Sir, Speak Softly

By Mauricio Mendoza

HAVANA TIMES – We are living through tough times right now, especially for the arts and independent journalism, which are responsible during these times of crisis for making the great disaster the country is in, visible to the world, and for trying to find solutions to the ills that are weighing us down.

In a totalitarian and closed system, it doesn’t matter how loud the bells are ringing, the leaders will try to make the world see that nothing is happening. Even if a nuclear plant explodes like in Chernobyl, the person who tries to prove the opposite of the official denial will pay the price of their audacity.

Futuro Frito is track number 10 on the album Material de Estudio, by rapper Soandry HDC. Three years after the single was recorded, Soandry is proving that he is a visionary yet again, one step ahead of the reality that we are experiencing nowadays to the extreme, as censorship in Cuba and the little freedom of speech we have has always existed.

I remember when this album came out, Futuro frito was the favorite track on the 11-track album, of my filmmaker and designer friends to make a music video with a certain level of production, which was never made for some reason or another.

I have always believed that the right action in art is more valuable than hasty action. As well as explaining exactly how censorship works in Cuba, this track is a rap performance that transcends rap to become a modern masterpiece. The concept of rapping as a whisper like when we speak quietly so that nobody can hear what we are saying, fits perfectly with what the artist is talking about.

A track like this one, with perfect synchrony between the background, lyrics and concept, is more than a video of drops and glitz and glamour. It needs a visual that can be shown in a gallery alongside Lazaro Saavedra’s video art, without there being discord between them both.

Soandry managed exactly this with this video, which he directed and edited himself, using visual codes combined with certain showmanship, to create a dialogue between every element and to give the finishing touches to the song.

The production? Simple, Albany Lopez held the camera in Dogme 95 style, using the Ernesto Litro paper manufacturing studio as the location, and other places along Cojimar’s coastline. It was a lot more expensive to upload the video to social media than it was to shoot the video in an entire day. Etecsa always takes its cut at its own speed.

This video proves that a good idea is a lot more valuable in art than the latest production equipment, not to detract from these, as they are quite useful in the times we find ourselves in.

One thought on “Sir, Speak Softly

  • Whether rap passes as “music” is very questionable. Where is the “combination of vocal and instrumental sounds of beauty of form, harmony and expression of emotion”?

    Many years ago, a wise man declared: “If you can’t whistle it, it ain’t music.”

    I am not saying that rap is not an art form, merely, that I have yet to hear anybody whistle it!

    Rap appears to be a form of recitation given under repetitive beat, rather than being a poem or set of words set to music.

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