A Deluxe Gift

Jorge Milanes Despaigne

Rock concert in Havana Photo: Caridad

“We’re going to the Alamar Cultural Center?  Today a rock group is playing that maybe you’re familiar with; they’re called ‘The Kents,’” announced my friend and classmate.

When hearing that name, my mind traveled back quickly to the past.  It was almost impossible to believe that it was the same group that had drove me crazy dancing in the 1980s.  I immediately responded, “In the ‘70s and ‘80s that was one of the favorite groups of young rock fanatics in Havana.  There was nobody in Cuba that could top them.”

So, we hopped on the bus and went.  We got there at around eight o’clock in the evening, when there were already some of the members of the legendary group, who we spoke with.

“Your guys’ drummer, I don’t see him.  Where is he?” I asked.

“Ringo, the origin drummer, died in the United States, and the other one retired,” a member of the group answered.

A half hour later, the group broke the silence with one of the numbers that marked an epoch: “Pretty Woman,” sung in this case by Willy, who was still the lead singer.

“He’s really maintained the same force and dynamism, and with a repertoire that’s worthy of admiring for the level of performance, even if the numbers aren’t his own,” I commented to my friend.

Then “Rolling on the River,” by the Creedence Clearwater Revival, was another hit in the room full of young people who chanted along euphorically.  Despite it not being a recent song, it was indeed contemporary.  We also heard “Nacido en mi Barrio,” another famous tune of that time.

I hadn’t enjoyed a live rock group for a long time, and much less one from my youth.  It was really a deluxe gift, a trip to through golden music.