Cuban Folk Musician Yaima Orozco

Osmel Almaguer

Yaima Orozco.  Foto:
Yaima Orozco. Foto:

HAVANA TIMES — Yaima Orozco was born in the Cuban province of Santa Clara, where people seem to be born with a guitar on their hands. The city is an ideal place for folk music and poetry, boasting a venue, El Mejunje, that is renowned around the country.

Yaima is one of the best folk musicans of the wave of young musicians who have been making their way in the genre since the year 2000. Above all else, I would describe her as a woman whose beauty is difficult to contain, like a beam of light we hope to capture in our hands. Her light shines forth unfettered in the timbre of her voice, her graceful singing style and the melodious playing of her guitar.

She has participated in national events such as El Longina, the Romerias de Mayo, the International Book Fair and others. Her works are collected in the albums Como siento yo (“The Way I Feel, recorded live), La voz del Diablo Ilustrado (“The Voice of the Enlightened Devil”), Raspadura con ajonjoli (“Sesame Sweet”) and Todas para uno (“All for One”).

In 2009, she shared the stage with Diego Gutierrez at the Barnasan Singer-Songwriter Festival held in Barcelona, Spain.

Let Me Be

When the spell has blown over, I will raise the mast / for this month that made a mockery of February / and docked at my port.

If this ship survives, without capsizing at your shore / I will look after the seagulls of your sea.

And I will cry when we make love. / Like a fish, I swim in your sweat. / As you know, I am not crying out of pain, / but because you reach me like a color.

Today, I fear not for my life / though the tide rises, / I know that this month will treat me to wind and sand. / I chose to flow, / I will not capsize, / I will seek refuge in your chest, / and these words are my shield.

Today, I am anchored to your arms.

And I will cry when we make love. / Like a fish, I swim in your sweat. / As you know, I am not crying out of pain, / but because you reach me like a color,/ because you reach me like a color.

Yaima 2What could the color be? The color of love? The unfathomable blue of the sky or the green mixture of depth and reflection? “Let me be,” says this woman to her beloved. She wants to be a ship sailing through the open seas, without fear of capsizing, and, at the end of every journey, to rest at the shore, on the sand.

Could sand…be the color of love? She doesn’t know. She only knows she wants to be in both places at once, but time doesn’t let her. She prefers to have the sand be her inspiration while in the high seas, but dreams with the depths when she makes love. This woman cries, because she is growing up, and when she grows up, she feels everything like a color.

Much literature has been devoted to the issue of color, to the interpretations and workings of color. Cold, or, rather, fresh colors, prevail in this song, as do eminently Cuban and Caribbean colors.

Questions of transcendence, of personal realization, of life, death and value, play an important role in connection with the issue of love, appearing in the subtext or through words and images.

On occasion, the lyrics become pretentious and do not always achieve their aim. That said the song manages to convey its message and relies on a referent that, perhaps to the detriment of its originality, is fairly common in poetic tradition: the sea. Despite this, the piece manages to convey the personality of this woman, her inner world and her sensitivity – in short, her colors.