Roy Brown at Cubadisco

By Irina Echarry, photos: Caridad

Roy Brown at the Pablo de la Torriente Brau Center in Havana
Roy Brown at the Pablo de la Torriente Brau Center in Havana

HAVANA TIMES, May 25 – Folk singer Roy Brown decided a long time ago to be on the side of those that struggle. Since 1970, his artistic career as a composer and singer has brought to public attention the noblest causes of his native Puerto Rico.

Be it the fight against colonialism; the Third World battle against economic, political and cultural intervention; opposition to obligatory military service; support for world peace, and above all the effort to maintain the cultural traditions of Puerto Rico as a nation. A founder of the Puerto Rican New Song Movement, Roy made clear early on his preference for the type of critical lyrics that provoke reflection.

Roy didn’t come alone to Cubadisco, the island’s recording industry’s most important annual event. He came with friends to receive the Honor Prize for his years of music. Tito Auger and the group Asi Somos (That’s how we are) were his guests at the Pablo de la Torriente Brau Cultural Center in the capital.

Duamed Colon, violinist of Asi somos
Duamed Colon, violinist of Asi somos

Asi Somos is in Cuba for the first time and according to Ismar Colon (guitar and voice) they are “happy and excited to feel the warmth of the people.” The young musicians received much applause from the audience when they interpreted a beautiful version of Ojala, a Silvio Rodriguez classic. The group’s charisma was felt by everyone present.

Mariela Ramos, back up singer of Asi Somos
Mariela Ramos, back up singer of Asi Somos

Tito Auger sang with Roy Brown, played harmonica, and told stories about his country. He recalled coming to Cuba in 1997 to attend the World Youth and Students Festival, noting that this time he had come to sing.

If was moving to hear his Cancion para Ceiba, a song that he wrote when the US Marines left Vieques Island after a long battle of the people to end the military exercises there.

Brown gave the audience a tour of his songs, some more known that others, but all full of hope for human improvement. It was a special afternoon for this rebellious man, who feels so much love for his country that in one of his songs he announced: “I would be Puerto Rican even I was born on the moon.”

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