I think there are very few who know exactly the coordinates of the moment in their lives when they heard Silvio for the first time. I'm not talking about the Silvio-person —the one who was born in San Antonio de los Baños in November—, his current voice, his records. I say the Silvio-air —to which the Silvio-person also belongs—, the one that is the same in a spot CDR pinguero, that in the piece of paper you left under the table of the girl you liked in high school, that in the voice of Chocolate MC. It is more difficult to say when and where we met him: find the point that cuts the meridian of time with the parallel of space.
In my case it must have been very early, possibly before the brain began to shelve memories. The old man had some vinyl that he kept playing on his Russian record player. I know there were several, but only two made it to my prefrontal cortex: Causes and chances (Fonomusic/Egrem, 1986) and Unicornio (Areito, 1982), whose cover I loved because of the colors and images.
When I approached Silvio seriously, I already knew a large part of his songs by heart, and had sung many of them in those political-pioneer acts that we will have, for sure, for a long time to come. Mace, by whom deserve love, The happy day that is coming; I remember very well singing them as a child. Some teachers called me “Silvito”. One of them took offense when I commented, while we were rehearsing pioneers with the school choir, that in the part of the song where he said: "It was like returning to a place / where I keep roots and stars" the same melody was heard as in the first two verses of the second stanza of the national anthem; that my dad had told me, Silvio had asked I don't know who for permission to do it. He was not amused by my apostille and questioned my father's sources of information. What relaxation was that with the national symbols?
It was a half-strange, half-beautiful process, peeling off these already larger songs, without the morning paper and the scarf, when words ceased to be just graphic symbols and sounds, and became language; when “a past server in a new cup” was “a past server in a new cup” and not “blah blah-blah-blah blah-blah-blah blah-blah blah-blah”.
Those of the Women (Areito, 1978) did not have them so burned, except And nothing more, which accompanied the credits of the telenovela Nonetheless —possibly the most watched in the history of Cuban television, because we all wanted to certify whether in the end the statue of the Knight of Paris walked or not, remember?— and What do I do now?, for the version that Moneda Dura had done on his album hopefully (Egrem, 2002). It was the one I liked the most among several albums with which I rediscovered Silvio around the year 2004, and which made him my adolescent idol. My relationship with him was the same that more than a nineties puberty from Seattle must have had with Kurt Cobain, or with Charly from Sui Generis, the skinny hairy guys from Buenos Aires. It is probably the most important aesthetic expression in my personal history. That's why I always forgive capitalized chealdades like a certain love story, the seventh track on the record, which he had to like enough in 1978 to place it as opening the B-side of the original LP edition.
Listening to this plate, not to overthink it, I found poetry. Before "I no longer wait for you / I already broke down, yesterday, my doors", or "a panther bite in the most mine" in my vocabulary the word poetry wasn't too far from the word poem. It differentiated them, of course. If someone, for example, had announced: “Now, to continue, Patricia, from 6th B, will recite a poem”, I would have felt that something was not right. But before Women, before Silvio, the indistinct use of the term did not bother me inside. It was the one from San Antonio de los Baños who revealed to me that language is a triangle, or the curved outline of the capital letter D; that if the shortest distance between two points is a line, then poetry is all the amount of space outside of it, all the longest ways to get to point B from point A. And that is the most momentous finding , after finding oneself. Imagine what comes after that. So when drunk they leave me all of Silvio's songs, I sing them.