Miguel Arias Sanchez
HAVANA TIMES — I don’t have anything against music, on the contrary, ever since I was little I used to sit and listen to music on the radio, especially romantic ballads. I used to dream away while listening and that made me feel better and happy. My father was a violin player and I was very much in touch with the music scene at home. My passion for music hasn’t reduced over time.
There are amazing well-known musicians both in Cuba and abroad, who enjoy great admiration and respect because of the music they make, be that pop, classical, romantic, etc.
However, singers and bands have popped up recently which, far from exalting the Cuban music which is enjoyed the world over, only humiliate and impoverish it. When we hear a reggaeton track with some lyrics which don’t really say anything or another group singing songs with lyrics that leave a lot to be desired like: moan so we can hear it, I’ll give it to you just like you like it, grab it for me mami and others which aren’t understood in a society which proclaims education, fine and decent tastes. These lyrics and songs are quite simply a pile of garbage and a huge lack of respect for all those people who have put Cuban music on an honorable pedestal in the world.
And I ask myself: What is the Ministry of Culture doing? Or those responsible for spreading and taking care of music and lyrics which don’t only reach adults, but children who are listening to such things from an early age?
In a recent interview with pianist/composer Frank Fernandez, he said and I quote: “what’s going on with music today is a great cause for concern and we have to do something so that good Cuban music isn’t lost.”
Whoever is responsible for doing this, I’m not sure; but what I don’t understand is that there are other singers who aren’t being promoted, whose music isn’t being spread, who aren’t even occasionally being called to sing a beautiful song on TV, a song which provokes an emotion or passes on a message, like what true songs used to do.
And then you have four people who get up on a stage and sing obscenities and they’re being applauded, their music is being spread and they’re given a trip abroad as a prize so they can take such garbage and perform it internationally.
What would Benny More, to name an irreplaceable figure in the history of Cuban music, and many others who have put Cuba’s name at the top, have to say?
When good music, whether it’s a bolero, a ballad or any rhythm, is made to a high quality, with taste and love, it reaches people who listen gratefully. Che used to say, on many occasions, that quality is a sign of respect for the people and so it’s not about making music to make music, or earning money (which is also important) or about getting onto a plane to bring back suitcases of junk.
It’s about making music that can be listened to, enjoyed and which continues to be real Cuban music, the kind which has made millions of people dance and so many others listen, enjoy and experience it the world over, to satisfy and make all of Cuba and every Cuban wherever they are, proud.