Cuban Folk Musician Irina Gonzalez: Communion with the Earth

Musical bridge from Cuba

Osmel Almaguer

Irina Gonzalez. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Irina Gonzalez (Santa Clara, Cuba, 1986) is a young and talented folk musician who stands out both for her mastery of several instruments and the poetic sensitivity she evinces in her lyrics. She graduated as an oboe-player, but she also plays the flute, the harmonica, the piano, percussion instruments and – of course – the guitar.

She has been an arranger at several concerts, next to other musicians from her generation. She has participated at important music events around the country, such as the Longina de Santa Clara, the Romerias de Mayo (held in Holguin) and others.

She was a member of the Aire y Madera (“Air and Wood”) duo and is now part of the El Gato Negro y la Loca Cebra (“The Black Cat and the Mad Zebra”) ensemble. She has yet to record any albums.

Peasant Girl

When the afternoon seeps into my cup of tea / everything seems to spin around me and put on an act / but the magic consumes the drops of my faith / love, I’ve been waiting for you since before yesterday.

When the afternoon tip-toes away / the house despairs and I lose myself again / but my eyes look for you, no matter where you may be / the night blocks up our paths.

Sprite, come to my lair and I will make you happy / feel the thirst of my body that cries for you / child, even the weeds cry out without your light / come back, for the grass dies if you don’t walk by.

My voice dies out as I put out my wish to see you / the sensible dawn breaks, fearful / while the sun rises saying that, yes / you will come with a flower in your pants.

Oh, if you don’t hurry, the river will envelop my soul / the ground will take the beating of my heart, and the seeds will be my end.

How could one not be seduced, how could one not wish to be that sprite, when this woman awaits at home, with desires that inspire her and make her suffer? Songs and poems make use of a language that daily mediocrity tends to censor. The images woven with these lyrics, the way the author carefully chooses her words, how everything meshes together, is simply delicious. The arrival of the night enters into a kind of symbiosis with the coffee, and everything seems to swirl about us.

The personification of the house and the afternoon reveal the restlessness of this woman, that devilish mixture of tenderness, nostalgia and passion that leads to an imaginary state, a place where everything is possible.

The house is once again the home that awaits (the sprite), the grass and earth fuse with the body and become a part of it, and the whole of this woman cries out – something ends, goes to sleep and is reborn every day with the rising sun, for the sprite is absent for far too long.

She waits for him, confident he will come, sure of his love but certain that she will wither if he never returned. She awaits a beautiful death, a philosophically meaningful act of communion with the whole of the earth, with the universe, with the constant dying and rebirth of everything that exists.