HAVANA TIMES — Nearly all news coverage dealt with the May Day rallies, and we didn’t receive the sad news until the evening. The first day of the year’s fifth month became another terrible day for Cuban music. Juan Formell leader of Los Van Van, passed away one year ago and, on the same day this year, Lucia Huergo, one of the most notable figures of Cuban music, left the scene forever.
A teacher to an entire generation of instrument players, Lucia was an excellent composer, arranger, saxophonist, producer and digital programmer. She was also a renowned performer who played the flute, soprano saxophone, oboe, clarinet and keyboard like a virtuoso. She was always praised by critics and musicologists.
Though she produced mostly jazz music, she delved into other music genres from the 1970s to the present. She was part of such bands as La Orquesta de Octavio Sanchez (“Octavio Sanchez’ Orchestra”), Franco Lagana’s band, Sonido Contemporaneo (“Contemporary Sounds”), Mezcla (“Mix”), Amaury Perez Vidal’s band and Sintesis (“Synthesis”).
As jazz isn’t massively consumed, her work with Sintesis may be what most people remember. She brought classics such as Mereguo, Asoyin, Barasuayo, Echubelekeo and Eyeleo to Cuba’s music world, combining African music with the language of jazz and rock.
She also composed soundtracks for films (such as Peter Pan, a documentary by Estela Bravo) and television (the soap opera Las huerfanas de la Obra Pia, “The Orphans of Obra Pia”).
She received standing ovations in Panama, Argentina, Venezuela, the United States, Spain, Germany and other countries. She shared the stage with many renowned musicians, such as Argentina’s Fito Paez, Brazil’s Denis de Kalaf and Puerto Rico’s Jose Feliciano, to name only a few.
Her albums include Sintesis’ Hilo Directo (“Straight Road”) and Ancestros (“Ancestors”), where she composed and performed, Sinfonia Hemingay (“Hemingway Symphony”), where she composed and synthesized music, Amaury Perez (arranger and orchestrator) and Heidi Igualada’s Serenata (direction and arrangements).
She worked on other albums next to Teresita Fernandez, Marta Valdes, Miriam Ramos, Xiomara Laugart, Sara Gonzalez, Lazaro Ross, Enrique Corona and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, among others.
In her last years, she conducted electronic music demonstrations at Spain’s SGAE headquarters in New York. In 1993, she set up her own recording studio.
On May 1st, we said goodbye to this great musician, born in Havana on November 17, 1951, who left this world, leaving us her creations for all eternity.