‘Seeing Things Where No One Sees Them’

Musical Bridge from Cuba*

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — Aliesky Perez is one of those folk singers who keep alive the essence of their art. With his backpack and guitar in hand, he doesn’t hesitate to embark on a journey to share his music with audiences in the most diverse places across Cuba.

From his native westernmost province of Pinar del Rio to the  far east of the island, passing through central Matanzas, where he now lives, or riding a catamaran to shoot over to the Isla de la Juventud, the entire alligator-shaped island is his for his nourishment and interaction.

His lyrics stand out for their beauty and profoundness, reaching out to touch deep within those who hear them, as does his critical and astute spirit.

From a musical standpoint, “His compositions have influences of jazz, rock, reggae, Brazilian rhythms, flamenco and other genres, achieving a particular fusion in his search for an authentic and contemporary language.”

In his career, according to Leandro Manuel Ibarra, “A young man dedicated himself to songs of commitment, telling the story of his generation, but without deceptive traps or gimmicks.”

He began as a singer in 2007 when he moved to Matanzas the “Athens of Cuba.” His joined the trio “Miscelanea” and was invited to the 3rd Provincial Gathering of Troubadours, a project sponsored by “Suerte de Cangrejos” in the city of Cardenas.

As a member of that group, he composed for two plays by the La Proa theater troupe (“Cenicienta” and “Aventura con el televisor”) and he participated in music competitions in which he received significant recognition.

He worked on an amateur basis with the band “Pelayo y su Iya,” playing the trumpet, and he has shared the stage with troubadours Raul Torres, Erick Mendez, Tony Avila, Geraldo Alfonso, Diego Gutierrez, Adrian Berazaín, Rey Montalvo, Carlo Fidel Taboada and the group Moncada.

Currently he leads and directs the program “Entre col y col” in Matanzas, and he’s a member of the Asociacion Hermanos Saiz.

Song:Reptil propio” (My Own Reptile)  Demo CD: “A contra viento” (Against the Wind)

My reality is disguised by old shortcomings / and the nostalgia seems greater than God. / From the other side of the wall I look straight at him, / when I was little I learned to live with courage.

Red blooded, my parents dreamed of their land, / a dream that with it was brought / passion and pain. / If my parents returned for just one second / I would have to ask forgiveness, on my  knees.

And we must find our revolution / in a heartbeat that lives hidden deeply in our chests. / Today I have to shoot, firing at will. An alligator that seems scared and overcome, looks at me from behind. / An alligator that seems / asleep.

Chorus:

Green crocodile with (good) intentions / with morals of a noble future, / where was it that you left your reasons? / Where was it that you preferred to die?

Green crocodile with (strange) illusions / with a moral of a double future, / where was it that your songs were left? / Where was it that you preferred to die?

Although I seem lost in my time / one detail, / might save what I follow / and what I dream of becoming. / I was told that the story one desires is to know that one can. / The thorny rose cries to me / it isn’t only pain.

Tenacity should be what shows us the way, / it gives a version of itself to confuse us. / Today it’s on us to look with the finest and friendliest eye, / beyond my strength I’ve run to reach you.

And we must find our revolution / in a heartbeat that lives hidden deeply in the ground. / Today I have to shoot, firing at will, at an alligator that seems scared and overcome, looking at me from behind. / An alligator that seems scared and sleeping, looks at me, quietly. / My alligator…

Chorus:

Green crocodile with (dual) intentions / with morals of a noble future, / where was it that your songs were left? / Where was it that you preferred to die?

Green crocodile with illusions / with morals of a noble future, / where was it that your songs were left? / Where was it that you preferred to die?

Obviously, this is an ode to Cuba, but not a eulogy devoid of objectivity. Rather, it’s a poem full of love and pain, a summary of what we’ve been in these years of revolution.

Aliesky Perez

It reflects the reality of life from a moral but also historical standpoint. It speaks of values ??that turn against us, of good but dual intentions, and of strange illusions.

It also speaks of a reality disguised with old shortcomings, because it’s incredible — but true — that we still haven’t overcome certain problems, and that on top of this we use them like levers to rally people, evading the difficulties of our lives.

The lines contrast this with the story of the rose. Here, focusing on sacrifice for a specific purpose, he believes that beauty too is possible.

Despite his youth, Aliesky reveals a solid ethical foundation. It forms a part of him, as does his wisdom and intuition.

Integrally, he’s someone who knows what’s at stake. He doesn’t accept injustices; instead he puts his guitar at their disposal, his own rifle for finding that revolution within all of us.

“Reptil propio” is that song of commitment. He doesn’t fill it with banalities. He knows and fulfills his role in the historical context to which he belongs, and does this with beauty and sensitivity.

Full of “Cubania,” he sings to his crocodile, that reptile that we too carry in our hearts in some way. It’s the one we helped build and which is unique but diverse.

Aliesky Perez isn’t a crocodile hunter looking to take advantage of his situation. He’s just trying to find what was lost, what was good and noble when our red blooded parents dreamed of the earth beneath our feet.
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(*) 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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