Yimel Díaz Malmierca

Yimel Díaz Malmierca

Juan Formell / Photo: Ivan Soca

Cuba´s Juan

  “Aunty, I’m at Casa de la Música. They stopped the concert. Elito (Revé) said that Formell has died. The musicians and everyone are crying. I can’t believe it.” That was how I found out, through a text message. Then came the mourning and the tributes, but I still feel like he’ll break the silence behind which he sometimes hid the rough patches in his life. Then I imagine him ready to answer those questions that I never got to ask. Juan Formell was always a gentleman, even amid the stress of a concert. He demonstrated that a number of times: at the Concert for Peace, at La Tropical…. Once, during the closing ceremony of a Benny Moré Festival in the largest plaza of Cienfuegos, I saw him being harassed by some transvestite fans of Los Van Van: “Maestro, call us up to the stage,” Lázaro, the most uninhibited of the group, kept calling out to him.  “I can’t do that,” Formell answered calmly. “It’s too small; keep enjoying yourselves there in the front row,” he said, laughing happily. He walked among us as a simple mortal, even though part of him was more than that. Even after he was...

Musical, warm and intense

Beatriz Márquez (Havana, 1952) was born to sing, more than four decades of professional work prove it. A comprehensive register voice, authentic and melodious accompany her since adolescence and the DVD Spontaneously, her first album of the digital age , confirms her physical fulfillment, enriched with the interpretative maturity that only time provides . The audiovisual material, produced by the Unicorn label, contains an hour and 15 minute of songs arranged for the occasion and the making off and a photo collection. Exquisite is the quality of picture and audio, the latter by Orestes Aguila , an engineer who gets everything out of the modern technology installed in the Abdala No 1 studio in the Cuban capital. The concert we will enjoy took place on May 28, 2010. The confined space of a recording studio hosted once again, musicians and audience to create an intimate show designed months ago. Here Márquez dusted issues of her own authorship (Despídete de todo mi existir), by her father René (No respondo, En el cielo de mi vida y Espontáneamente) and by Rembert Egües (Alguien), Juan Almeida (No me grites y Es soledad), Roberto Vergara (Raíces profundas), Pedro Romero (Mariposa), Silvio Rodríguez (Te conozco),...

Havana has its Son and it is played by the Septeto Nacional

Five disks are nominees to the Latin Grammy this year in the category of traditional tropical music. In all highlights the presence of musicians born on the island and they include, with a unique proposal, the   Ignacio Piñeiro Septeto Nacional, a group with over 80 years of history that continues to hold the interest of the dancers. In 2002 it had received a similar distinction for the album Poetas del Son. Now its Habana tiene su son, a CD / DVD which attempts to show the Cuban capital didn’t only cradle Son but endowed it with a different, special sound. "Havana has its Son and it was born from the rumba and ñañiguismo, in the councils of the nation, Abakuá powers, the tenements and festivals, long before it was known, attributed or generically defined," Ricardo Oropesa in the notes to the disc says. Looking for more answers, just as he was enjoying the Grammy nomination and preparing the tour in November through several U.S. cities, we talked to El Matador (Francisco Oropesa), musical director of the group and bongo player and producer of the album. "Habana tiene su son is an album of great importance to traditional Cuban music not...

The revived Martí

Among the ruins of the most aged part of Havana there is a building that despite the passage of time and the absence of work, never seemed abandoned. It is the Marti theater, a Cuban neoclassicism architectural work so dear to the vernacular and the history of drama and music on the island. It was opened on June 8, 1884 and then was called Irijoa , after the Basque man that motivated its construction. Now, after almost 30 years of long wait, it gets the finishing touches for about another anniversary of the founding council of San Cristobal de La Havana on November 16, to reopen its doors . Through them no longer the evening breeze will run that earned it the reputation as the best ventilated facility in the capital. The building has been in tune with the times and will feature a two-sided woodworking: the outer, made of wood, preserve the original image while the indoor one, aluminum and glass ensure tightness demanded by the new HVAC and sound systems. A novelty will also be the automated grill for scenic mechanics and equipment to prevent fires. As in other works of this kind executed by the Office of...

Isaac Delgado

Isaac Delgado: Singing to my people and to my country

This Saturday Isaac Delgado (Havana, 1962) has returned to the United States but the one who writes could bet that he had a Good Friday he will not forget: after 7 years of absence he sang again in Cuba. Invited by Silvio Rodríguez, the sonero-troubadour went up the solid, sober and itinerant scaffold mounted in Correa and San Indalecio streets, in Santos Suárez, and intoned that memorable Necesito una amiga, that it connected it immediately with the public. “Thanks for the company and to Silvio, for the love”, he said to the public who spontaneously approached the place with a mixture of surprise and happiness. “He did not want me to sing any of his songs but this time I will not pay him attention”, he said and they began the chords of: Quien Fuera? He was accompanied by the counter bassist Jorge Reyes, the percussionist Oliver Valdés and, in the piano, Cucurucho (Roberto Carlos Rodríguez), from Van Van. That was followed by Solar de California (“ I keep on being a barrio guy ”, he confessed with certain touch of nostalgia) and closed his brief but unforgettable presentation with the world premiere of Cubanos, that with salsa rhythm describes...

An Outstanding Cuban Musician

Photo: Reno Massola A Cuban composer of the twentieth century stands out among others, regardless of vanguards, currents and modernity, and has built a work on which holds much of the Cuban piano heritage. This is Alfredo Diez Nieto (Havana, 1918) "pianist, orchestra conductor, composer and teacher" as he defines himself.