Gabriel Guerra Bianchini
You might say Silvio Rodríguez turned the artist he’s at this time at age 12, when his dwelling nation’s dictatorship was overthrown within the Cuban Revolution. Through the years, Rodríguez’s unwavering help of the revolution drew intense criticism from the Cuban exile group, however social activism has at all times been a part of his songs. Generations throughout Latin America have been impressed by the poetry and politics of the Cuban musician’s lyrics.
Now, Rodríguez has launched an album that is each private and political. It is referred to as Para la espera — “For the Wait.”
For the previous 10 years, Rodríguez has been performing free live shows in a number of the poorest neighborhoods of Cuba. He calls it the Infinite Tour.
“That spirit of sharing tradition comes from my technology of troubadours. We used to go sing in all places: factories, faculties, barrios and prisons,” Rodríguez says. “The Infinite Tour began when a policeman knocked on my door inviting me to the barrio he cared for, referred to as ‘The Necktie.’ We continued doing it and we have finished 108 live shows.”
Rodríguez’s technology got here collectively in 1967 and shaped a motion referred to as La Nueva Trova Cubana, or The New Cuban Troubadours. Songs like “Ojalá” handled all the elements of being in a relationship: love and ache, pleasure and unhappiness. “La Maza” is a declaration of ideas for being an artist. To Rodríguez, the songs are self-explanatory: “Many instances they’re sudden emotions that create songs — phrases simply come to me in a second. And that is why it is laborious to elucidate them.”
A legend like Rodríguez is a tough act to observe. Fifty-year-old Kelvis Ochoa comes from the technology after the Cuban singer.
“He is one of many nice Latin American poets,” Ochoa says. “He is written so many songs, lots of them are so good. It is overwhelming, it is means past our attain.”
Singer and composer David Byrne is one other Rodríguez fan, and refers back to the artist’s lyrics as impressionist, summary and political. Within the early Nineties, the Talking Heads frontman licensed Cuban music along with his accomplice and launched it on their Luaka Bop label. The releases included an album of Rodríguez’s best hits, a set of 12 Byrne-selected songs that turned their largest vendor.
“What actually shocked me was that Silvio, regardless of being as well-liked as he’s in Latin America, had by no means had a best hits report,” Byrne says. “Possibly he thought this was a sort of crass factor, and he thought the sort of industrial factor that solely North People would do, however he’d by no means finished it. However he agreed to do it with us. I feel he may need been pondering that, and rightly, that we have been going to introduce him to an viewers that in any other case might not have heard his music, and there is some reality to that.”
Over the previous 50 years, Rodríguez has recorded 24 albums. Earlier than pandemic-related shutdowns, he was engaged on a brand new one with a big group of musicians. After seeing what others have been doing, he determined to convey again the troubadour and resume manufacturing.
“I began seeing messages, songs, even live shows on the web, so I considered taking a number of the songs I’ve already composed — which weren’t within the different report I used to be engaged on — and I started to prepare the fabric and provide it to individuals, as a means to assist them cope in the course of the pandemic.”
His efforts resulted in Para la espera. The that means of the album’s title is twofold: Rodríguez says it alludes to the uncertainty of the pandemic and to the practically two-decade await the discharge of the Cuban 5, intelligence officers arrested within the U.S. who grow to be nationwide heroes.
Rodríguez’s music has now been a part of the soundtrack of life in Cuba, and all through Latin America, for greater than 50 years. However the musician says he is at all times attempting to look ahead.
“I am a person of hope. I am a person who believes sooner or later, above all as a result of I am from this nation and since we’ve got this individuals,” he says. “We’re not good, however we’re combative and hopeful. I am a part of all of this.”
LaTesha Harris tailored this story for the Internet.