I did not value the radio days with my grandparents, in the dark nights of the Shrimp Stop, until I was close to turning 20 years old. Only then I assimilated danzones, trovas and all those rhythms of the Cuba of yesterday that I carried inside.
Until that did not happen, only an artist achieved that my tastes and my ears were understood with the tastes and ears of the elderly. For a long time I thought that only Silvio, Pablo or Serrat were capable of composing great songs. My position on this was as radical as it was naive and - above all - ignorant.
It was then that Alberto Cortez made me change my mind. Dressed in a suit and tie (which, to me, was an unequivocal sign of decadence) and with the same gestures of the singers of the past, he said moving things, both for my grandparents and for me.
More than Vallejo, Villena, Guillén, Machado or Miguel Hernández, the verses that that Argentine sang and recited, looked like tangos or boleros. With a sagacity, hitherto unknown to me, I was able to please both the conservatives and the revolutionaries (I'm still talking about music, eh).
One day I commented all that to Raúl Eguren (a beloved teacher of the National School of Art and an unforgettable actor of Cuban theater and cinema). "You'll have to always be grateful to Alberto Cortez," he told me, "because it freed you from many absurd prejudices and taught you to be corny."
Today I searched for it in Google Map and it is still there. At the Paradero de Camarones railway station, on the edge of the patio, where the house ends, There is a tree that my mother and I planted. Now it's a huge eucalyptus, but at some point it was just a branch.
Thank you, Alberto Cortez, for all that I owe you. A friend has also left me.