Cuba’s Band Buena Fe: A Personal Restrospective

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva

Buena Fe.

HAVANA TIMESI heard Cuba’s band Buena Fe for the first time when I was still in high school.

The teacher assigned to our classroom, one of the best intensively-trained, multi-subject high school teachers I have ever know was fascinated with their songs. As I recall we were the first students he ever taught.

Thanks to him, some of us, teenagers trying to unravel the mysteries of the highly unpopular video-lessons used at the time, took a quick liking to the band.

From that moment on, the duo from Cuba’s eastern province of Guantanamo began to treat us to song after song loaded with well-written and intelligent lyrics.

We would shower albums such as Dejame entrar (2001), Arsenal (2003), Corazonero (2004) and Presagios (2006) with praise, compare them to other works and occasionally criticize them in extra-curricular debates in which many students, and this teacher, participated.

I don’t recall when I became somewhat detached from Buena Fe, exactly. Perhaps it was when I discovered a whole sea of new sounds and musicians whom I had never even heard mention, who became something of an obsession for me.

The good reviews the band continues to get from the media and public, however, have encouraged me to keep abreast of their development as a band and their new productions.

In recent times, I have attended a number of their concerts (perhaps to settle some outstanding debts with myself) and have enjoyed some of their new, and not-so-new, numbers.

These concerts tend to instill audiences with positive feelings and hope, but I feel they should introduce more variety into the song selections they make for each, for their followers may find it a bit tiresome to have to sing the same numbers along with the artists again and again.

I noticed this was the case after attending three concerts, held at different points in time in the town of Guanabacoa, the steps of the University of Havana and (more recently) in Plaza Roja, in Havana’s neighborhood of 10 de Octubre.

There is really no need to sing the same songs over and over again, not when they have a veritable arsenal of good songs that move people as much as their big hits.

The lyrics written by Israel Rojas, the band’s lead singer, have gained in maturity and poetic profoundness with the course of time. He has managed to weave a multi-colored tapestry which captures social concerns and more universal human preoccupations that everyone can understand.

I wonder if my high school teacher, originally from Sancti Spiritus, a city in Cuba’s interior that he returned to shortly after we graduated (where I believe he still lives and works) still enjoys this excellent Cuban band and whether the duo still instills him with a passion for life, as it did at the beginning.

I hope this is the case. Hell, I’m sure it is.

Yanelys Nuñez

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva: Writing is to expose oneself, undress before the inquisitive eyes of all. I like to write, not because I have developed a real fondness for nudity, but because I love composing words, thinking of stories, phrases that touch, images that provoke different feelings. Here I have a place to talk about art, life, me. In the end, feeling good about what you do is what matters; either with or without clothing.