This section, which we kick off with rapper Telmary, is an invitation for Cuban musicians to talk, sing, rap, improvise — in short, to “descargar” or vent – in their own words about whatever they want.
When I realized that what I liked most in the world was to be onstage, microphone in hand, words ready, eyes forward, fixed point, starting point, ego at zero, mark the beat, audience listening, hands sweaty, breathe…and let the words fly, I understood my vocation, what I was born to do: that special moment in my life, that moment when I set foot on stage and my words take wing.
Discovering that took time, and during that time came a DJ friend of mine who we all know today (DJoyvan of Cuba), and a notebook in my pocket that held all the treasures of what was happening in nightlife, that off-the-record listing that you only knew about from word of mouth, with no cell phone, no flyers or signs. “Where are we gonna go jam today….?” Right in the middle of the special period, the late ‘90s.
And there I was, discovering my art, «making me the artist», when I stood in front of the mirror and said: "Now who am I, what am I doing? I want to be different, make a difference, have my own swing, my own look ... "I look at the bald, loose, curled" forcibly ", frightened habanera with tilde of "mulata blanconaza". And I feeling black, BLACK JUNGLE, BLACK TO BE, BLACK ALSO, watching as the curly hair stood up, became engried, frizzed (Tremendous heat!) And they fell on my face like an awkward curtain that didn't let the light see. I told myself: "This pint is a total rocker!", And of course it was. I listened to Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Alanis Morrisette loved it! And also to Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack, the electronic era coming to Havana ... and pants bells, colors, fabrics, platforms, loose hairs yes ... but that hair on my face all the time while rapping everyday life did not add up , wow ... I wasn't in Ná!
I look at myself in the mirror; I never knew how to do anything interesting or cute with my hair, and I didn’t have time (or make it) to go to the hairdresser’s (me? Noooo, a hair band in the front didn’t solve the problem, or a bun, either, how tacky!) I mean, I couldn’t find myself.
I did listen to all kinds of music wherever the jam was: trova, rock, jazz, house, techno, timba and, of course, folk. Cuban folklore itself.
One day I went to a drumming ceremony for Yemayá in Centro Habana (I was always told that I was a daughter of [the orisha] Yemayá, or of the two waters; as aquatic as I am, and a Pisces besides, I believed it and loved the songs to her, the dances, her power ,and strength). At that drumming ceremony, they told me that I was taking in bad energies through my head, and suddenly I felt naked with my long, loose hair. They told me that now that I was an artist, that I should be very careful, and protect myself. A daughter of Yemayá tied a white kerchief on my head, Cuban style, like Mamá Inés; I laughed at how I looked and kept enjoying the rumba. I forgot that I was wearing it and I got home and looked at myself in the mirror and I told myself, “That’s how I want to see myself…this is Me!” A Cuban woman, Afro, warrior, protected by the deities of the waters, loose-lipped and ready to eat up the world… (a world of men, rappers who are “equivoca’os” and people who don’t always wish me well). This is my swing, my image, my protection, away with the bad energies; this is my weapon, my hallmark, my cure for the evil eye, my aché! Now I call myself “Telmy Telma de La Habana sana” and my turban is my identity.