Usually we post security related stories that will enhance safety for your home and business. I thought I would step out of the box and share a recent experience that will be engraved in history. This past December, my daughter Beth and I traveled to Cuba on a University trip with her college professor along with 4 other Americans to study Mid-Century Architecture, enjoy the International Jazz Festival now in its 30th year and travel among the beautiful people of Cuba. While in a small town a couple of hundred miles from Havana, President Obama lifted the 50 year+ embargo against Cuba encapsulating our little troupe as Cuba became the center of the world’s news on December 17th, 2014. We hope you enjoy my personal account of our travels.
Yours for better security,
More than a destination, everywhere you go in Cuba supports an understanding of why they love their life.
Here we are on a rooftop deck listening to a local band we’ve come to listen to through a friend of a friend of a friend (the saying, it’s not what you know but who you know is a common theme throughout the country). The leader came to Cuba at age 14 for one year sent by his parents to learn about the culture and never looked back.
A tall lanky white looking man named Pablo from Oakland, California sporting a rainbow Rastafarian hat, speaking fast Spanish to the African and Japanese singers who are trying out for the band. Rounding out the group is a heavy set bass player and a light skinned dark Cuban strumming the bongos.
The leader plays a cool electric guitar and was said to be one of the best by Carlos Santana. Their voices blend both high and low to fill the small rooftop amphitheater as well as the entire surrounding neighborhood with luxurious sound. Other visual treats include a row of bidets repurposed as planters housing clippings from around the neighborhood, lime green cast iron chairs and the dark green Caribbean ocean lapping in the breeze a short 10 minute walk away.
We’ve been sitting in the wings behind the mixer for an hour listening to them practice before the paid patrons arrive on their bus. The four rows fill up in anticipation of the music. Cookie, our guide is a professor at Beth’s University in North Hollywood and shares her knowledge and understandings of the Cuban lore and landscape as easily as my wife gives advice to complete strangers, helping them better their lives.
The Yaruba culture from Africa contribute to the sound with their percussion instruments played by Octavio. The drums brought over from Africa 25 years ago sit calmly in front of him waiting to sing. Afro-Cuban folk music is what they play based on 500 year old music. The album Tantos might be found on Amazon. The song Children of the Mixtures starts us off.
“I will see you in C.U. B. A….”
The music starts and a mixture of chanting, unintelligible words and new and old world instruments waft under the almost perfect weather as big puffy clouds pass overhead. The New Yorkers we share the audience with listen with us for several hours.
The sun goes down as the music changes from an Argentinian waltz, semi-country and Cuban.