Musical bridge from Cuba*

Osmel Almaguer

Amaury Pérez. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Jan. 12 – Amaury Perez is an emblematic figure of Cuban song. A composer par excellence, as he himself said several years ago, “I don’t consider myself a singer, I just sing the songs I write because I need to.”

Amaury began his career immersed in the Nueva Trova Movement, from which he was marginalized for a while. Those were difficult times for him, and though he “stopped writing and performing publicly,” he didn’t resign from his vocation.

He is the son of two notable figures of Cuban culture: his father was Amaury Perez, a prominent worker at the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT), and his mother was the actress and television host Consuelo Vidal.

He started at the bottom as an assistant sound engineer at the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), which was long before recording his first solo album: “Acuerdate de abril” (Remember April).

The 1990s left Amaury with a harvest four albums, among which were the outstanding and very popular “Encuentros”, and “Eternidad” with poems by Dulce Maria Loynaz set to music. Since the end of that decade he also dabbled as an actor in a few Cuban films.

September 20, 2009 was a memorable day in the life of this singer-songwriter. This was when took place the concert “Paz sin fronteras”(Peace Without Borders), in which he not only participated, but also coordinated much of it with his friends Juanes and Miguel Bose.

It’s said that his CD “No lo van a impedir” (They Aren’t Going to Stop It) “is a masterpiece of music, 100 percent perfect, with the participation of the group Synthesis, which give it an impressive musical touch.”

His discography includes the albums Acuerdate de abril (1976); Poemas de Marti cantados por Amaury Perez (1978); A pesar del otoño, creceremos (1979); No lo van a impedir (1979); Abecedario (1982); Caricias (1985); Mitades (1985); De vuelta (1987), Estaciones de vidrio (1989); Confesiones (1990); Encuentros (1993); Retratos de navidad (1994); Licencias de otoño (1996), Amor dificil (1998); Equilibrio (1999); Eternidad (1999); Solo en Septiembre (2000); Algo en comun (2001); Muy personal. 30 años de canciones;  Trovador (2003); Juglar (2004), Los duos (2006); Aguas revisitadas (2007), and Bardo (2009).

Amaury Pérez. Photo: Caridad

Hacerte venir(Making You Come to Me)
CD: Amor dificil

If I could carry you away hidden to wherever I go / and give you all the rain of a gray day, / make you fall in love whispering / when not even the wind could hear me, / if I could, from where I am … / make you come to me.

If I could find room and love you here, / disrobing the many hours of quietness, saving the immensity of that scent / the end of January still to come, / if I could, from where I am … / make you come to me.

If I could make haste and see the ocean, / outlining the unreality of your existence, / gathering breath and loneliness / when what is forgotten must leave.

If I could from where I am, / Oh my love, make you come to me / to light up the city and the sun / with gestures of a storm, / if I could, from where I am / hurriedly returning to the sea.

If I could drown the wind, the dampness, / offering to save the kiss I chose, / to feed the clarity of hope, / still unstained, if I could from where I am … / Make you come to me.

If I could drown thirst, age / your voice, to again win your love / with what is left to say, / in one fell swoop to unite my anxiety / with the soft curve of your feelings.

If I could, from where I am, / Oh my love, make you come to me / there would be no burning to overcome, / or bandoliers of consent; / if I could, from where I am, / Oh my love, make you come to me / to light my fire of dignity, / to lose the place for pretending.

If I could, from where I am, / Oh my love, make you come to me, / to have your mouth and your heart / when the desire makes me want to boil; / if I could, from where I am, / Oh my love, make you come to me / if I could, from where I am , / and love … make you come to me!

This song is not only a superbly written poem — without smudges or seams, though with much sweat — it is also rich in sensitivity. The author was in his twenties when he composed it. The song embodied his views and his feelings about love and distance. He spoke of the presence one achieves by being loved when they are far away.

Those were times of great passion, marked by the separation of perhaps thousands of parents from their children as the adults marched off to fulfill international missions in countries such as Angola, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, etc.

But all of that, though it was in his consciousness, or perhaps in Amaury’s subconscious, remains in the background. Here, the artist is responsible for maintaining us in a state of levitation, one in which all the words, verses, prayers seem to have fallen from heaven itself. They become timeless, thus achieving a truly universal condition.

Though it is sung with intensity, an intensity with which the lyrics imply, I particularly enjoyed the lyrics of this topic more when I read them. Was it because this was more of a poem than a song? We know that most members of the different generations of Cuban trova have talent as poets. This is one of the main features of the movement.

This is “Trilce” (bitter sweetness), as the poet Vallejo would say. This song strikes me as “Trilce.”

(*) 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.


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