Pablo Milanés sang to Havana. Photo: Larisa López.
Pablo Milanés sang to Havana. Photo: Larisa López.

Havana de Pablo, dressed as a sea

6 minutos / Marleidy Muñoz

10.09.2018 / Reviews

Pablo Milanés sang to Havana. The Bayamés interpreter - played before the city where he became a sort of King Midas of the Cuban trova and song - suggested a recital "to sing all".

"You are my most beloved public," the author of "Marginal", the first theme of the "Mi Habana" concert, offered at Karl Marx last Friday, told the theater full. The night began humming: "Pour out a tear for each one of us who is misunderstood ... / And together we make a single song to the happiness that awaits us".

Shielded by the trio of Miguel Núñez on the piano -as thirty years ago-, Osmany Sánchez on percussion and Sergio Félix Raveiro (El indio) in charge of the bass, Pablo sang his songs, with that quality that defines him between the fragile and immense . However, his voice was tired for a moment and replaced in the foreground by Núñez.

The film that distinguishes the beloved singer-songwriter came to the audience, despite the fact that the musical arrangements were not very creative, appealing to the best-known formula of a simple jazz base. How to take advantage of the melodic richness that defines the texts of Pablo, overcome their simplicity and return the songs so many times listened to again? A pending challenge that involves taking risks and leaving the comfort zone in which the affection and nostalgia of the Cuban public guarantee applause in any presentation of the troubadour.

As always, anthology topics were revisited. The verses of "Song" were not missing, Nicolás Guillén's poem musicalized by Pablo as "Of what quiet way", and published in a CD that he dedicated to the poet in 1975.

Miguel Núñez's piano performance was the protagonist when he coincided on stage with his daughter, the cellist Mariana Núñez. Accompanied the singer-songwriter in "Nostalgia" and "The days of glory", belonging to the most outstanding phonogram of its creation in the last twenty years.

The audience, who was approaching four thousand people, also enjoyed "You see" - very dear to the interpreter and had a sensational version in the voice of Elena Burke - used for the soundtrack of the film Always Havana (Ángel Peláez, 2006). It was also proposed the endearing theme "Years", and all joined the composer to say: "Because time passes / We are getting old / I love / I do not reflect as yesterday".

Then he entered the stage, happily surprising the attendees, the "gnome" Carlos Varela. Another superb of the song, author of the overwhelming "Habáname", that like Pablo, has been considered sometimes politically incorrect by its letters or its "truths" on the country.

What a gift it would have been to listen to this duo: "Havana, my Havana, if you knew the pain, I feel when I sing to you, and you do not understand what love is." However, alone with the guitar, they defended Pablo's composition, "Vestida de mar", Another declaration of love for the city of 500 years: "Havana will be what it was one day, dressed in the sea, dressed in light, how to be reborn. (...) Havana created distance and pain (...) Havana, my special dream, my living space ".

Together they also shared the theme "Los días no volverán" by Varela, chronicler of a deep city and one of the members of the Los Topos generation. "I asked him to give me that song and he said I would change it for 'Los días de gloria'. I accepted, we are already negotiating, "joked Pablo.

Another voice known and loved returned to Karl Marx. Francisco (Pancho) Cespedes intoned with Pablo "La felicidad" ("I've seen you passing on the arm of a man ...") and the audience stood up. The ovations in the duo interpretation of "To live" continued.

The presence of Varela and Céspedes was a turning point in the dramaturgy of the concert, standing out as some of the best moments of the night.

From here the sounds of the trumpets of Maikel González and Roberto García, the saxophone of Emir Santa Cruz and the flute of Irisan Aldana, guest musicians, added other nuances to the original format, which until then kept us in a jazz club .

He followed a batch of classics from the repertoire formed by the nearly 50 albums of Pablo, well known in various regions of the world and deserving the Honorary Latin Grammy for Musical Excellence in 2015, the Latin Grammy for Best Tropical Album with CD AM: PM Parallel Lines (2006), along with the Puerto Rican Andy Montañez, as well as the Special Prize The Sea of ​​Music 2017, of the homonymous festival held in Cartagena, Spain.

"Let's sing!" The author asked, as if necessary. Then they heard "Love", "Love me as I am" and "It has not been easy". The old lover of "Yolanda "invoked another of his hymns, perhaps the most famous for Cubans, and extended the microphone to the audience shuddered with that of" This can not be more than a song / I would like it to be a declaration of love ... ".

It had been almost two hours since the concert began when we arrived at "The brief space where you are not", with that tremendous line: "There are still remnants of humidity / Their smells already fill my loneliness". It was a gift of colophon, the closure of that soundtrack that has accompanied Cubans of so many generations.

The guests came to the scene for the farewell and the orchestra that accompanied Pablo again sounded when he began to sing as if explaining something that we already knew: "I love this island, I am from the Caribbean. I could never step on solid ground, because it inhibits me. "

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