Sweet Lizzy Project and Frank Fernandez in Yellow Submarine: an Exclusive Affair?

Inside, tables were taken by guests from the government elite.

By Virginia Valdes

The Yellow Submarine venue in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — We found out that the rock band Sweet Lizzy Project would be playing at the Yellow Submarine along with piano maestro Frank Fernandez via a commercial on the headlining news on the Cubavision channel.

Something unheard of, in fact, because the pianist would be dabbling for the first time with a genre that has been harshly criticized, undervalued for decades, not to say what the whole world knows: it smells of rebellion.

In short, people got excited and they went there really happy. I took a risk to see if I could get in…

It was supposedly going to open at its regular hours at 2 PM, as the group had been invited to play from 5 PM onwards. It didn’t open at this time. At 3 PM, the queue looked like a never-ending snake and people kept on coming and taking their place in the line, hopeful, while they excitedly spoke about it going to be a great duo, and bla bla bla…

However, the reality was that, inside, the tables had been taken by guests from the government elite, such as the First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who was comfortably sat down to enjoy the show, according to its artistic director Guille Vilar,.

There were also foreigners there who paid 5 CUC each, instead of the 50 CUP or 2 CUC that Cubans were paying. The few people that managed to get in from the queue had to pay 4 CUC each. What cheek!

The Sweet Lizzy Project at the beginning of the concert.

It began to pour with rain suddenly and a part of the queue ran for cover while the rest remained firm in their spots looking like wet cats. A while later, we were told that the venue was full.

A lot of people left cursing, saying that this had all been a hoax. So, why did they tell people on the news, to make fun of people? Other people laughed it off and ironically said that no news given on the menticiero (mentira + noticiero – lying news) was true.

While this concert was unexpected, why didn’t they hold it in John Lennon Park, next to the music venue, so that everyone who wanted to go could, like they did with the Sgt. Pepper tribute to The Beatles.

On this occasion, rock music was exclusive, but there is still a lot to be said about this subject. There are lots of different stories, from checking lyrics in Spanish of Cuban rock bands, the police breaking fans’ records in the street, to reprisals at concerts with the ensuing arrests of the “trouble-makers”.

There are whole books, articles that tell us the history of this genre on our island. One day, justice will be served.

One thought on “Sweet Lizzy Project and Frank Fernandez in Yellow Submarine: an Exclusive Affair?

  • Frank Fernandez plays beautifully and I admire that, but like many supporters of the regime, Frank certainly doesn’t live on $20 per month.

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