Meme and My Father's Turntable

otro-amanecer

"Another Dawn" concert, in tribute to Meme Solis

It looked like a small suitcase, with rounded corners and a detachable horn on the lid. That turntable was an object of worship for my father and an alternative to the boring programming on radio and TV in the eighties. The needle followed the small grooves in the vinyl and the melody filled the little room in an almost magical act. We also had a fairly small collection of albums: some bought at the store and others given by friends or relatives. We replayed the same music so much that my sister and I learned by heart certain boleros and ballads that had nothing to do with our generation. I remember, too, that we had four records we could only play at a very low volume and with the windows closed. One was a long-playing record by Julio Iglesias, another of songs interpreted by Nelson Ned, a third was the Cuban comedians Pototo y Filomeno, and the one by the quartet known as Los Memes.

Both the Spanish and Brazilian singer had been censored in the national media, it was said, for making statements critical of the Cuban government. The two native comedians, meanwhile, had gone into exile and this put them squarely on the “black list.” But what happened with those four young men who sounded divine on that other “banned record.” As those were the times of not asking too many questions, I only came to know five years later. Then I learned that José Manuel Solís (Meme) had been vetoed for the simple fact of having asked to leave Cuba in 1969. For eighteen years he waited for them to allow him to emigrate, a time when the cultural Torquemadas tried to erase his compositions from our musical history. More than forty years after that forced silence about him, a concert in tribute to him was staged at the America Theater in Havana, under the title “Another Dawn.” So Saturday and Sunday, January 5 and 6, Meme’s songs were heard once again in the country where they never should have been censored.

The show was a succession of excellent singers, from the best-known voices to others, young and promising talents. Despite the minimal — or absent — press coverage, the hall was packed  both days. The most emotional moments occurred when on the main screen the faces of some of our artists in exile appeared. Maggie Carlés, Albita Rodríguez, Annia Linares, Xiomara Laugart and Mirtha Medina sparked huge ovations from the audience when they appeared for only seconds in the videos. But the brightest star of all was undoubtedly that boy from Mayajigua who had become a preeminent Cuban singer, pianist and composer. Although he did not travel to Cuba for the tribute — saying that he wouldn’t think of returning to Cuba as long as the current government remained — his presence was a constant during the almost two hours the concert lasted.

At full volume, without closing the windows, without playing the records at a whisper, without turning off the music when the neighbors knocked on the door. For the first time I heard the music of Meme Solís without hiding. The only thing missing was him singing it.

teatro-america

America Theater on Sunday night after the tribute concert to Meme Solís.

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71 thoughts on “Meme and My Father's Turntable

  1. And let us never forget that 99% of REAL CUBANS ABROAD think very negatively of the team “yoani” too.

    If you do not understand Spanish, this guy is saying that recently “arrested” Antonio Rodiles is NOT really a dissident because his whole family comes from the top echelons of Cuban army and State Security. He is also calling the team “yoani’s” pin-up granny a bitch (perra repeatedly too) and challenges her to admit her own family ties with Castros and Cuban government.

    He is also pointing at the FACT that Cubans who declare themselves “dissidents”, cannot return to Cuba for Cuban embassy will not issue them with entry permit. And he is asking:

    “How did you (this “yoani” liar and domestic traitor) re-enter Cuba after you declared yourself a “dissident”, get the re-entry permit, being self-declared enemy of the state?

    And he accuses her of being a double spy.

  2. So, no answers, from the team “yoani” still?

    Too many lies to avoid discussing, too many lies to hide from.

    Too many people who know that the team “yoani” are nothing more than a herd of mercenaries using their domestic traitor and jinetera for their own terrorist goals in Cuba.

    Too little honesty and ethics.

    But the morals are high.

    As wrong as they are though. Their height is equal to their wrongness.

  3. OK. Now I’ve read about your father’s turntable. I can cite several instances when Sandinista musicians were barred from entry into the US. I can also cite instances when they weren’t. I can also admit that I never knew for sure. The fortunes of musicians are up and down. You say, “it was said,” “I later learned.” “I was told”… You can’t tell me about your neighbors sending the cops to arrest you for your musical taste, but you claim you “could only play (some records) at a very low volume and with the windows closed.” Low volume in Cuba? I’ve never encountered it. Julio Iglesias? Bull! Your fame, thanks to a US president whose comprehension of Latin American affairs is below zero, licenses you to rave carelessly, I think. I’ll look at another article to see if there is anything solid in it.

  4. Help … careful soon you will sound like a soviet apparatchick or Cuban one for that matter … keep an eye on the enemy, that is ‘everywhere’…under the bed most likely. See that’s why some of the apparatchicks say there is freedom in dictatorship…you have the freedom to kissAss as much as you like and to phantasise about glories that you don’t own too… seem that has rubbed off on your great gigantic nation too!…it must be the Russian oligarchs paying you too many visits to the 4 Season Hotel!

  5. _man comes_

    The CIA has no such mystique nor has ever built one, you watch too much Iranian TV. The CIA bumbles and fumbles along like any government bureaucracy, they make lots of mistakes.

    But thank god they are there and do some important things right, or we’d have our enemies blowing up our marketplaces, buses and schools every day of the year, like they do in other countries they “liberate”.

    God Bless the CIA and all those who fight for liberty and justice around the world.

  6. Well sorry to tell you but the CIA has build the mistique they have unlimited powers and answer to no one … so?… stick to the(ir) script!

  7. _man comes around_

    You’re right about the CIA.

    Every time it rains, they benefit. America must keep its monopoly on raincoats.

    (Those Made in China labels are just a CIA false flag operation)

    Obviously the CIA is behind the rain we’re getting,

  8. HuHuHumberto… if I had a penny for every time you called me a castro-fascist agent I think I could buy a retina iPad.. while lik ewise if you had one from me you could buy yourself a Sneaker bar at best!

    My argument was slanted… you may not work for the CIA but you do their bidding since as seen in other countries they benefited most from the fall of un-American regimes and not the people benefited first….

    MsY should have clued herself up by now that it is not just Castro who should go for Cuba to be free… it is also the other side that got Cuba in trouble time and again… until then the ‘change’ MsY wants serves but a few and surprisingly serves you the Americans (first and foremost) and of course the guys in the gov will gloat again they won over the last bastion of the Cold War… only to miss it after a few months since they cannot adapt to fair play in a new world… things we’ve seen about you too here you are stuck in the 50s that’s all… now digest that with you peanuts!

    (Peter) Griffin spoketh so it gotta be so… just for fun when they go to a hotel do they have SexThere too while blogging blagging? … since you have a room (apparently that is a problem in Cuba) why not get busy too with other revolutionaries and do the socialmedia entry too! I mean everyone whose been through a revolution would know that sex is part of it and it is great!… don’t tell that to the prudish nations..(I could list a few)

  9. There is nothing peculiar at all about the address of this website in Spain and the and server host located in Germany. You have not uncovered some great conspiracy. The information is all presented here on this website.

    Yoani does not write or run the whole Desde Cuba website. She writes just her own little blog, Generation Y, which is just one of the many blogs on Desde Cuba.

    Go to the root page and you can find the list of all the Cuban bloggers (50 or more) presented on these pages, (in Spanish). Go to “Translating Cuba” on the left sidebar, and you can find these same bloggers translated into English. The blogs are also translated into French, German, Italian and many other languages. A team of volunteer translators from around the world do the translations in through this online forum. Isn’t that nice?

    The host website, “Desde Cuba”, meaning “from Cuba”, has a street address in Spain. That’s because some Spanish people are helping run this website. Spanish people live in Spain, get it? No big mystery there. Yoani Sanchez does not live in Spain. She lives in Havana. The server is based in Germany, because an organization there offers good rates for webhosting. Again, to be clear: the computer is in Germany, not Yoani.

    So the way it’s done is Yoani and the other Cuban bloggers write their essays on their home computers or wherever they can find one. Then they copy it to a flash drive and go to one of the limited number of computers in Cuba that are connected to the internet (Yoani has mentioned using hotel computers), and from there they email or upload the text files to the volunteers at Desde Cuba (in Spain, remember) who take over the rest of the process.

    All very straight forward now that you know the facts.

  10. There is nothing peculiar at all about the address of this website in Spain and the and server host located in Germany. You have not uncovered some great conspiracy. The information is all presented here on this website.

    Yoani does not write or run the whole Desde Cuba website. She writes just her own little blog, Generation Y, which is just one of the many blogs on Desde Cuba.

    Go to the root page http://www.desdecuba.com and you can find the list of all the Cuban bloggers (50 or more) presented on these pages, (in Spanish). Go to http://www.translatingcuba.com and you can find these same bloggers translated into English. The blogs are also translated into French, German, Italian and many other languages. A team of volunteer translators from around the world do the translations in through this online forum: http://www.hemosoido.com

    The host website, “Desde Cuba”, meaning “from Cuba”, has a street address in Spain. That’s because some Spanish people are helping run this website. Spanish people live in Spain, get it? No big mystery there. Yoani Sanchez does not live in Spain. She lives in Havana. The server is based in Germany, because an organization there offers good rates for webhosting. Again, to be clear: the computer is in Germany, not Yoani.

    So the way it’s done is Yoani and the other Cuban bloggers write their essays on their home computers or wherever they can find one. Then they copy it to a flash drive and go to one of the limited number of computers in Cuba that are connected to the internet (Yoani has mentioned using hotel computers), and from there they email or upload the text files to the volunteers at Desde Cuba (in Spain, remember) who take over the rest of the process.

    All very straight forward now that you know the facts.

  11. The Man! EVERYONE KNOWS THAT YOANI SANCHEZ IS CONSTANTLY BEING ACCUSED OF WORKING FOR THE C.I.A. BY THE CASTROFASCIT AGENTS AND APOLOGISTS WITH NO PROOF WHATSOEVER! THANK YOU DEAR FOR PUTTING ATTEMPTING ON MY PERSON THOSE SAME ALLEGATION$, DEFAMATION, AND JUST OUTRIGHT CHI$MES!! IT GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO ANNOY AND FRUSTRATE THOSE AGENTS/APOLOGITST WITH MY ONLINE WORK SO THERE IS NO NEED FOR MONETARY COMPENSATION DEAR!

  12. HUHUHUmberto you haven’t clued up yourself… According to your mates here Help & clique inc. the CIA could be keeping Castro alive and they do have a body clone 50 years younger, ready to take over (they would say he had plastic surgery in the USA)… just to spite you guys!

    So don’t worry you still have your media speak gloating job to keep for years to come…. the CIA cannot make guys like you and Help unemployed – they support the economy!

    Ah yeah and you conveniently have forgotten your past gloating on Alan Gross – how you objected to the USA trading 5 Cuban spies in exchange for Alan, who is obviously an agent of some sort too! Apparently you want him back in exchange for nothing.. so you can make a movie about how ‘courageous’ he was!

  13. John Two !! I WAS REFERRING TO THE 3 YEARS OR SO THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN FIDEL CASTRO LIVE! AFTER THAT IT HAS BEEN VIDEOS AND PHOTOS WHERE YOU CANNOT REALLY TELL THE DATE OR IF IT IS REALLY HIM! BODY DOUBLES AND OTHER EDITING TECHNIQUES ARE A TOOL OF THE CASTROFASCISTS! JUST LOOK AT THE VIDEOS AND PHOTOS OF THE CARROMERO INCIDENT!

  14. Humberto, not sure where you got 3 years from. Article 234 refers to a maximum of 180 days. If Chavez cannot resume his presidential duties within 180 days, whether still alive or not, under Article 233 he would be declared permanently unavailable to serve and a presidential election would need to be held within 30 days.

    Instead of constitutional hair splitting, and in light of how gravely ill Chavez is, the opposition should focus on getting organized for a presidential election in the next 6 or 7 months.

  15. HOW INTERESTING THAT THE CASTROFASCISTS HAVE NEVER RELEASED THE “TRANSCRIPTS” TO THE ALAN GROSS TRIAL NOR HAVE THEY EVER POSTED PICTURES OF THE “EVIDENCE”! AND WHY NOT ALLOW THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS TO BE PRESENT AT THE COURTROOM FOR THE TRIAL OR SUBSEQUENT APPEALS? JUST THINK ABOUT THAT FOLKS! THEY SHOULD HAVE PARADED THAT STUFF ALL OVER THE MEDIA AND INTERNET SOCIAL MEDIA! SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT!

    SAN DIEGO CHANNEL 10 : With American In Cuban Prison, Wife Hopes For Clemency- Alan Gross Convicted Of Trying To Subvert Cuban Gov’t – From Jill Dougherty,CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent (this article is no longer available online)

    The equipment is illegal in Cuba without government permission, but a source close to the case told CNN that “at trial, the defense presented a receipt from Cuban Customs to demonstrate the Cubans were both aware of and approved what Alan brought in.”

    “The Cuban government did not charge Alan with bringing illegal equipment,” says the source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. “The charge and conviction were on crimes against the state, in other words, activity to undermine the sovereignty of Cuba, which is simply preposterous.”

    http://www.10news.com/news/29066339/detail.html

  16. ALONG THE MALECON BLOG: MINREX – “Alan Gross jailing not arbitrary”

    Executive summary of Cuba’s response to the letter of allegation issued by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions with regard to the Alan Gross case

    Contrary to the allegations made by the source of a denounce against the Cuban government, the detention of Mr. Alan Phillip Gross in Cuba has not violated any of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights or the Group of Principles for the Protection of Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. Therefore, this in no way qualifies as an arbitrary detention.

    Mr. Gross was detained, prosecuted and sentenced for illegally and covertly introducing in Cuba communication equipment using non-commercial technology which is only meant to be used for military purposes and for creating clandestine networks for the transmission and reception of data, destined to implement a US Government program funded by the federal budget of that country with the aim of subverting Cuba’s constitutional order and jeopardizing the stability of the country. Mr. Alan Gross was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do that. He was sentenced for committing acts against Cuba’s national security and public order, not for promoting freedom or any of the rights enshrined by the aforementioned international instruments. The covert actions he carried out violated the Cuban legislation and are considered to be serious crimes in most countries, including the United States.
    Mr. Gross was not prosecuted for helping the Jewish communities to have access to the Internet. All Cuban synagogues have Internet access, and they did have it even before Mr. Gross’s visit to Cuba. He did not reveal to any of the members of the Jewish Community in Cuba with whom he interacted the true purpose of his project and the fact that he was a USAID Contractor. Many of the members of that community who were witnesses to his actions stated in their depositions, including the ones that were made during the trial, that they had been deceived by Mr. Gross.
    The United States will not accept, just as many other countries won’t, any other government to act in disregard of American regulations by secretly sending some individuals to its own territory using government funds from that State so that these persons may put up covert and illegal communication systems without any previous arrangement or registration, much less if these are meant to perpetrate destabilization activities against the existing order.
    From the very moment of his detention, Mr. Gross, who was subject to a thorough investigation, given the revelations that came to light about his violations of different provisions of Cuba’s legal system, was granted all guarantees and rights of the due process, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, the Cuban laws and all relevant international instruments. The Government of the United States was informed, on a permanent basis, through diplomatic channels, about the different stages of the legal process. He was granted all guarantees for his defense, with full respect for his rights before justice. His family appointed and hired the services of a lawyer. After being sentenced, Mr. Gross was granted every facility to have his case reviewed and the opportunity to be heard at a public hearing by a superior court.
    Mr. Gross has received a decent and humane treatment since he was detained. He has been allowed to keep in touch with his relatives, lawyers and friends –even by phone- on a regular basis. Mr. Gross can talk to them every week by phone. He eats food according to a balanced diet, including light food of his choice; he is entitled to send and receive correspondence without any restriction, as well as books, magazines and newspapers. Besides, he receives consular assistance through the monthly visits he receives from US officials based in our country. Cuba has authorized all the visits requested by his wife and has guaranteed special facilities during these.
    In order to ensure the best conditions to Mr. Gross, he has been staying at a military hospital since his detention, where he has received specialized medical assistance. His health condition is normal for a person his age and considering the chronic diseases he suffers from. He has been evaluated by Cuban medical specialists of international renown in different specialties. Likewise, he has undergone more than one hundred medical tests at absolutely no cost. He practices physical exercises on a daily basis, including walks and push-ups, among others. He watches his body weight, which is normal, by deciding what foods he takes and the amount of exercises he practices.
    This has not been an “arbitrary detention” but rather the prosecution –with all due guarantees, as ensure by the Cuban legislation- of a person who has violated the law of a sovereign state and has been therefore properly sentenced by a competent court.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE POST!

    http://networkedblogs.com/GUm0K

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) was founded on December 23, 1959 by Decree of the Cuban Revolutionary Government. The new institution substituted the former Ministry of State, created while the first U.S. occupation, and conceived to serve the interests of U.S. Imperialism. That was how the appropiate institution, designed to organically satisfy the dynamics and considerations of the Cuban revolutionary foreign policy emerged.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the mission to carry out the Cuban foreign policy. In order to achive this objective, the Ministry should contribute to the fulfillment, promotion and defense of the principles, values and interests sustaining the Revolution within the context of the international relations.

  17. Damir said: “I am looking the picture of copy and paste “genius”, and am seeing a quacker that fits that description perfectly.”

    Damir! YOU HAVE MADE MY DAY DEAR! I WANT TO BE THE BEST “QUACKER” I CAN BE FROM NOW ON! JE JE JE! HA HA HA! ME ESTOY MEANDO!!!

  18. John Two !! I THINK NO MATTER HOW YOU SLICE IT, THE CHAVEZ CAMP WILL HAVE TO PROVIDE CHAVEZ ALIVE, DEAD OR OTHERWISE! I DONT THINK THE VENEZUELAN CONSTITUTION WILL ALLOW OVER 3 YEARS FOR HIM TO SHOW UP LIVE AS WE HAVE WAITED FOR “THE MUMMY” FIDEL. I DONT CONSIDER VIDEO OR PHOTOS PROOF OF FIDEL’S STATE OF HEALTH! I WANT TO SEE HIM LIVE ON T.V. OR OTHERWISE! HE IS NO SHRINKING FLOWER AS WE ALL KNOW!

  19. Damir !! THANKS FOR POINTING OUT MY “BEAR” TYPO TRAP!! JE JE JE!

  20. While opposition lawmaker Machado is likely right about Cuba’s vital interest in Venezuela’s political leadership, her interpretation of the constitution depends on whether Chavez is considered to be permanently unavailable (covered by Article 231) or temporarily unavailable to serve as President (covered by Article 234).

    In its decision, the current Supreme Court is relying on Section 234 which reads: “Article 234: A President of the Republic who becomes temporarily
    unavailable to serve shall be replaced by the Executive Vice-President for a period of up to 90 days, which may be extended by resolution of the National Assembly for an additional 90 days. If the temporarily unavailability continues for more than 90 consecutive days, the National Assembly shall have the power to decide by a majority vote of its members whether the unavailability to serve should be considered permanent.”

    I’m not a fan of Chavez. But, he did win the recent election which despite its imperfections was reasonably free and fair. My guess is we will know in less than 180 days whether Chavez is able to resume his duties as President.

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