Rocker Tanya Returns to the Cuban Music Scene

By Irina Pino

La rockera cubana Tanya

HAVANA TIMES — Tanya has returned to the Cuban rock scene, this time more mature, with better music arrangements, irreverent lyrics, romantic ballads, after two decades of not living on the island.

She was a solo artist in the ‘80s of Live Art, and then became a member of alternative rock band Monte de Espuma, led by the late musician Mario Daly. She showed up with her band last Sunday at the Casa de la Amistad, on rock band La Vieja Escuela’s regular night, in El Vedado.

The singer, composer and music arranger hopes to gradually introduce herself and her band back onto the music scene and have performed at venues such as El Sauce, at the Mella and Karl Marx theaters, as well as on other stages in Cuba’s interior.

She kindly, and a little hurriedly, accepted to give Havana Times this brief interview.

HT: How long have you been back in Cuba?

Tanya: I’ve officially been back for a year now, but I came several times before that. I started out with this band around this time.

HT: Any new songs?

Tanya: Yes, I have new songs now, some old ones, but rearranged, updated, I have made new arrangements for all my old songs and we’re going to play some things that people aren’t very familiar with, but those who have been to some concerts now are already catching onto them.

Tanya and her band.

HT: I know that you performed at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano.

Tanya: Yes, I was there a few months back, but there were several sound problems, in fact they shut it down, and we hope that when they open up again that they have a good sound system, and we can play again. [According their website the Fabrica will be open again as of June 1st].

HT: What’s your last album called?

Tanya: I have an album which is called En este pueblo, but this album hasn’t been promoted in Cuba, that is to say, this new album will come out I don’t know when, we’re in the works of getting everything ready, but I’m still not sure whether it will be released with the Egrem or Bis Music label.

HT: All the songs are in Spanish, of course.

Tanya: Yes, I sing everything in Spanish… there’s a bit of “I’m crazy right now” here and there, but that’s just a chorus.

HT: What happened to Mario Daly?

Tanya: May he rest in peace.

The audience in the Casa de la Amistad.

What do you think about today’s rock, it’s going through a bit of a bleak time, don’t you think? Cuban rock, I mean.

Tanya: Authentic rock, original rock, is going through quite a sad phase, some bands are trying to do things, but everything is too dull, because you know there are other music genres which are very powerful. However, I believe it’s a question of promoting it, playing and playing it, and having radio stations supporting it.

HT: And how do you feel?

Tanya: I feel really great, and especially for being able to be here, in my own habitat.

HT: Is there anything you would like to say to Havana Times readers?

Tanya: To Havana Times readers, a big hello from Cuba’s center of rock, the Casa de la Amistad, which I believe is the stronghold of rock in Havana right now; every Sunday with La Vieja Escuela, and today with Tanya and the band.  (END)

After the interview, Tanya and her band played some hard rock songs from her album En este pueblo as well as some old tracks such as Acorralada and Ese hombre esta loco. The audience was reluctant at the beginning and didn’t dance, but thanks to the buzzing sound of this group and Tanya’s still almighty voice, they slowly began to dance, to move about with real euphoria to her music and with joy because of the reencounter.

I’ll leave you with an anecdote (I don’t know whether it’s true or not): a girl who was at Tanya’s concert at the Fabrica told me that the sound system broke just as she began to sing: Ese hombre está loco… (This man is crazy…).

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