Sunday, December 26, 2010

Riveron returns

Amaray sings his heart out (recuperating drummer not pictured)

I had planned to see Trabuco at Cafe Cantante because they hadn’t played at Galiano on Monday and also because Andy had told me at Revé the previous night that Riverón would be back. I got held up and didn’t arrive till after 8, which was really too bad because I found the place only about a third full, which is just the way I like it - you can easily move around - or down to the front. It was perfect.
The way the matinees go up and down here totally puzzles me: El Cafe is usually packed to the gills week in; week out for Trabuco. And this week, there was one less opportunity to see them cause they skipped the Monday matinee, so where they fuck was everyone? Preparing for Buena Noche? Whatever.
They were doing Control, then launched into La noche, not long after I arrived. The best bit was that they hadn’t yet done the new song that Mayami sings. The few people that were there kind of cleared the floor for that one - cause it’s new I suppose, and cause it’s a bit slow. Mayami roamed the dancefloor as he sang and I roamed after him videoing it. I got excellent footage and the audio worked this time too, so I was thrilled about that. Expect to see it on Youtube anon. Afterwards, I asked Chino what it was called, he said No tengo ningun idea. Okeydokey. He said they haven’t recorded it yet.
The Elito posse was up the back as usual - Elito and his daughter Gretchen and her boyf Emilio. How weird to go out with your dad. I passed them on my way to find Riverón. Turns out he had pnuemonia; it came on suddenly. He has lost a fuckload of weight but he says he’s OK. He played like the monster he is. It was good to have him back. He was at a table with some other guys from the group: Miguelito (teclados), Pipi (trombone) and Chino. While I was there, one of the “productores” came over and told them that the Monday matinee was going to start later, that it wouldn’t be from 5, it would be from 7 and go till 11 - or something. I lent towards him to hear better, and they all laughed and said, “tell her!” And I’m like, dudes, don’t you know that all the extranjeros in Havana call me to know what’s on!
Some of those foreigners were off to “Mil ocho” as it’s called, because everyone’s too lazy to say 1830 in Spanish. They have casino there Thursdays as well as Sundays, without Moncada, but with another band that isn’t very good, but isn’t quite as bad as Moncada, apparently. I went to Zanja to buy a cajita of chicken and arroz frito. And then to bed.

• • •

Friday I had my trip to immigration to renew my visa. Always look forward to that one. Up at 8.15 and down at the office by the port at 9.15. There were only about half a dozen people there but I knew that was no guarantee of a speedy visit. I was there about 90 minutes, which is a long time, but is less than some other times I have been there. I have finally realised that the key to jumping the queue is to go with a very old person or a very young person (a baby or toddler). Martin added “or someone with some kind of handicap - a blind person”. Check. Next time, I might rent a toddler.
I like the new location cause it’s right next to the Feria, which otherwise I wouldn’t bother going to cause it’s so out of the way, so I went down there and perused the stalls and bought some crocheted shit. Also discovered an unpopular Etecsa outlet where I can buy a phoneline without waiting one squillion years. Valuable info.
I wasn’t up for any matinees, and there wasn’t anything I wanted to see. I know I should give Klimax another chance, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I needed a nap but the fiesta for Noche Buena - and the hideous music (Mexican, bachata, house, PR salsa) started at early at my house, so I hightailed it to Duni’s house, where Marbis was making an excellent dinner and they were playing Havana D’Primera. All right.
Pupy were playing Galiano later. The singers had apparently done a TV show earlier and all looked very smart in black suits with red accessories. Didn’t get any pics because I had forgotten (for the second time this trip) to put my SD card in my camera. Fuck, shit etc.
The place was pretty crowded. Lots of tourists. Everyone dancing.
(Shit the weather is on and we have a top of 18 on Monday with a low of 10. I’m going to freeze my fucking ass off. Remind me who told me it doesn’t get cold in Havana? 10 is cold in anyone’s language, surely.)
The DJ played Si a una mamita and when a guy popped up in front of me I thought, why not. Big fucking mistake. I’m not sure what time he was dancing to, but it was at least twice as fast as the song. I just stayed on the beat and hoped he would take my cue. He started with some fancy footwork, leaving me hanging with fuck-all to do then he - wait for it - did the splits. En serio. I mean it wasn’t the worse dance I’ve ever had but I was relieved when it was over. At the end he said, you dance like a man. I said, you don’t dance with your partner, and walked off.
Later on I was at the bar talking to La Rubia, when I felt something rubbing up against me: the same guy had come out of nowhere and was humping my leg. I suppose there is some way he could have been creepier, but I’m not sure how. I pushed him off me and he just kept coming at me. I’m like, dude leave me alone, I’m talking to my friend. After a bit more actual physical sparring, he went away, but he watched me all night. I wondered if he was going to chase me up Neptuno at 3am.
Pupy y los que Son Son were good, again. Dayan knocked my socks off, again. I can never take my eyes off him. The singing; the dancing; the dazzling smile. Bless. They did some lame ballad medley for Noche Buena. They were famous songs I think, but I didn’t know any of them. La Rubia said the one Noro sang was Pablo Milanes. Dayan sang his beautifully. Actually it surprised me cause I haven’t seen him do that kind of thing before. Man for all seasons.
Estaba catarrada - de nuevo. And the smoke and lack of sleep knocked me off my feet. I sat down halfway through La Machucadera and didn’t really get back up again. Jeez that song is a powerhouse. There was this older woman, maybe in her early 60s down the front. Short, portly, in a jumper and jeans. Couldn’t dance salsa for shit. Big smile on her face. Again I say, bless.

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