Some Music and Garbage Belong in the Same Bag

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.

Miguel Arias

Miguel Arias Sánchez: I was born in Regla in 1949. That’s where I went to elementary and high school. Afterwards I took courses to be a teacher and did that for several years. I did my military service and as soon as I got out I studied formally to be a teacher graduating at the University of Havana. I taught in classrooms for nearly 20 years. I had the opportunity to travel and see another reality. I returned and am currently doing different self-employed activities.

2 thoughts on “Some Music and Garbage Belong in the Same Bag

  • February 1, 2017 at 11:17 am

    “… And I ask myself: What is the Ministry of Culture doing?…”

    Typical Cuban response, same as Bible-belt nutbars in the US: Support for government censorship regarding the arts.

    It’s fine to hate it, it’s fine to not support it, it’s fine to voice any opinion whatsoever… but supporting government censorship is ridiculous.

  • January 31, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Well done…bien hecho.!!i am a canadian who is married to a cuban lady and i love your story as i will never understand how the regatone genre has replaced the traditional cuban music…most tourists /extranjeros loath this type of music and if they could understand the words they would hate it even more.the law in cuba states that after every live show the d j must play 20 min of a music called casino…it is a trifle difficult to dance to but a joy to watch the couples who know how….not many do so they all wait patiently untill the 20 min of casino is finally over and then they all rise as one and dance to the rigatone…if a woman cannot find a man to damce with she will take a chair out to the dance floor and proceed to shake shake shake her behind to the rythem of the song….it is disrespectfull…..lewd and obscene….to be honest i like dancing a few songs with regatone maybe even three but to hear it for hours without one song in salsa or bashata or meringue or other genres of traditional cuban music is for me boring BUT it suits the cuban people because they do not need to learn he dance steps just make obscene gestures with thier body .the men ,and they are all men who record this garbage just need a pair of sun glasses and bad lyrics.its time for the cuban government to make an effort to supress this rigatone…the tourist come to cubs to hear good cuban music…NOT THIS GARBAGE

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