Cuban Singer Yusa Making Waves

Osmel Almaguer

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 3 — The young Cuban artist Yusa is growing in impact both on and off the island. A singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, she plays guitar, bass, keyboard and percussion.

In her compositions, she “moves from one genre to another” as the timbres and rhythms harmoniously blend “funk, jazz, rap, and soul,” while she yet “retains her African and the Caribbean heritage.”

Her solid musical training began at the age of six, when she started studying guitar at the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Elementary School. She later attended the Music Conservatory where she focused on the study of the “tres,” a slightly smaller version of the guitar, but with three pairs of strings.

She has recorded the albums Yusa (2002), Breath (2004), Respire (2005), Haiku (…). In 2003 she won the Cubadisco Prize in the fusion category, and internationally was “awarded World Music awards by BBC Radio 3 in two categories (“Best Newcomer” and “Best of the Americas”).


Oh, I don’t know / how to bring out / that beating in me / if you look at it / the night ends / and it ties you to the center.

Throw some dirt / on the occasion / that along the path will make you lose your way before dawn / and give a whirl whirl whirl whirl / to the ideas that have a red light in your head. / Be careful that modernity doesn’t use you / like a piece of clothing


It’s a short composition that the singer repeats twice during the track. It’s a sort of minimalist message that starts from a mood and becomes a suggestion for everyone who listens to the song, but especially for a supposed character in the song or the essence that somehow interacts with her, who disappoints her and inspires her.

Yusa. Photo: Caridad

Like most works of art, this stems from a conflict. Its nature, seems to lose importance here, as the author reacts to the “beating” that she carries within herself, without stopping to explain further.

Whatever the character of that “throwing some dirt on it,” so you don’t lose the way, the idea is that the essential meaning of life is not lost on trivialities.

Yusa is committed to realizing all those ideas that always get stuck in one’s head thanks to the paralyzing effect of fear.

Nor in this case does she stop to enumerate or to think about possible exceptions that morality or a sense of humanitarianism would censure. She just does it – period.

But be careful, because although such follies are fashionable these days, there’s a good chance you could become the victim of this whole game.

Finally, the instrumental part of the song deserves applause. There’s much rhythm shown in the playing of the acoustic guitar, bass and percussion. It has a jazz beat accompanied by the other musicians from the band Interactivo.

The music and lyrics complement each other, because the simplicity of the lyrics helps keep the focus on the music, and this in turn reinforces the moods that the author wants to suggest.