Irina Echarry, Photos: Caridad 

Kelvis Ochoa

HAVANA TIMES, July 26 — Once again, the “Arte en la Rampa” arts fair is offering shoes, fans, leather and knitted wallets, summer dresses, necklaces and earrings, among so many other crafts.

For only three pesos (about 12 cents USD) one can enter Pavilion Cuba to look at these products by local artisans.  But if you have a lot of money and the desire to spend it, you can also buy things.

A woman passing by the tables with a look of distrust asked a vendor if the handbag she was selling was full of gold, to which the saleswoman responded: “If you don’t want it, don’t buy it.”  The shopper then replied, “It’s not a question of wanting but being able to pay.”

For many the prices are way too high, but others buy almost without thinking about the costs.

On Friday, July 22, many people showed up at this same place for another reason: a concert by Kelvis Ochoa and Descemer Bueno.

The two composers and singers, united by years of friendship, interacted with a mostly young audience well versed in their songs.

One fan, Cecilia, couldn’t hide her enjoyment: “I love Kelvis. I know almost all of his songs by heart.  But to tell the truth, what I like about Descemer are his lyrics.  His voice and his way of singing don’t really move me that much, but his words are great.” 

Decemer Bueno

Then there was Leonardito, from the Cojimar neighborhood, who came to the pavilion because it was an inexpensive alternative: “There’s nowhere else you can go and only pay three pesos for admission and also hear live music.  I don’t care deal if it’s not the music I prefer, I can’t afford 50 pesos to go someplace else.  I come here with my friends and I enjoy this just the same.  These people perform great.  It’s a good option for the poor.  Let’s hope other artists come, groups like Hipnosis or Tendencia.  I like rock, but “El submarino Amarillo” (The Yellow Submarine) is too expensive for me and clubs like Cafe Cantante and even El Maxim have become expensive.

Although for some people the musical styles of Descemer and Kelvis aren’t their absolute favorites, the concert maintained a positive atmosphere because most people were there for those artists.

Young people of different ages who like traditional son and trova fused with contemporary sounds in the style of the two artists.

In addition to singing their older hits, they premiered the song “Siete dias,” composed by the two of them for a movie.  The author of “La natilla” wrapped the audience around his finger with his grace and musicality, while Descemer encouraged the crowd to sing along.

The darkness gradually arrived but the public barely realized it.  It was a different type of afternoon at Pavilion Cuba, one that we hope is repeated.  People forgot about the outlandish prices of the crafts and the suffocating heat – they simply enjoyed the music.

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