You listen to Haydée Milanés in the waiting room of a hospital and at the P2 stop under that torrential downpour on any Tuesday. You listen to it in the kitchen, in the shower, or while you throw down the bookcase and take out the accumulated dust for almost two years. Haydee in bed, in the streets, in the story that some day you decided to forget before it was too late. Long before. Haydee in Dragon-fly, in Both love, in Words. Always, or almost always, threatening to break you. You, reinventing yourself. To feel "another way to be happy." To understand despite you, despite the song. You, asking yourself; She answering many of your questions.
But time passes. And it's Haydee who gets lost in the disk folders that you once loved and stored on your laptop. Haydée between David Bowie, between Alice in Chains, between Angus & Julia Stone, between Liuba María Hevia and Fink and Ariel Barreiro and the Yellowjackets and Gema and Pavel and ... Time passes and other music arrives, other loves and, of course, other soundtracks for those loves. And Haydée is there, somewhere. You do not know where.
Lo curioso es que, muchos años después, un amigo —a quien de tan loco le dio por fundar una revista de música—, te pide una reseña sobre lo nuevo de Haydée Milanés. Tú le dices que no tienes tiempo, que andas en mil cosas, que tienes que escribir un texto de más de veinte cuartillas con notas al pie, que, imagínate, no escribes con notas al pie desde la tesis (y de eso ya han pasado seis años). Y lo dejas ahí, mientras supones sus caras del otro lado del chat y piensas en lo próximo que inventarás cuando él insista. Porque va a insistir: “Siento que la reseña que sacaremos de ese disco no tiene sentido que la escriba otra persona que no seas tú”, dirá. Tu amigo no sabe que una noche, en uno de esos conciertos que Haydée dio en el Mella, tú lloraste. Que un desconocido a tu lado te vio y sonrió, y que tú —aún ante aquel voyerista de tus lágrimas— no sentiste vergüenza al llorar. Pero ya lo decías, tu amigo no sabe. Y ante su ignorancia accedes. Le dices que sí, que te pase el álbum un día de estos, que esperas esté bueno, a lo que él responde: “El disco es de ella cantándole a Pablo, a dúo con los mejores músicos latinoamericanos, todos, no hay manera de que esté malo”.
Spend a day or two. On Facebook someone shares a YouTube link and says something as cheesy as "this is the most beautiful song in the world." You think there is no such thing. There are songs and moments for those songs. And that, in any case, that is the title of a Sabina song. You laugh You find yourself clicking the link where it reads “You see - Haydée Milanés ft. Silvia Pérez Cruz ”, and listening to the first chords of this single that in 1983 Pablo Milanés immortalized in Years. You remember the first time you heard Silvia when, during her vacation in Havana, the Spanish woman managed to give an intimate concert at the National Museum of Fine Arts Theater. On that occasion, she and Javier Ruibal performed together For your love, the air hurts, a poem by Federico García Lorca that Ruibal himself had dared to musicalize. Never so much sadness was made song.
Now the union of Haydée with the singer of Gerona gives you a tremendous joy. The joy, of course, comes to know them two of the best voices of the Hispano-American song; although, much to your regret, that same joy disappears in seconds. Why Ya ves duele. Es de esas canciones que prefieres escuchar sola, digerir sola, disfrutar sola. En el balcón, con un trago de vodka, una tarde de lluvia de mayo. Ellas, a dúo, hacen el tema aún más doloroso. Será por lo angustioso de las imágenes que te devuelven (el ave, la hoja de otoño, la partida, el sol que no acompaña). Por la imposibilidad del olvido, quizás. Luego YouTube te lleva a ese pedazo de canción que es By my side. The piano of Jorge Aragón makes the opening, it sounds discreet at the beginning and then breaks. At every moment you can hear the sound that Julio César González gives off from the bass, you listen to the violins, the percussion, to Dayron Ortiz on the guitars. Haydée's voice joins that of that gentleman of the bolero that is Pancho Céspedes. I could be reproducing this all day, again and again, you think. The whole dawn, screaming at her throat. Because there are songs like that, like supplications, that arrive in a loop and they do not go. By my side is, if you will, one of them.
So that way you enter the universe of Amor Edición Deluxe, for the topics twelve and thirteen of the second album that is sixteen. You enter through the back door. You let it flow, see what happens. And what happens is that for the first time you listen to Edgar Oceransky and you do it with the love of my life. It is not a coincidence that a Mexican accompanied the Cuban singer in this song that her father popularized at the end of the nineties and had such a great reception in Mexico, among other things, for being the soundtrack of one of his best-known telenovelas. But the love of my life It's another song. Thousand songs It is a history of misunderstandings. Here pain is another matter. It arrives with a bittersweet taste: we've all been there, we've all died sometime, and we've all been reborn with the same strength.
When you get to this point, you are where you did not want to be. They return, again, the memories, because - well thought - Haydée is the Pandora's box that you opened by letting in the past. Days later, when your friend downloads the double album - the first album you already knew: it's about Love, that phonogram where the singer sings the hymns of your adolescence with Pablo: To live, The short space where you are not, among others-, you will think about what could happen if you had decided not to open it. You could, for example, not have succumbed to Omara Portuondo when all her feeling it comes to light in Yolanda and in Loneliness. Two punches for lack of one. Paff. Paff. Hard and in the face. You can almost feel them. Already you would like to, with eighty-nine years, have the courage to sing that way.
But something always happens when you hear Haydee interpret Yolanda, you intuit what it can be, but you never get to perceive it. Now it is clear: and it is that she, who has made her father's songs her own, seeks at all times to distance herself from him. At least that's what you notice. And this is good. Where Pablo overflows, Haydée naked, and she does it with a tender voice; It is not strong, serious, like Pablo's. Neither does he need it. That is also courage.
Later, thanks to the random player, it sounds Identity and it's weird Weird because you do not remember this song in the Milanese discography. Your years of groupie they stumble when you find it in your files: Identity (1990), the twentieth album of the Cuban troubadour that along with Silvio Rodríguez and Noel Nicola founded what the world knows today as the Nueva Trova. In order for the trip to be complete, you decide to listen to Pablo's version first, settle your debt, search even on YouTube and find a video where the songwriter dedicates the song to the "beautiful Cuban youth". Then you give play to Identity 2.0. What is this? The beauty that translates into an Afro-Cuban song, the perfectly synchronized voices of the Ibeyi, the percussion of Osaín del Monte, the piano of Cucurucho Valdés. But what is this? It's a party, it's feeling, it's Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Díaz who arrive to dislodge us, it's music that becomes color, it's Haydée singing rumba!
There is in this album, whose voices were recorded here and there - some in PM Record, in Havana, others in Querétaro, Mexico; in London, England; in Buenos Aires, Argentina-, other great songs: If she were ever missing (ft. Julieta Venegas); Life is worthless (ft. Lila Downs); The first love (ft. Pancho Céspedes); It has not been easy (ft. Rosalía León); Homenaje (ft. Pavel Núñez); Years (ft. Pedro Aznar). But still, Amor Edición Deluxe It would not be complete without four big ones like Carlos Varela, Joaquín Sabina, Fito Páez and Chico Buarque.
Haydée Milanés -who is also the musical producer of the phonogram- knows it.
How many times have you not heard Varela say that if there is a song that he would have liked to write that is The glory days? The author of Coins to the Air then the pleasure of making an acoustic version is given here; while Fito Páez gives us back all his rock-argentine sound in I do not ask you; and that harsh and unmistakable voice of Sabina goes through There is. Chico Buarque's Todos los ojos te miran it's something from another planet, it would not make sense to say something else, where music is enough.
The beautiful is not but the beginning of the terrible, once said a Czech writer who wrote in German and was called Rainer Maria Rilke. You do not know why, after listening for the first time Amor Edición Deluxe, this mantra comes to your head. You know, yes, that once the door is opened, there is no possible return.
PD: You write this on a balcony of Santos Suárez, with a drink of vodka, a Saturday of rain of June. Meanwhile, in the player the voices of Silvia Pérez Cruz and Haydée Milanes sound. To listen, yes, until it hurts.