Cafe Tacuba in Havana

By Irina Echarry, Photos: Caridad

Rock band Café Tacuba's performance in Havana's Jose Marti Anti-imperialist Bandstand

HAVANA TIMES, June 12 -The famous Mexican rock band Café Tacuba – on a 20-city global tour – played a free concert on Tuesday at the Jose Marti Anti-imperialist Bandstand in Havana, flags from numerous countries waving in the breeze that passes over the adjacent Malecon seawall.

Under the shouting of the throngs of Mexicans who are here studying in Cuba, appeared on stage Ruben Isaac Albarran Ortega (voice and guitar), Emmanuel del Real Diaz (keyboards, guitar, and voice), Jose Alfredo Rangel Arroyo (guitar) and Enrique Rangel Arroyo (bass).

Ruben greeted the crowd on behalf of all of the musicians, saying, “It gives us great pleasure, tremendous pleasure, to be here. We’re very grateful; thank you for having us.  Greetings to all of you wherever you’re from – Cuba, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador or Mexico. They’re all the same; the only thing that exists is the energy of youth and love. The only thing that we want is that you enjoy yourselves, and sing and dance like never before, that time and your problems dissolve.  Only music has that power, so we’ll keep making it… Café Tacuba is here so that everybody can stomp their feet…”

Rock band Café Tacuba's performance in Havana's Jose Marti Anti-imperialist Bandstand

After that moment the music did not cease. However, despite the effort of the group and the public to have a great time, the sound system was below par.  At times its screeching masked the songs.  Nevertheless, for medical student Juvenal the concert was “the maximum.” He added, “I love this band, I’m glad to have heard them here.  I knew about the audio problems; I’ve come here before and it was a disaster.  But that doesn’t matter.”

And that’s true, what was important was to be there, sharing the same space.  For that reason lead-singer Ruben asked for rum and tobacco “to evoke all the spirits of Cuba, all the trees, the spirit of the sea that allows us to be here.”

A girl managed to climb up on the stage and get a picture taken with the group (I have no idea how she did it).

The police jostled everybody around who tried to get closer to the area fenced in for accredited guests; we even saw them use excessive force on one young woman.

Rock band Café Tacuba's performance in Havana's Jose Marti Anti-imperialist Bandstand

This police action was in sharp contrast to the gentle words of the vocalist when he said, “There, up above, is the moon and the stars; here below you are a beautiful garden full of little flowers.”

Sure, a garden can have many types of flowers – even carnivorous ones.

The young audience enjoyed songs such as No me controles (Don’t control me), well-liked by their fans, as well as Amor violento (Violent love), a tribute to the Chilean group Los Tres.  Ojalá que llueva café en el campo (Hopefully it will rain coffee in the countryside) by Dominican Juan Luis Guerra was a theme inspired by the hope that there is never a shortage of food or drinking water. Another song was dedicated to those who are far from their homes; for them the group had a few words of encouragement: “The home is the heart, don’t feel like it’s far away, a time to reunite will come, So live…”

One fan, Lara, who will soon return to Mexico said, “I’ve now finished my studies here in Cuba. I’m from Durango. But though people don’t believe it, I’d never heard Café Tacuba live. This is the first time. So Cuba has given me many surprises.”

It was also a surprise that the group decided to include our country in its Latin American tour in celebration of its 20 years of existence.  This very pleasant surprise concluded around midnight, but left everyone with the hope that there will again be a moment of meeting.

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