Left to right: HdP's Tony, Yandy and Rodney.
I went to get tickets for the ballet. I’ve probably written before that I pay the tourist price ($25CUC), which some people find outrageous, but lord knows I can’t see the ballet for that price (try five or six times that much) in Sydney, and if the Cuban price didn’t exist I think most people would consider it a bargain. One advantage: being able to skip the cola snaking down the street and saunter up to the tourist only window and walk away tickets in hand minutes later. Now I feel mean. Although god knows there are enough places tourists are treated like second class citizens: immigration, for instance, where they are consistently put behind each successive Cuban that arrives, and where I have to go tomorrow. I can hardly wait.
There were two other ballet productions on the carteleras advertised; one was a “programa concierto” which didn’t sound like dance, but was, according to the woman in the box office; and the other was a production of Dracula (!), choreographed by Laura Alonso; a relation of Alicia, I’m guessing. That could go either away. I’m a massive fan of the novel.
Swung by Marbis’s but she wasn’t home; there was only the dog barking excitedly at the door.
It was Tuesday: you know what that means. Havana D’Primera matinee. We left late for various reasons. I don’t do much all day and yet somehow ...
Corista Jannier was out the front talking to Trabuco’s trombonista Pipi. Pipi’s sister Marilyn was inside. Yesterday I’d seen her paying to get into Trabuco. I said, why do you have to pay when your brother is in the band? She said, well that’s just how things work here.
It was busy, as usual. Some band members were crammed into the tiny bar: tecladista Harrold, corista Enrique, pianista Tony.
I asked Alexander if he had written a song for Trabuco. He said, yes. I said, I heard it. He said, how did you know it was mine? I said, Amaray said so. Unfortunately the video I took of it didn’t turn out so well - the extended stage turned out to be a blessing and a curse. I’ll see if I can get a better copy before I leave.
I bought drinks, saw the MC preparing to get on stage and headed for a spot down the front.
Great gig. Air con still not fixed but it bothered me less. Guess I’m finally Havana-fit. It’s been good to have the full complement of musos in the band this trip, instead of suplentes. I mean they always have good stand-ins, but the band really fire together. It feels unfair to single anyone but holy shit Yaaaaaandy!!! He was really working that bass. He could make me do anything with that thing. Also props to Harrold on keyboards, working quietly in his dark corner with his sunnies on (!).
The set was pretty standard, with some random song thrown in that the band didn’t seem to know at first - they just looked at each and followed Alexander. I didn’t know it either, so don’t look at me. Nadie sabe nada was the accidental closer: a pair of rumberos got up and danced a bit - not too long; they didn’t outstay their welcome. Then Maykel Blanco got up - not to play keyboards unfortunately; but to spout some inanities into the microphone, including a coro that went “Alexander, Alexander”. Genius. Stick to the piano, shortie. It went long and suddenly it was 9pm and the house lights came on.
CH’s Helder was up the back, apparently in the same shirt as at the Trabuco matinee. Sharon had asked me earlier if I was going to see them at La Tropical on the weekend. I said, Oh god no! I fucking hate them. I didn’t mean to be so vitriolic. It just came out. CH + La Tropical on a Saturday night = Some kind of hell. Haila is doing the matinee on Sunday. That might be more civilised. As might Bamboleo at Miramar.
Alexander mentioned something about HdP going to Venezuela: nooooooooo! Don’t leave me!