Interacting in Old Havana

By Irina Echarry, photos: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 2 – The breeze-swept area just off the Malecon seawall of Old Havana prepared for another fiesta of books, with dozens of kiosks set up to sell publications and refreshments.

Several stages were erected over the old paving stones so that actors and musicians could regale the public with fantasies, as everyone hoped to conclude their summer vacation alongside the sea and with literature in hand.

Late night Interactivo concert in Old Havana.

But no one had kept nature in mind.  She too wanted to bid farewell to the vacationers and arrived punctually, at the very same hour set for the beginning of “Readings Before the Sea,” an annual event of the Cuban Book Institute.

We barely had time to acquire a book by national poet Nicolas Guillen, known by all for his famous verse: “I have what I had to have.” And we had rain.

We still had the desire to listen to Jose Maria Vitier and his guests and to see the “Siglo de las Luces” projected in Cathedral Square.

As the hours passed, the sky began to clear up and we had a night free of more storms.

So, for all of us who still had energy, we made it to 11:00 p.m. and to Chacon Street, to dance, laugh and enjoy the work of “Interactivo,” a band project led by Robertico Carcassés.

Robertico Carcasses, left, and Interactivo live

One of the women from the vocal group Sexto Sentido, along with singer Milanese Haydee, were accompanied by various excellent musicians we’ve become accustomed to hearing with Interactivo.

The audience was very diverse: rockers, emos, rappers, and “reparteras” from the “hood” of Old Havana – people who normally have nothing to do with each other but who were united in song.  And though they did not meld completely, they still managed to achieve a great degree of harmony.

This had nothing to do with sadness, nor rain or clouds; Interactivo asked for joy to be released, or at least that it be supplied through peoples’ ration books.

And so it was for the hundreds of people late Saturday night with the sound of jazz and guaracha thanks to Interactivo and with the permission of Mother Nature.

Dancing to Interactivo in Old Havana.

Dancing to Interactivo in Old Havana.

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