If Vivaldi were Cuban

By Osmel Almaguer

 The 1980s are so distant that I store them away in my long-term memory.
The 1980s are so distant that I store them away in my long-term memory.

May is the month of rain on the island, but it’s also the time of year when the temperature shoots up, like in the springtime of countries whose seasons are clearly defined.

If Vivaldi had been born in today’s Cuba, we would not know his paradigmatic work The Four Seasons; rather, he would have probably composed something called The Two Seasons.

Instead of the violin, perhaps he would have grabbed a conga drum – substituting his 18th century Italian vigor for today’s Caribbean freshness – to play to the constant flow of people circulating to and from our endless beaches.

If it’s true that people are shaped and respond according to the environment that surrounds them, then I have no doubt of the affinity a hypothetical Cuban Vivaldi would have for that cultural backdrop – so ingrained and necessary – that is our beaches.

Imagining a Cuban Vivaldi, photo: wikimedia commons
Imagining a Cuban Vivaldi, photo: wikimedia commons

Speaking generically is always to lump many individuals of the same species into a single category, but I myself fall in among those who love go to our beaches, because since I was a kid my parents took me there.

That was in the 1980s, a different historical time. The country was full of buses and taxis, which in turn always had full gas tanks and the drivers were willing to take people where they needed to go.

The beaches were clean, because although there was a less developed consciousness of urban hygiene, certainly there was less garbage dumped into the water, and community service employees did their jobs (maybe because they had the incentive and desire, qualities rarely seen today).

Those times have been left behind; they are so distant that I store them away in my long-term memory. Otherwise I’d always be making comparisons, and that’s not healthy, because the two times hardly resemble each other.

It’s better to compose a piece, as did Vivaldi, or an instrumental, as does Chucho Valdes, or some kind of poem, because it’s not healthy to walk around criticizing too much.


Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

One thought on “If Vivaldi were Cuban

  • June 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Osmel Almaguer, you write and express yourself very well. Re: “it’s not healthy to walk around criticizing too much.” You are also a very wise man. I admire your knowledge of Vivaldi.


Comments are closed.