Descemer Bueno is a kind of music creation worker. The musician barely rests in his aim to take his music to all possible stages. Just a few months ago he made his debut in Argentina and has already imposed among his next destinations the conquest of the public of the South American country.
His first concert in Argentina was in La Trastienda, a well-known club of that country’s artistic circuit. There were two musicians in the audience who were carefully listening to his songs: Javier Calamaro, brother of the legend Andrés Calamaro, and Ulises Bueno. With the second he not only shares his last name, but also his desire to conquer, to expand.
Descemer’s songs have been heard in half the world, sung by him and by other international performers. In Argentina they are trickling in. There, Ulises is an icon of the genre called quartet, a mixture of ska, reggae, cumbia and fast rock and roll.
Ulises, brother of a musician, Rodrigo, who had his heyday and died almost 20 years ago when he was at the height of his popularity, set out to continue his legacy and defend a work that will last and not be dilapidated by time. And he has achieved it in a short time in which, as was said, he has become a very popular musician in his country’s native Córdoba.
The Argentine traveled to Cuba to collaborate with Descemer on the song “Eres mi peque,” a song that tells a love story with a contagious rhythm. They recorded it at Maykel Barzaga’s studios, and filmed the video clip at the Esencia Bar, in the capital’s Vedado district, this Tuesday night.
Descemer, who gave a concert this August 30 at the Karl Marx Theater in Havana, has great faith in the song. He emphasizes the fusion, the mixture of rhythms in the theme. That style of composing is already like a house brand. The author of “Bailando” has strengthened it over the years with his collaborations with artists of the most diverse types and scenes.
“From the moment I went to Argentina and I got on stage I saw that the public liked my music. I think the Argentines will value this work very much because they are very musical and they perceive everything carefully,” says Descemer to OnCuba in one of the breaks in the filming of the clip and affirms that the song will have a great impact thanks also to his South American colleague’s popularity.
“Anyone you meet on the street in Argentina knows him. He has given nine concerts at El Luna Park (a highly sought-after stage in Buenos Aires). He is an exponent of the quartet genre that I didn’t even know. I lived that experience when I sang there. This is his first audiovisual material despite having many followers,” says Descemer.
The former member of Yerba Buena has just finished the video. It is a colorful clip with girls dancing to the rhythm of that mixture of beats with the spirit of an infinite party, which are the songs of his current stage. The musician changes clothes. Then talks with the extras and models in the clip. He takes photos and hugs Ulises. The Argentine hugs him tight. Several photographers freeze the moment. Both are satisfied with the result. They celebrate it.
“Cuba and Argentina have a very special relationship, very spiritual. This song is a way to mix this type of organic music, without electronic elements. What is intended is to remove the quartet from its usual context and expand it,” explains the musician.
“There are many Argentines who live in the United States and come to Cuba. The tourism that comes to the island from Argentina is also impressive. Argentine rock has always been very well received in Cuba and artists like Silvio and Pablo are very dear there. But modern fusions like this one, rich in rhythms, between artists from both countries, are not known that I know of,” he adds.
Descemer remembers how he met Ulises. After that first moment they have apparently established a close friendship.
“Ulises was invited to the first concert I gave in Argentina in April. He came as did Javier Calamaro. The two loved the show and wanted to get on stage. I went to Córdoba to see how I could integrate the quartet into my musical world. I found many people interested in my work.”
Descemer’s curiosity has led him to explore this unique musical space. The bassist explains to OnCuba how the quartet has been integrated into his repertoire. This type of work is not new in his career, but the exploration of this genre is.
“One can play romantic music to dance to. It has it all. I have tried several times. It’s about playing a dance music fusion and organic support. The quartet has merengue, ska and we are putting everything together naturally,” he explains.
Descemer, who has collaborated closely with several of the most renowned exponents of urban music, surprises us when he says that that scene is exhausted, that he cannot understand the current context in which his representatives move. He talks about decadence, lack of creativity.
“People are looking for these fusions because urban music, in my opinion, has reached a saturation point that has nothing to offer society,” he says in an opinion that undoubtedly is controversial. And he concludes: “Urban music is in absolute decline. Everything is very similar not to say that everything sounds quite the same. For the first time in my life, I really don’t understand very well where this is going.”
The composer of successes like “Nos fuimos lejos” and “Súbeme la radio” confesses that he felt exhausted by all the effort required to bring Enrique Iglesias to Cuba. He even confirms that the idea of organizing a Spanish concert in Havana had been handled, but it could not be concretized.
“With ‘Súbeme la radio’ I thought it was going to be easier, but there’s always a reason for everything. Easy things are not something that one should contemplate in life. It doesn’t really make a difference. What makes a difference are the challenges. Among other projects, I set myself the challenge of bringing Enrique Iglesias to Cuba, to film with him here that clip and I was exhausted. I wouldn’t try to do it with him or anyone else again. My music is what matters to me,” he says.
Ulises Bueno: I hope to return to Cuba
Ulises Bueno is full of tattoos. For him the marks are like a map to find his own life. The images engraved on his body mostly have a very specific symbolism.
The Argentine was forced to suspend numerous shows to come to Havana. What he’s especially interested in with this trip is transcending the Argentine borders. After recording with Descemer, he announced that he will return with his band of 15 musicians to perform in August 2020 at the third edition of the Josone Festival, in Varadero.
“I’ve arrived in Cuba at the best moment of my career. We are playing in many places in Argentina. When I saw Descemer in La Trastienda we had very good chemistry. I invited him to my show in Córdoba so the Buenos could be together,” he jokes.
“The show,” he adds, “came out great and the possibility of recording in Cuba emerged. He is maturing in Argentina and all his music has just started being heard there. My intention is to transcend internationally with this collaboration and ensure that Descemer is fully inserted in my country’s market.”
The music that Ulises defends has many features in common with Caribbean and Cuban rhythms, he explains. “We have very similar things with the merengue, and the salsa and fusions are quite similar. Music connects us.”
His career was born in rock. As a teenager he listened to the Argentine classics and later added them to his repertoire.
“My roots are in rock and roll, a genre that I heard a lot as a teenager. The fusion in Argentina is very variable. My thing at the beginning was to play great rock hits with themes by the Indio Solari and other well-known figures of the genre. I feel very identified with that style. Our music began to transcend because of its fusion and has given us a very good result. We have imported the electric guitar and other instruments characteristic of the genre.”
Ulises lost his brother Rodrigo in a traffic accident when he was 15. Seven years before his father had died. To face these strong blows in life and carry out his career he has relied on his family and the unconditional support of his followers. The same support, he explains, that has allowed him to get out of addictions after really hitting rock bottom.
“I am going through a drug treatment to be able to get ahead and my musical family’s support has been very important to achieve it. Our public is so faithful and with such good energy that they give me the strength to continue fighting against this disease, thank God I am winning,” he confesses to OnCuba.
The musician will publish his new album in December. His record production is prolific and with this upcoming album he would already be exceeding the 20 albums in his career.
“We are already finishing recording. It will have 18 songs of our genre, the quartet, and we will include Descemer’s theme. Then we hope to present it in Cuba. We are really very satisfied with the collaboration and I hope to return here with my music.”