Young people shout ‘Libertad’ at the Havana World Music Festival

From the July 11 I didn’t listen to a crowd spontaneously in Cuba ask for freedom The truth is that it is a feeling that one can get used to. The wonder was repeated yesterday, Sunday, at the close of the Havana World Music Festival.

Due to the rain, the event had moved at the last minute from El Castillito to the Ciudad Deportiva in search of a roof. It had also stopped being held on the first day for the same meteorological reason. These programming changes, together with the price of admission (250 pesos, 150 for students), would have persuaded many not to come, and those of us who expected to find a Sports City overflowing with people felt this way on Saturday — especially when we discovered that the glass of beer was only 50 pesos—. However, taking into account that we would also encounter the gigantic obstacle of transportation, it can be said that the attendance both days, especially on Sunday, was considerable.

Since the pandemic began, there have been no big parties for Cuban youth with “alternative” tastes, and the truth is that they were needed. Artists can have as many commitments as they want, but people needed a break from recent traumas and tragedies. Some oasis where things worked more or less well to give us momentum. That has been the Havana World Music Festival. Undoubtedly a great production effort in these times. Without the scope of previous years, where even Vice in Spanish he came to pay attention to it, but with decorum—both musically and gastronomically.

The commitment, moreover, of at least two of the invited Cuban artists, did not include devotion to power. was first Haydee Milanes on Saturday, to remind us of what artistic excellence (and even perfection) consists of. He also made us aware of his communion with the contained rebellion that inhabits Cuban youth when he insisted too much on the authorship of Descemer Good of a group of the songs he performed.

then came sunday Charles Varela, for whom time seems to have passed. Ever since he turned on teenagers back in the late 1980s in Havana until today, the image repeats itself: him dressed in black uttering insinuations and metaphors of political and social inspiration that a very young audience receives as if they were crazy. That’s how it was yesterday: the boys danced and got excited with their chords.

Charles Varela he praised the “ovaries” of the event organizers who had managed to include him in the program and recalled the beginning of his career marked by the political suspicion of the authorities and the threats of censorship. After performing their classics “William Tell” and “Family Portrait”, those same young people began to chant the word “Freedom”, as if not a day had passed since the July 11 To the date. The nervous policemen gathered at the entrance of the premises calculating, perhaps, how they would have to beat us up, when the time came.

After the last musical success of Varela“The Fair of Fools”—, in which not a few discover a criticism of the corrupt power of Cuba, the young people broke with the same song. As if, after all, they had the urge to get out of double meaning and metaphor.

It’s the spark that started in the late ’80s and grew stronger as it went from Peter Louis Ferrer Los Aldeanos, the one we’re missing on stage today. People are ready, as has been seen, to turn it into fire.

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Young people shout ‘Libertad’ at the Havana World Music Festival