Musical Bridge from Cuba*
HAVANA TIMES, April 23 — Versatile and charismatic, Arema Negussie Arega, is a young promise of Cuban music who is almost ready to explode as a supernova. After studying music and visual arts, she composes much of what she sings, although I’ve also heard her perform songs in English.
The lyrics of her songs retain a critical and lucid spirit, but they’re also deep and passionate, presenting a poetry that’s born from playing with language.
Her music is a mix that uses elements from several American styles such as soul, the blues, rock and pop – transporting them to a plane in which she demonstrates her undoubtedly Cuban but multicultural roots.
She has contributed musical compositions, lyrics and her voice to the production of several Cuban videos, and most recently to a primetime evening telenovela. In addition, her voice was used in the soundtrack of Ernesto Daranas’s feature film “Los Dioses Rotos” (2008).
Her live performances within the country have been confined mostly to small venues within the capital’s music scene and in the interior. Her songs have been widely broadcast. She has participated in several television musical programs, such as “Cuerda Viva,” which is dedicated to promoting young musical talent from the island.
As a visual artist she can point to several solo and group exhibitions. She has collaborated with illustrations for various serial publications like “La Gaceta” (UNEAC) and “Somos Jovenes” (Editorial April). She has also illustrated books such as Poesia completa de Jose Marti (Editorial Letras Cubanas) and Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Colección Ala de Colibri).
Outside of Cuba she has performed on stages in Italy, France and Spain, among other countries. Currently she lives in Madrid.
CD: My self y yo
Anything can happen / In this cruel life / Nothing is by chance / Neither distance / nor forgetting / nor departures without saying goodbye / Everything can be the same / And in the end nothing is the same / La la la… / We said a lot / What’s left? / What are we experiencing? / So many wants to silence / And loving / No more / Love means winning your heart
Don’t let yourself leave me / hold on to yourself without thinking / Without noticing that now you’re not here / This instant is my madness / Almost always you undress me / Even if you’re just a memory / I don’t care / I love you because I want to / Because of you I’m lost / Because of you I’m dying / You’re near / And you’re far away / Don’t ask / Because I can / sink / La la la…
Again we find ourselves before the spiritual expression of an individual who feels, thinks and hopes while life passes by. In the meantime, the world is presented in all its magnitude, with that coolness that suggests to us its logical aspects.
Faced with adversity, people tend to always try to find reasons. The being who suffers wants to know the cause of their discomfort. That’s why we think. And it’s precisely in this gesture that we can classify the motive for this composer, who in a few phrases offers, in a simple manner, very serious approaches to conceptualizing the world.
Passions of the heart are what usually give rise to the worst suffering in these relationships of attachment that we tend to establish with objects and people. “Because of you, I’m dying,” says Arema, and it seems that certain people would be willing to die because of the object of their passions, despite living in a postmodern era in which death is characterized more by economic or political causes, than by passion.
(*) A Musical Bridge from Cuba: This is an effort to find new bridges that promote communication between peoples of the diverse regions of the planet. I will be using simple narration in a series of articles to connect with those who are interested in the messages transmitted by Cuban songs, which due to their limited commercial potential and the difficulties posed by their translation, languish in a state of communicational stagnation – despite their being true jewels of Cuban culture.