Santiago de Cuba Folk Artist Frank Rodriguez

By Helson Hernandez

Santiago de Cuba folk musician Frank Rodriguez
Santiago de Cuba folk musician Frank Rodriguez

HAVANA TIMES — Frank Rodriguez, a young folk musician from Santiago de Cuba, can already look back on a long and rewarding music career.

HT: Do folk musicians from Cuba’s eastern provinces have any distinctive peculiarities?

Frank: Yes, to the east, coffee tends to be stronger. The Caribbean and a wild mixture of traditions have given the region many traditions and a different music.

HT: Is moving to Havana a greater challenge than having a music career?

F: They go hand in hand.

HT: Why does a folk musician from Santiago de Cuba decide to travel across Cuba to move to Havana?

F: The capital offers unique opportunities. Changing our milieu is good for us as artists, you have to be willing to risk everything. It’s a path you have to trace for yourself with your own two feet.

HT: What are your folk music influences?

F: I listen to just about every kind of music. I draw from genres like jazz, Brazilian music, African music, son, traditional Cuban music, some Caribbean rhythms and, of course, folk music.

DSC_1553HT: What do your songs talk about?

F: Things having to do with the world around me and my experiences, the events that mark our everyday life: love, lack of love, the inexplicable.

HT: Did you study anything else besides folk music?

F: Yes, I graduated in Psychology at the University of Oriente.

HT: What albums or projects are you currently planning?

F: I finished my first album, an independent project I hope to sell through a label. It has ten of my pieces which blend genres such as son, boleros and traditional Cuban music. I’m satisfied with how it sounds, I feel happy listening to it. Taking this album where I want is what lies ahead.