with the musicians and sing it for the usual public. If I have to choose where to present My freedom Among all the places in the world, I choose Santa Clara.
“New projects will come, new experiences that will give life to other songs. Personally, this new journey that I am making to motherhood has me with great expectations, with fear and with my chest bursting full of new emotions. They have been months of great intensity and many changes. From playing to imagining my life from now on. The album is about to come out and my daughter has just been born. I will have two daughters at a stretch. I'm going to die of love!"