Musical Cartographies of the Transnational City: Mapping

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Musical Cartographies of the Transnational City: Mapping
Musical Cartographies of the Transnational City: Mapping Havana in Song
Author(s): SUSAN THOMAS
Source: Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana, Vol. 31, No. 2
(FALL/WINTER 2010), pp. 210-240
Published by: University of Texas Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40985056 .
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SUSAN THOMAS
MusicalCartographies
City:
oftheTransnational
MappingHavana in Song
abstract:
Over the lasttwo and a halfdecades,Cuban singer-songwriters
havecomposed
a worldviewthathas come to representCuba and Cubannessforyouthliving
bothon and off
inthisworldview,
the island.Thecityof Havanafigurescentrally
as
a
serving site,bothrealand
foritsconstruction.The
who were bornin
metaphoric,
songrepertoireproducedbymusicians
the yearsfollowing
the revolution
is markedbyan almostobsessivefocuson the city,
regardless of whethertheircareersdeveloped on or offthe island.Such songs have tended to be
groundedinthe physical,
takinglistenersdown specificstreets,
traversing
particular
neighborthese songs
on curbsand parkbenches,and visiting
local landmarks.
hoods,sitting
Collectively,
- forlisteners.
- and itsmeaning
forma kindofauralmap,witheach retelling
the city
redrawing
For musicianswho have leftthe islandforothershores,Havana remainsthe destination
of a
ofthe
discursive
whichmaybe reachedinsong,ifnot inperson.Musicalremappings
migration,
inCuban diasporiccommunities
and
aroundthe world,celebrating
citypositionnew identities
the localat the same timethattheyredrawand superimposethe boundariesof
authenticating
neighborhood,
region,and nation.
■ ■ ■
Cuban revolution,
musicians,
Cuba,transnationalism,
cartography,
singer-songwriters,
keywords:
Havana,cityscapes
diaspora,nuevatrova,maps,urbangeography,
RESUMEN: En los últimosdos decenios y medio,cantautorescubanos han compuestouna
visiónque ha llegadoa representara Cuba y a la cubaníapara los jóvenes que viventanto
dentrocomo fuerade la isla.La Ciudad de La Habana ocupa un papel centralen esta visión,
El repertorio
para su construcción.
porque actúa como un sitio,tanto real como metafórico,
a
los
años
músicos
han
nacido
en
de cancionesproducidaspor
que siguieron la revolución
que
de las carreras
obsesiva
a
la
se caracterizapor una atencióncasi
ciudad,independientemente
a
han
tendido
basarse en el
la
isla.
Estas
canciones
dentroo fuerade
que ellos desarrollaron
barrios
visitando
carácterfísico,llevandoa los oyentespor calles específicas,
conocidos,senlocales.Colectimonumentos
tándose en los contenesy las bancasde los parques,y visitando
una desdibuja
en
donde
cada
vamente,estas cancionesformanuna especie de mapa sonoro,
abandonado
la isla
han
a la ciudad y su significado para los oyentes.Para los músicosque
discursiva
una
que
migración
para recorrerotrascostas,La Habana siguesiendoel destinode
musicapuede ser alcanzadapor medio de la canción,si no en persona.Nuevas cartografías
les de la ciudadlocalizanidentidadescubanasdiaspóricasen comunidadesde todo el mundo,
Winter2010
Volume31,Number2, Fall/
MusicReview,
LatinAmerican
ofTexasPress,P.O. Box7819,Austin,TX 78713-7819
© 2010bytheUniversity
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MusicalCartographies
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 211
oftheTransnational
el local al mismotiempoque vuelvena dibujary superponenlos
celebrandoy autentificando
límitesdel barrio,la regióny la nación.
■ ■ ■
cantautores,
músicos,revolucióncubana,
cartografía,
palabrasclaves:Cuba,transnacionalismo,
diàspora,nuevatrova,mapas,geografíaurbana,La Habana,paisajeurbano
Streetsare thedwellingplaces ofthecollective.1
Tú tepareces a La Habana.2
-WALTER BENJAMIN
-CARLOS VARELA
havecomposeda
Overthe lasttwodecades,Cuban singer-songwriters
CubaandCubannessforyouth
worldview
thathascometorepresent
living
inthisworldbothonandofftheisland.ThecityofHavanafigures
centrally
foritsconstruction.
This
as a site,bothrealandmetaphoric,
view,serving
that
Cuban
considers
thecartographic
article
singer-songwriters
strategies
in
oftheislandcapital,beginning
haveused in theirmusicaltreatment
Doreen
tothepresent
from
thelate1980sandcontinuing
day.Borrowing
ofthe
specific
renderings
Massey,I positthatsongwriters'
geographically
anattempt
todefine
a definite
but
rather
Cubancapitaldonotsignify
space,
one'srelationship
to that
a seriesofdiscoursesthatnegotiate
constitute
that
both
and
and
to
the
identities
multiple
persons placesexpress.3
space
In the1980s,a fullgeneration
aftertherevolution
changedtheisland's
cultural
the
centralization
of Cuban
and
economic,political,
landscape,
cultural
andinstitutional
lifearoundthecityofHavanameantthatthenein
ofsuchidentities
wereincreasingly
andexpression
expressed
gotiation
D.
urbanmetaphors.
"Citiesthemselves,"
remarks
Anthony King,
explicitly
"havebeeninstrumental
notonlyin imagining
theirowncollective
identithecommunity
ofthenation."4
As significant
ties,butalso in imagining
numbers
ofsinger-songwriters
havejoinedthediasporaandmovedabroad
inrecent
theprocessofreimagining
CubaandCubannesshastaken
years,
on a newurgency.
Musicalrepresentations
ofHavanafigure
prominently
in theworkproduced
theirincreasingly
bymusicianswhomustnegotiate
transnational
identities
and,as we shallsee,theyserveas muchtocontextualizenewlocalesas theydo theCubancapital.
A poignant
feature
of"Havanasongs"composedinthelasttwodecades
is theirexplicitly
nature.Such songstendto be grounded
cartographic
in thephysical,
downspecificstreets,
particutakinglisteners
traversing
larneighborhoods,
on curbsand parkbenches,and visiting
local
sitting
landmarks.
thesesongsforma kindofauralmap,witheach
Collectively,
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212
■ SUSAN THOMAS
- forlisteners.
- anditsmeaning
In his1994
thecity
rendition
redrawing
Gillies
us
to
of
modern
theater,
John
expandour
study early
challenged
"if
that
kind
ofspatial
of
virtually
any
remarking
conception cartography,
then
of
its
material
is
a
form, thefield
regardless
image map,theoretically
as exploded.
Moderncartography
ofcartography
is notso muchexpanded
ofthemapin termsofproaddressesthisproblembyposingthereality
in
terms
of
a
cessrather
thanproduct;
activity
semiological
(orsignifying)
a signifying
thanan inertartifact."5
rather
SongsaboutHavanarepresent
andtheiraudiencesduring
thatservestoorientCubansongwriters
activity
betweenCuba,
a periodofdramatically
relationships
shifting
geopolitical
Cubans,andtheoutsideworld.Suchstrategies
helptheirsubjectsto"crethattiehisorherbodytoa mobility
worldofimpressions
atean imaginary
Ronda
aretobe at all effective,
ofspaceandplace."6Yetifsuchstrategies
LemkeSanford
remindsus, "theyworkbymeansofsharedunderstandThe songrepertoire
and conventions."7
producedover
ing,assumptions,
theshapingofsuchconventions
thelasttwoanda halfdecadesevidences
thattheybothrespondto and
and understandings
and theassumptions
engender.
La capitalcantada
inthe1980s,a
becameincreasingly
visible
Cuba'scapital
city
Songsdepicting
of
in
as
a
creative
focus
timewhenpolitical
manysectors
emerged
geography
artist
known
the
Cuban
Cubanarts.Antonio
Fernández,
professionally
Eligio
ofcartographic
abouttheimportance
as Tonel,
haswritten
imagesofCubain
ofEdward
from
thewritings
theNewCubanArtofthe1980s.8Drawing
Soja
discussesCuban
Fernández
ofMichelFoucault,9
and Soja's ownreadings
oflocalgeographies
withcartographic
artists'
nearobsession
representations
indialogue
withtheglobalart
thattheirartentered
atprecisely
themoment
Cubanartists'
describes
scene.Fernández
repeated
rendering
(anddismemthis
as
or
of
the
island
of
the
during period "thecrystalmap image
bering)
thatcamein
a consciousness
'insularconsciousness,'"
lizationofa specific
ofa radical
as
the
center
of
Havana
intellectuals'
from
Cuban
conception
part
and
America
include
Latin
would
that
andrevolutionary
cosmopolitanism
andtranscultural
ina transnational
theThirdWorld
dialogue.10
Overthe nextdecade,falloutfromeventsin Berlin,Moscow,and
location
thegeopolitical
toreconceive
creative
intellectuals
Sarajevoforced
as thewindsofpoliticaland economicchangeblewCuba
ofthatcenter,
cultochallenge
Artists
usedtheirnewvisibility
intothe"West."
existing
on
Antillean
reach
the
island's
turalhegemonies
amplifying
bygraphically
for
seas.
and
a globalscale,displacing
continents, shifting (See, example,
whichappearshere
artist
AlexisEsquivel's
geográfica,
1989work,Obsesión
thesesame
to
local
their
In
as Figure1.)
however,
relationship
geographies,
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MusicalCartographies
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 213
oftheTransnational
figure i. AlexisEsquivei,
Obsesión geográfica(198g). Courtesy
ofAlexisEsquivei.
narratives
of geopolitical
artistswerereactionary,
reinforcing
long-held
and
stasis.
The
island's
external
be
fragimagemight stretched,
privilege
esor multiplied,
butitsinternal
locaters,
mented,
relocated,
geographic
roots
the
of
fixed,
deep
pecially city Havana,grewincreasingly
acquiring
anchored
in economics,
andnationalist
constructions
of
institutionalism,
Havana.11
It
was
a
remarks
when
all
roads
led
to
time,
Fernández,
identity.
in thevisualarts,his
WhileFernández
was writing
aboutdevelopments
is
in
the
thatsince
analysis insightful considering
1980s Cubansingerhaveexhibited
a similarobsessionwithgeography
andplace.
songwriters
Itis nottheelongated
contours
oftheisland,however,
thathaveattracted
theattention
ofsongwriters,
butthecityofHavanaitself.
Musicalodes to Havanaare hardlya newphenomenon.
Indeed,like
othermodernmetropolises
suchas ParisandNewYork,thecityhas long
beena musicalmuse.12
ForCubansongwriters,
Havana'sallurehas transcendedbothtimeand genre,andtheyhaverepresented
thecityto quite
different
effects.
Earlyodes includeArmandoOrefiche's"Habana de
mi amor,"SindoGaray'sbittersweet
"Adiósa La Habana,"and Rolando
beautiful
bolero"HermosaHabana,"whichwaslater
Vergara's
hauntingly
tobe immortalized
The
(and,onemightargue,urbanized)
byLosZafiros.
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214
■ SUSAN THOMAS
as in
toauthenticate
localcolor,
landmarks
havebeenusedbylyricists
city's
and
mulata
where
an
exotic
themanyearly-2Oth-century
sultry
guarachas
orEnriqueJorrin's
struts
downHavana'sPradoboulevard,
1951hitcha-chaand economiccenter
Havana'sdrawas an artistic
cha,"La engañadora."
Mantancera's
of
from
La
Sonora
has beenthefocus songs
1956hitwith
to
Colombian
singerNelsonPinedo,"Mevoypa' La Habana," thetitlesong
fromCándidoFabré's sonorieníaí-inflected
album,La Habanaquiere
guaradancemusic,in particucharcontigo,
releasedin 2000. Post-revolutionary
with
ofnationalidentity,
Havanaas a marker
lar,has staunchly
positioned
songslikeLosVanVan's"Havana,sí,""La Habanano aguantamás,"and
andinurbanexperience,
Cubanpersistence
"HavanaCity,"
documenting
in explicitly
urbanand
and a nationalist
pridethatis expressed
genuity,
modern
terms.13
In contrastwithpreviousodes to a generalizedand romanticized
ofher,thelate1980s
Havana,orthecollective
socio-political
appropriation
in whichthesongwriter's
sawtheexplosionofa repertoire
engagement
andsongsdepicta cityseen,
andintimate,
withthecityis bothindividual
of bothspace and
at streetlevel.The representation
and remembered,
fromthenationto
and
a
in
reveals
a
debt
these
departure
place
songs
trovamovement
of
the
nueva
alistpoeticdiscourseand identity
politics
belater.
I
will
discuss
as
fromwhichtheseartists
Songwriters
emerged,
of
Cuban
an
assertion
as
of
urban
to
write
local,
identity,
experience
gan
itselfas the
andre-assert
hashadtore-invent
an identity
thatincreasingly
amorhavebecomeincreasingly
of"Cubanness"
boundaries
geopolitical
at
Cuban
to
an
evidence
These
(or least
attempt renegotiate
songs
phous.
and they
created
that
and
within
the
it,
places
spaces
identity
habanero)
thatpastbe personalor imagined,
oftendialoguewiththepast,whether
Michel
"Hauntedplaces,"remarks
as theexamplesbelowwillillustrate.
de Certeau,"aretheonlyonespeoplecan livein,"and theHavana-song
tolocalizenotjust
repertory
beguninthe1980scanbe readas an attempt
well.14
as
but
identities, memory
contemporary
commented
criticJoaquín
andcultural
Cubanjournalist
Borges-Triana
wherehe
in a 2007 issueof Temas,
on the"Havanasong"phenomenon
and
of
such
the
between
a
made connection
songs theconpreponderance
He
of
Cuban
experience emigration. writes,
temporary
con mentalidades
La estanciaen el extranjero
y culturas
y el contacto
senun
e
en
estos
extrañas
compositoresintérpretes profundo
provocan
sus
tradiciones
de
reafirmación
de
de nostalgia
timiento
autóctonas,
y
He
artística.
en su producción
encuentran
reflejo
que conposterioridad
a
La
dedicadas
canciones
abundan
ahíla razónde porqué,porejemplo,
Habana[. . .]15
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HavanainSong » 215
MusicalCartographies
City:
Mapping
oftheTransnational
mentalities
and havingcontactwithforeign
Livingin othercountries
and
a profound
in
these
andcultures
composers interpreters
provokes
that
of
their
native
of
reaffirmation
of
and
traditions,
feeling nostalgia
I
reahave
here
the
in
their
artistic
reflected
would
be
later
production.
.
dedicated
to
Havana
there
abound
forexample,
sonwhy,
[. .]
songs
inobserving
thatthereareindeeda number
is correct
WhileBorges-Triana
homesickness
alonecannot
theCubancapital,
ofnostalgic
odescelebrating
ofsuchsongsnortheirimpact.In fact,songs
explainthepreponderance
as a majortropein Cubansongwriting
to Havanafirst
dedicated
emerged
but
notofCubanémigrés,
in thelate1980swhentheyweretheproduct
ofhomegrown
rather
in,andabout,Havana.
writing
singer-songwriters
The Role of Place in Nuevatrova
ortrovadores.
forsinger-songwriters,
concern
Placewasnotalwaysa central
therevointhetwodecadesimmediately
Indeed,songsproduced
following
A
movement
that
lutionwerestrangely
song
placeless. socially-conscious
the
nueva
trova
in
and
first
the
late
provided
early1970s,
developed
1960s
ofsongfoundations
forthegeneration
boththemusicalandprofessional
writers
whocameon thescenein the1980s.Whilethesemusiciansmay
in significant
thatdiffer
haveeventually
waysfrom
pursuedmusicalstyles
I
have
all
of
the
thenuevatrova
tradition,
performers spokenwith,or
nearly
mention
themovement
as f
whohavegivenextended
interviews,
published
and
aesthetiformative
an important
influence,
personally,
professionally,
in the1980sand afterwards
cally.AnydiscussionofCubansongwriting
ofthe
theaesthetic
andpoeticconventions
musttherefore
first
recognize
fromandagainst
foritis thewaythatlatermusiciansworked
nuevatrova,
oflocalspacebothpowerthatmakestheirexplorations
theseconventions
fulandtransformative.
and aesthetically
withthecancióndeproitselfbothpolitically
Allying
canción
testa(protest
and
nueva
movements
song)
(newsong)
takingplace
LatinAmerica,
theearlynuevatrovamovement
featured
a mix
throughout
and
romantic
that
ofpolitical
socialcritique,
commentary,
soliloquies were
him
whoaccompanied
generally
songwriter
givenvoicebya lone singerorherself
on theguitar.
The powerofthewordwas paramount,
and the
movement
valuedpoeticsophistication
overmusical(andparticularly
voto a revolutionary
and evenUtopianZeitgeist,
cal) virtuosity.
Responding
strove
to createmusicwithtranscendental
appealthatwould
songwriters
movelisteners
toconsider
otherrealities,
whether
social,
theybe political,
or emotional.
recastCubansongas a genrethatwas intellecTrovadores
tualandsophisticated,
withpoeticimagery
andmusicaltextures
tomatch.
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216
■ SUSAN THOMAS
theharmonic
ofthejazz-inflected
balladtraIncorporating
sophistication
ditionknownas filinand theavant-garde
principles
championed
bythe
de
Sonora
Grupo Experimentación
(SonicExperimentation
Group)at the
Instituto
Cubanode Artey Industria
Cinematográfica
(ICAIC),thegenre
tookon a decidedly
urbanandcosmopolitan
aesthetic.16
The nuevatrovamovement
was a nationalphenomenon
thatbythe
as
Robin
Moore
becomeinstitutionalized.17
Cuban
documents,
1980shad,
to nationalandregional
youthfromacrosstheislandflocked
youthfestivalswheretheyhadtheopportunity
tohearestablished
musicians
perform
theirownwork,and be mentored
Localcasasde cultura
byolderartists.
a
(cultural
capitalsalikeprovided
centers)in smalltownsand provincial
environment
foraspiring
trovadores
tohonetheir
spaceanda welcoming
craft.
Yetin spiteofthemovement's
widespread
appealandtheenormous
talentbeinggenerated
acrossthecountry,
theinstitutional
centerofthe
movement
in thecapital.Lastingconnections
remained
withtheICAIC,
theInstituto
Cubanode RadioyTelevisión
(ICRT)and,mostsignificantly,
withtheCasa de LasAmericas
createdpermanent
tiesbetween
thenueva
trovaandthecityofHavana.18
National
wouldcomeatthecost
recognition
- oratleastfrequent
ofrelocation
tothecapital
visitation.19
RobinMoorehas shownthatwhilethesocialist
regovernment
initially
the
trovadores7
stance
as
a
it
chose
threat,
garded
sociopolitical
eventually to
better
their
themintostateappropriate
(and
control) messagebybringing
runinstitutions.20
The Movimiento
Nacionalde la NuevaTrova,officially
- andoccasionally
founded
in1973,thusmovedfrombeinga critical
oppo- voiceonthestateofthenationtobeingan official
sitional
for
mouthpiece
in
thenationstate.Themovement
a
nationalist
discourse
which
promoted
Eventhename,"nuevatrova,"
castthemovement
wasparamount.
history
tradition
thatwaspopularin theearly
as theculmination
ofa songwriting
toretrospectively
as "vieja"or"old,"
yearsoftheCubanRepublic(referred
the
answer
as
the
revolution
was
seen
as
tothefrustrated
just
1959
trova),
and unfinished
of
the
and
revolutionary
struggles
19th early20thcentuis a
and
andromantic
ries.21
with
its
tres,
lyrics,
Viejatrova,
hongos pastoral
of
of
Cuba's
sonic
reminder
early-2Oth-century
history migration
powerful
andincreasing
urbanization.22
suchas theone thatlinked
Foucaultnotedthatnationalist
narratives,
toa largerrevolutionary
thevariousstagesofCubansongwriting
struggle,
Thistendency
is marked
timeoverspace.23
havehada tendency
toprivilege
ofthenuevatrova,
whichproduced
intherepertoire
ofthefirst
generation
in
its
a songrepertoire
thatis uncannily
although
geography,
ambiguous
revolutionarto important
historic
eventsor dedicated
songscelebrating
Pablo
Trovadores
suchas SilvioRodriguez,
iesarerelatively
commonplace.
in
a
González
Noel
and
Sara
Milanés,
Nicola,
participated politicaland
to Cuba'sinsularity,
that
avoided
reference
discourse
focusing
ideological
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MusicalCartographies
oftheTransnational
City:MappingHavana in Song «
217
insteadontheinfluence
ofthesocialist
revolution
on therestoftheworld.
The Dec. 3,1972manifesto
ofthefirst
Encuentro
Nacionalde los Jóvenes
Trovadores
madethemovement's
internationalist
aimsexplicit,
"Nosprola creación
de cancionesque expresen
el espíritu
interponemosestimular
nacionalista
de nuestropuebloy su altaconciencia
de la solidaridad
(We
thecreation
ofsongsthatexpresstheinternational
proposeto stimulate
ofourcountry
andofitsstrong
senseofsolidarity.)"24
spirit
theeventsthatocApartfroma fewrevolutionary
songsthatcelebrate
curredat historically
locations(CarlosGomez'"HabanaLibre
significant
wherespacesorplacesdo occur,theyare
piso20" is a primeexample25),
Liketheanonymous
non-specific.26
generally
junglesin SilvioRodriguez'
"La era está pariendoun corazón,"thesesung geographies
tendto be
themetaphoric
forideUtopianand indistinct,
theyaremerely
backdrop
alisticstruggle.
Whilenotreferring
to
didocexplicitly place,songwriters
use
the
of
within
the
casionally
language political
particularly
geography,
context
oflovesongs.Suchgeographies
are frequently
sexualized,
using
theconquered
contours
ofthefemalebodyas a metaphor
forrevolutionaryprogressas in "El breveespacioen que no está,"by PabloMilanés,
whichrendersa lover'sbodywithimagery
thatis explicitly
cartographic
- in mybedhersilhouette
mi
cama
su
silueta
se
cual
("en
dibuja
promesa
etchesa promise"),
orreproduces
as in Silvio
spatialized
powerhierarchies
"Oleo
de
con
breve
cintura
sombrero,"
Rodríguez'
mujer
("su
debajode
mi- hertinywaistunderneath
me").27
The intellectual,
natureofthemovement
createdan atcosmopolitan
where
harmonic
and
textural
innovation
was
mosphere
prized,although
thefullextent
oftheyounger
innovations
hasnotalwaysbeen
generations'
It is in thelyric,
thatthenuevatrova'sinfluence
however,
appreciated.28
is mostclearlyseen;themovement's
social
emphasison poeticsubtlety,
and
a
belief
in
the
of
beena
critique,
profound
power languagehas clearly
forceintheworkoflaterartists.
tookholdof
guiding
Younger
songwriters
thenuevatrova's
thanusingthemtoexpressinterpoetictoolsand,rather
nationalist
andconstruct
localidentities.
goals,begantoexplore
Flânerie
Tropical
Whilelocationmayhavebeenmoreofa practical
thana poeticconcern
forearlynuevatrovaartists,
thenewsongwriters
thatcameon thescene
inthe1980shada markedly
different
totheroleofplaceintheir
approach
music.Bothlyrically
andmusically,
suchas Gerardo
Alfonso,
songwriters
CarlosVarela,and FrankDelgadocreateda repertory
thatcelebrated,
crithelocal.Fortheseartists,
thelocal
tiqued,and,aboveall, experienced
becomesa metaphoric
oftheCubanexperience.
In theirwork,
exploration
HavanaisCuba.
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218
■ SUSAN THOMAS
Thesesongwriters
created
a musicalstyle
thatwasmoreself-consciously
overt
often
from
thesoundsof
urban,taking
(and
inspiration
controversial)
North
and
rock
theirmusic
music.29
While
Argentine, American, English
stressed
international
their
stressed
the
however, lyrics
cosmopolitanism,
local.Bytheendofthedecade,urbanlifebecamethefocusoftheirsongs,
and graphic
ofHavanaservedas thebackdrop
foracutesocial
depictions
andpolitical
as wellas forlovesongsandnostalgic
laments.
commentary
Theirlyrics
tracedthestreets
ofHavanawitha slow-moving
voyeuristically
todetail,eachsongrendering
thecitymorereal.
gazeandacuteattention
In thissense,thefigure
ofthetrovador
thatemergedin Havanapriorto
thecollapseoftheSovietUnioninvitescomparison
withthebohemian
flâneur
of19th-century
Paris.Educated,
the
male,andwithtimeforleisure,
flâneur
waslikewisean urbanfigure,
an "eternal
whospent
vagabond,"30
histimeinthestreet
thefabric
ofcitylife.Indeed,fortheflâneur
observing
thecitywaslife;hisobsessionwithParisreflected
thecentralized
natureof
French
lifearoundthecapital.31
theprominence
ofCuba'scapital
Similarly,
fromthelate1980sonwardis indicative
ofHavana's
cityin songswritten
all aspectsofCubaneconomic,
culincreasing
gravitational
pullon nearly
life.Theaffinity
oftheflâneur,
a figure
whoseexistence
tural,andpolitical
was propelled
bythesocialand economicupheavalsofearlycapitalism,
withsongwriters
whodocumented
boththeapexandthecrumbling
ofa
socialistexperiment
seem
were
it
not
for
the
not
initially
apparent
might
of the spacesin whichtheywrote/composed.
The Havana
intervention
itselfstrongly
influenced
Paris,shaped
cityscape,
bythatof19th-century
theexplorations
muchas thearcades
andtheobservations
ofthetrovador,
andboulevards
The Parisian
ofParisformed
theworldview
oftheflâneur.
flâneurand theCubantrovador
thusemergeas figures
whoserelationcitiesis both"a presentand immediate
reality,
shipwiththeirrespective
made
a practico-material
as wellas "a socialreality
andarchitectural
fact,"
or
of
that
are
to
be
conceived
constructed
reconstructed
relations
of,
by
up
drawonwhatJameson
thought"32
(orinsong).Suchmeta(re)constructions
Parisian
has calledthe"nostalgia
forthepresent,"33
andboth19th-century
oftheurbanlandscapeoccupy
andlate20th-century
Cubanexplorations
co-exist.
an ephemeral
spaceinwhichthepastandthepresent
temporal
In recentyears,theideaoftheflâneur
has beenthesubjectofvibrant
ofthe
ascribedcelebration
muchofitfocusedon thepreviously
critique,
in
Feminist
bohemian
malewalkeras a "heroofmodernity."34
critics, parindescribing
andcontotheflâneur
havenotedthatgiving
ticular,
primacy
of
a
certain
set
normalizes
the
idea
of
the
modern
power
city
structing
Thustheallusionof
as theyrelatetogenderandclass.35
relations,
especially
of
tothetablewitha fullawareness
an habanero
flânerie
mustbe brought
of
the
exhibit
trovadores'
musical
itslimitations.
Indeed,
city
explorations
race,and (evenin Cuba)
politicsregarding
gender,
similarly
problematic
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MusicalCartographies
oftheTransnational
City:MappingHavana in Song «
219
entertain
such
class,andwhileitis beyondthescopeofthispapertofully
a critique,
itshouldbe notedthatthesongsdiscussedinthispaperarethe
workofa predominantly
and Havana-centered
male,university-educated,
ofwhomarewhiteormulato.
themajority
groupofsongwriters,
Recognizofthe1980sbothwitnessed
andwrotefrom
ingthattheyoungtrovadores
a position
ofrelative
andenriches
ourunderstanding
complicates
privilege
oftheconstruction
ofCubanidentity,
anditallowsus torecognize
theways
inwhichthisnewgeneration
ofsongwriters
pushedagainsttheideological
oftheveryinstitutions
discourse
thathadnurtured
them.
AnkeGleberattributes
theriseofthe19th-century
Europeanflâneur
to a new senseofindependence
and a heightened
awarenessof mobilofUtopianpossibility,
thelate20thcenity.36
up on narratives
Brought
cameofage in an increasingly
denseurbanenvironment
in
turytrovador
whichtransportation
wassparseand"awareness"
ofone'smobility
lack
(or
unavoidable.
Thattherediscovery
ofthestreet
thereof),
byyoungpeoplein
thelate1980sandearly1990smayhavebeensomewhat
forced
lendsan elementofirony
andirreverence
totheirtreatment
ofthecityscape.
Ata time
whenstatepolicydictated
thatyoungpeopleservethepublicgoodbyenworkandexhibiting
thewillgagingin productive
propermoralbehavior,
fulappropriation
ofthestreetbyHavana-based
trovadores
an
represents
actofresistance.
Theirworkrevealsan effort
toturntherevolution's
social
consciousness
andeconomicreinwards,
local,social,political,
critiquing
the
street
and
street
culture
share
visible,songwriters
ality.
Bymaking
similar
to
movements
in
the
visual
strategies
happeningsimultaneously
likeArteCalle,GrupoProvisional,
and GrupoPuré
arts,withcollectives
and
a
irreverence
towards
reclaiming
publicspace
displaying profound
institutional
In
this
their
treatment
of
urban
authority.37 sense,
quotidian
existence
canbe readas a formoí choteo,
thatuniquely
CubanformofhumorthatJorge
Mañachdescribed
as "notomarnadaen serio(nottaking
More
comic,the"jocularcontempt"39
anything
seriously)."38 thanmerely
ofchoteorepresents
bothdisorder
andsubversion
andprojects
irreverence
towards
forself-assertion
power.Itis,as foséMuñozhas shown,a strategy
thatappropriates
andrepurposes
cultural
toaid in theconstrucsignifiers
tionofidentities
thatresistdominant
cultural
norms.40
The actionsofthestrolling
trovador
stand(move)in directopposition
totheidentity
constructs
ofthenuevatrova,
withitsobliqueavoidanceof
in his songs,thetrovador/flâneur
space.Bymakingthecitya protagonist
drawsattention
to the "conditions
of [Cuba's]ownpossibility,"
working
discourse
oftheprevious
torenderspace
againstthehistorical
generation
itself
visibleas an activeagentin Cubanidentity.41
Thissenseoftheawarenessofspaceis central
toGerardo
Alfonso's
odetoHavana,"Sábanasblancas."A lyric
Alfonso's
hisdesireto"godownyour
travelogue,
lyrics
express
andyourplaces"andenterintoa spacewhere
streets,
yourneighborhoods,
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220
■ SUSAN THOMAS
lives
likeloversandwhereprivate
andthepastareintertwined
thepresent
ofurbanlife.
arepartofthepublicfabric
Sábanas blancas
WhiteSheets
GerardoAlfonso
Habana,
miviejaHabana
de
Señorade historia
conquistadores
hermosa
ygenteconsus religiones,
dama
Habana.
Si misojosteabandonaran
si la vidamedesterrara
enun rincónde la tierra
de
yotejuroquevoya morirme
amor
yde ganas
de andartuscalles
tusbarrios
ytuslugares.
Havana,
myoldHavana,
ofconquerors
Ladywitha history
beautiful
andpeopleofreligions,
lady,
Havana.
Ifmyeyesabandonyou,
ifmylifeleavesme
ina corner
oftheearth,
I sweartoyouthatI willdieoflove
andofdesire
togodownyourstreets
andyour
yourneighborhoods
places.
CuatroCaminos,
CuatroCaminos
de Regla,
de
Virgen
Virgen Regla
theporttothesea,
Puertodelmar
places,
neighboring
lugaresvecinos
thecoastalwall,
el largomurodellitoral
el Capitolio
yPradoconsusleones, theCapitolandPradowithitslions,
itsvisions.
susvisiones.
Whitesheets
Sábanasblancas
fromthebalconies.
hanging
colgadasen losbalcones.
Whitesheets
Sábanasblancas
fromthebalconies.
hanging
colgadasen losbalcones.
Havana,
Habana,
MigranHabana.
MygreatHavana.
in muchthesame spiritas thebohemiantravelAn urbanchronicle
Alfonso'ssongguides
by Benjaminand Baudelaire,
oguesdocumented
on the
landmarks
familiar
at
Havana's
down
thelistener
streets,
stopping
witstoic
and
historic
selects
locations,
crumbling
explicitly
way.Alfonso
bustle
the
human
while
stasis
nessesto architectural
goes
(andpolitical)
themwithnewmeanings
on aroundthemand in doingso he inscribes
Itis as if,itseems,hisdesiremightsomedaycause
andnewpossibilities.
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Musical Cartographiesofthe TransnationalCity:Mapping Havana in Song ■
221
thosePradolions(orperhapsthepeoplemovingpast)toawake.Alfonso's
acts
thatby"linking
contention
de Certeau's
strollthusaffirms
voyeuristic
.
become
these
words
and
andfootsteps,
[. .]
openingmeanings directions,
Thoseliberated
liberated
spaces,de Certeau
spacesthatcanbe occupied."42
on
a second,poeticgeography
ofarticulating
have"thefunction
contends,
or
oftheliteral,
forbidden, permitted
meaning."43
topicofthegeography
voicesthissongnotfromthepositionofan
whoactually
ThusAlfonso,
butfromhislocationin Havana'sVedadodislongingtoreturn,
emigrant
with
inwhichthecity'sspacesareinscribed
trict,
imaginesa homecoming
andinwhich"susvisiones"
newmeanings
mightbe revealed.
and
withtheunseen,domestic
alsosuggesta familiarity
Alfonso's
lyrics
facades
spacesthatlie behindHavana'sbalconiesand crumbling
private
themundaneartifacts
(see Figure2). Thewhitesheetsnotonlyreference
buttheyalso callup imagesofunseen
ofthelaborsofdailydomesticity,
Alfonso'sHavanais, as Elizabeth
bedroomsand hiddenacts.Moreover,
and his deof19th-century
Wilsonremarks
Paris,"thecitysexualized,"44
Whether
in explicitly
carnalmetaphors.
siretoknowthecityis expressed
or
a
of
with
an
old
woman
as
symbolized
"history
conquerors,"
imagined
Virginof Regla,Havana,likethe Parisdescribedby
bytheAfricanized
is notuniquein his
female.Alfonso
is inescapably
flâneurs,
19th-century
figure 2.
Havana Balcony. Courtesyof Susan Thomas.
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222
■ SUSAN THOMAS
sexualizedand genderedportrayalof Havana as a citywho has
explicitly
"relations"withher male occupants.CarlosVarelarefersto boththecity's
promiscuousacceptanceofthosewho enteredherportand ofherfecundity
in his song,"Habáname,"wherehe sings,"La Habana abriósus piernasy
así nací yo."(Havana openedherlegs and thusI was born.)45
StrollingwiththePoetof Havana
Varelais intensely
Perhapsmoreso thananyotherCuban singer-songwriter,
refassociatedwiththeCuban capital.Varela'smusic and lyricsconstantly
blocksofthe
erencethe streetsof Havana, especiallytheleafy,symmetric
Vedado districtwherehe grewup and continuesto live. Called the "Poet
he has been hailedas an urbanchronicler
of Havana"by BeatMagazine,46
bycriticsbothon and offtheisland.Whethersingingofa younggirl'ssuicide by leapingfroma neighboringbalcony("Como un ángel," Comolos
peces,1995), the suddenlyincreasingcrimeand corruptionthatresulted
VafromCuba's headlongentryintothe touristeconomy("Tropicollage,"
relaen vivo,1991)or of stolenprivatemomentstakenwithinthe collective
intimacyof the city("Sombrasen el pared,"Nubes,2000), Varela'ssongs
- societal,
use the local and the deeplypersonalto speak to largertruths
political,and human.
to place thatprovideshis musicwith
It is, in fact,Varela'scommitment
its aestheticand politicalpower.Some of his best knownworks,such as
"JaliscoPark"and "Memorias,"(JaliscoPark,1989) use the cityscapeas
a catalystfor exposés of longing,disillusionment,and brokendreams.
"JaliscoPark,"forexample,uses well knownlandmarksto guidelisteners
past the yellowwall surroundingHavana's Colón Cemeteryto the aging
locatedon thecornerof18thand 23rdstreets.Varela'srecollecplayground
tionofthegoldendaysofa parkthatyearslaterwouldlie rustingand dera pastthatis bothsharedand
elictleads listenersto remembernostalgically
the
one
like
a
lost, past that,
experiencedby Benjamin'sflâneur,"always
remainsthepastofa youth."47
Varela'sode to theyouthofhis generation,"Memorias,"famouslycalls
to the children's
up the icons of Cuban childhoodin the 1970s, referring
cartooncharacterElpidioValdés, Soviet-madetelevisionsets,and the rationedallocationoftoys.In theopeningstanzaof"Memorias,"Varela'suse
oftheneighborofurbanspace is general,focusingon thetranstemporality
theslowpace oftruesociopoliticalchange:
hood curbto illustrate
Estoysentadoen el contendel barrio
como hace un sigloatrás
a vecesme pasan en la radio,
a vecesnada más.
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MusicalCartographies
oftheTransnational
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 223
I'm sitting
on theneighborhood
curb
like
a
just
century
ago
sometimes
theyplaymeontheradio
sometimes
notanymore.
On his 2003 album,Siete,Varelawouldrevisitthesame curbin "El
humodel tren,"a fastpaced,timba-inñuenced
numberthatfeatures
the
CubandancebandLosVanVan.Theuse ofpopularCubandancemusicis
a departure
fromVarela'smoreinternational
rockballadstyle,
andVarela's
reference
totheearliersong'slyrics
intheopening,
"Heyman,sentadoen
el conten,(Heyman,sitting
on thecurb)"consciously
callsup thestylistic
difference
as wellas thedecadeand a halfthatseparatesthetwosongs.
If "Memorias"
affirms
in thesharedpleasures
post-revolutionary
identity
andtraumas
ofa childhood
isolation
andglobalization,
"El
caughtbetween
humodeltren"is a recognition
thatwhileso manymorefriends
haveleft
forothershores,thatcurbhasn'tbudged,and Varelacritiques
those(inwho
continue
to
observe
from
its
cludinghimself)
perch.48
Thealbumitself
is a study
incontrasts,
thethicktexture
and
juxtaposing
danceaesthetic
ofthecollaboration
withLosVanVan,sparearrangements
forvoiceandacousticguitar,
andthesonorities
andrhythmic
of
regularity
rockandroll.References
tothecityofHavanaarewoventhrough
theentire
threadthatbindstogether
thediversesonic
album,becominga thematic
textures
atthesametimethatittiesSietetothesixalbumsthatcamebefore.
Sietealso represents
an overtrecognition
ofthefactthatVarela'spopular
successhas as muchtodo withhisinternational
reachas itdoeswithhis
localsensibilities,
andthealbumwas aggressively
marketed
abroad.One
ofthemostinternationally
visibleCubanartists,
Varelaroutinely
travels
outsideofCuba,concertizing
the
Americas
in
and
throughout
Europe.49
Audiences
forhisperformances
includelargenumbers
ofrelocated
young
adultswhoseyouthexperience
in Cubain the1980sand1990swasindeliblymarked
byVarela'smusic.50
Likethenostalgic
written
Varela'ssongsprestravelogues
bytheflâneur,
enturbanlifeas "before
allelsea system
inwhicheventhemosttrivofsigns
ial phenomenon
is replete
withmeaning,"
thatcan,whenlinkedtogether,
"disclosea universeofsignificance."51
In a 2004 interview,
Varelanoted
thattheintimate
and localcharacter
ofhis songsis a metaphor
through
whichmoreuniversal
messagescanbe understood.
Se notala perspectiva,
sobretodoen los textosde las cancionesque ai
tenían
unamiradamásde fotògrafo
localyconlosaños
principio
quizás
a
descubrir
con
unavisiónun pocomásuniversal,
aprendes
que la soledad,que la nostalgia,
que las rabias,que las ilusionesylas desilusiones
sonigualesencualquier
ciudad.O sea,da igualque sea NuevaYork,
que
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224
■ SUSAN THOMAS
sea La Habana,que sea Moscú.Inevitablemente
estovieneconlosaños,
conla madurezy conla posibilidad
inclusoque te da tambiénmirara
tupaísdesdeafuera.
Teda unavisiónmuchomásabierta
ymásextensa
de la realidaden la que vives,poreso cuandoescuchaslos discostedas
conla realidadcubana.
cuentaque haytextos
que siguenconectados
Onenotestheperspective,
in
the
textsofsongsthatin the
especially
of
a
local
andwith
had
the
perhaps
viewpoint
beginning
photographer,
to
discover
that
lonetheyearsyoulearn,witha moreuniversal
vision,
in
arethesame every
liness,nostalgia,
fury,
hope,anddisillusionment
this[unwhether
itbe NewYorkorHavanaorMoscow.Inevitably,
city,
withmaturity,
andalsowiththeposcomeswiththeyears,
derstanding]
fromtheoutside,thisgives
thatyoucan also see yourcountry
sibility
inwhich
ofthereality
youa visiona lotmoreopenandmoreextensive
youlive,that'swhywhenyoulistentothealbumsyourealizethatthere
toCubanreality.52
arethemesthatstayconnected
thespiritofthe Parisianflâneur,
RichardBurton,
writes,
channeling
whichseemsto apply
a statement
"Toutpourmoi devientallégorie/'53
his oeuvre,he
ofHavana.Throughout
equallywellto Varela'streatment
utilizesdetailed
references
tolocalplacestosignify
personalrelationships,
stance.Varela'suse ofplaceand
orsocialcritique,
orphilosophical
political
canbe seenin "Ahora
as
a
for
the
human
experience
geography metaphor
from
his
están
cambiando
de
color"
los
que mapas
1992album,Monedas
en el aire.Composedfollowing
thecollapseofthe SovietUnion,Varela
ofoutdated
international
usestheboundaries
mapsas wellas thephysical
The musicitself
as a politicalallegory.
boundaries
of Havana'scityscape
themostextreme
andis perhaps
crossesgeo-aesthetic
boundaries,
example
ofVarela'sappropriation
ofan international
sound,withcleartexpop-rock
turalandtimbrai
allusionstothemusicofStingandFitoPáez.
Ahoraque los mapas estáncambiandode color(excerpt)
CarlosVárela
[...i
cabezas
Estánquemandoloslibros,estáncortando
las cartassobrela mesa.
Estánponiendoen peligro
estánvaciandomercados
en la tierra,
Estálloviendo
el pasado
Estánjugandoa la guerra
yestánborrando
de color.
Ahoraque los mapasestáncambiando
Chino
Cementerio
Creoque estavezveotudestino
Y abrirán
tusviejaspuertasde unavez
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MusicalCartographies
City:MappingHavana in Song «
oftheTransnational
225
Color
NowthattheMapsareChanging
[■••]
offheads
books,cutting
They're
burning
tablein danger
on
the
the
cards
They're
putting
areempty
themarkets
ontheearth,
It'sraining
is
and
the
war
past beingerased
They're
playing
color.
Nowthatthemapsarechanging
ChineseCemetery
I thinkthatthistimeI seeyourdestiny
Andyourolddoorswillopenonceagain.
fromthegeneraltothelocal,as he movesfromthe
Here,Varelatravels
globalupheavalscausedbythefalloftheIronCurtaintothemetaphoric
of
His merging
openingoftheirongatesto Havana'sChineseCemetery.
withan imagethatrecalls
ofpolitical
thegraphic
representation
geography
The Cementerio
is striking.
thepoliticsoflocalhumangeography
Chino,
intheyearsfollowtheexodusofHavana'sChinesepopulation
closedafter
markers
is oneoftheisland'smostpoignant
geographic
ingtherevolution,
ofitscurrent
reality.54
diasporic
(See Figure3.)
figure 3. Cementerio
Chino(withgatesopen!).Courtesy
ofAbilioEstévez.
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226
■ SUSAN THOMAS
in "Ahora
In hisreferences
tothegatesoftheChineseCemetery
que los
in
boats
or
to
the
ruined
cambian
de
Park,"Varela
color,"
"Jalisco
mapas
of
with
the
of
the
local
material
connects
community
ephemeral
metaphors
Cuban
with
Varela'
s
connection
who
visit
such
Cubans
spacesonlyaurally.
on theislandis
andfamily
tofriends
émigrésandwiththeirrelationship
such
as "Fotode
andpersonal.
artistic,
Songs
simultaneously
professional,
holthe
Park"callup
and "Jalisco
"Detrásdel cristal,"
familia,"
exquisite
endured
lownessofseparation
ylosque están"(those
by"losque se fueron
thatleftandthosethatarehere).55
Generation
The Transnational
aestotherather
A generation
ofmusiciansgrewup listening
oxymoronic
local
soundandtheintimate,
theticcreatedbytheworldly,
cosmopolitan
and others.ArmessageofthemusicofCarlosVarela,GerardoAlfonso,
sankinto
as
Cuba's
in
the
on
the
scene
economy
just
early
1990s
riving
and inmaterial
faced
musicians
the"SpecialPeriod,"
heightened
young
social
a
which
Their
stitutional
music,
sharp-edged
merged
challenges.
soundsanda heightfusionofinternational
criticism
witha cosmopolitan
nichecredid noteasilyfilltheinstitutional
ened senseofdanceability,
inthe
musicians
and
stretched
atedfornuevatrova,
by
challenged
already
and
institutional
of
Havana's
the
apparatus unLacking support
1980s.56
number
an
themselves
orsupport
abletorecord
financially,overwhelming
lefttheislandfora multitude
ofthisgeneration
ofthesinger-songwriters
withmusiciansinvarious
acrossdistances
ofdestinations.57
Collaborating
Cubanaudifor
write
and
musicians
these
locations,
perform a primarily
as thatofthemusiciansthemselves.
encewhose"place"is as ephemeral
withan acute
theircareers
in Havanahavedeveloped
Thosewhoremained
relationwiththeoutsideworld,
awareness
ofandparticipation
cultivating
music
with
international
labels,traveling
Europeandthe
throughout
ships
with
Cuban
and
collaborate
to
record
and
Americas, continuing
colleagues
whomovedabroad.58
basednotso muchon
Thesemusicianscan be categorized
together
andmusiof
ethos
a
shared
as
on
musical
or
experimentalism
style
genre
anda
critical
and socially
ofentertaining
a combination
cal fusion,
lyrics,
worldwith
a
is
blended
that
identification
of
local
sense
(Cuban)
strong
Whilesome
contacts.
andcultural
viewmarked
migration
bytransnational
ofthis
themusicians
todescribe
tousetheterm"trovador"
continue
critics
toas
referred
them
to
see
common
it
is
increasingly
generation, becoming
In
a
Cuban
as
translates
which
cantautores, literally
"singer-songwriters."
ofmusicalstylesthat
ofa variety
to thecreators
refers
cantautor
context,
thatthetermcarries
inference
with
"man
the
far
guitar"
go beyond simple
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MusicalCartographies
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 227
oftheTransnational
thatwhiletheterm
in English.
Cultural
criticDennysMatosacknowledges
it
is
useful
to
themusic
somewhat
seem
distinguish
ambiguous,
might
both
on
and
offtheisCuban
musicians
made
bycontemporary
being
more
to
substance
than
of
earlier
trovadores.59
from
that
land
Referring
cantautor
is
a
much
wider
and
flexible
of
the
Matos'
s conception
to style,
Itis notsimilarities
ofgenrethatconthanis typically
imagined.
category
or diasporicsensibilbutrather
a sortoftransnational
necttheseartists,
observed
withthe"insularconsciousness"
byFernández
itythatcontrasts
thetransnaThus Matoscan grouptogether
in thepreviousgeneration.
likeOrishas(basedin Paris)andNiloMC (basedin
tionalhiphopofartists
X Alfonso,
the
ofHavana-based
withthedigitalexperimentation
Madrid),
fusionsofDescemerBueno,alongwithsongretrobolerosandworldbeat
withmoretraditional
acousticguitarorrockformat
whoperform
writers
accompaniment.60
Madrid
MusicalIdentities,
In Postnational
IgnacioCoronaandAlejandro
on
and
writethatchangesin production,
marketing, experience
brought
"turn"
have
caused
the
or
transnational
the
relationships
by postnational
betweenmarginand centerto be renegotiated,
raisingquestionsregardin a globalized
andidentities
performed
ing"howaudiencesareimagined
and
new
ofcitimusic
reflects
reflects
how
upon
economy;
understandings
how
it
as
a
site
of
the
works
resistance
nation-State;
zenshipbeyond
against
of
andhowthenetworks
ornationalist
formsofoppression;
globalization
distribution
andconsumption
become
musicproduction,
may(ormaynot)
sitesofidentification."61
postnational
intermsofethos
Cubanmusicmaking
contemporary
Reconceptualizing
intransforming
music'sagency
hithangenreallowsus torecognize
rather
is meaningful
ofspaceand place.Music,MartinStokeswrites,
erarchies
identibecauseit"provides
themeansbywhichpeoplerecognize
precisely
thatseparatethem."62
tiesand spaces,andtheboundaries
Makingmusic
ofbothCubanstateinstitutions
andthemultinational
muonthemargins
sicindustry,
Cuban
and
their
borderless
Cuban
contemporary songwriters,
an effort
toconstruct
a cultural
andcosmopolitan
cubania
fans,represent
thatlooksawayfromthestalepolemicsthathadpreviously
Cuban
framed
nationalist
identity.
The Paris-basedgroupOrishasoffersan excellentexampleof how
Cubanmusicianshavenegotiated
theseboundaries,
comcontemporary
withdefiant
biningcosmopolitanism
displaysoflocalurbanknowledge
to situatethemselves,
and theirlisteners,
withinan increasingly
widencubania.One ofthemostinternationally
successful
ing,diasporic
groups
ofitsgeneration,
Orishaswas formedin Francebyformer
membersof
theHavanarapgroupAmenaza.The groupis oftencitedforitsfusing
ofhip-hopbeatswiththemelodiccontoursof Cubansonand rhythms
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228
■ SUSAN THOMAS
andguaguancó
andothersecular
batadrumming
drawnfromAfro-Cuban
in its
dancestyles.Theirfirstalbum,A lo cubano(2000), is remarkable
their
Parisian
of Havana'scityscape,
incessantretracing
authenticating
oftheCubancapital,both
theirexhaustive
knowledge
productthrough
the
tracks
on A locubano,10refer
Of
and
15
geographically linguistically.
with
severalnumbers,
such
to
the
of
or
city Havana,
explicitly implicitly
a
central
the
and
its
as "Barrio"
and"537C.U.B.A."making city
geography
focusofthelyrics.
totheinternational
dialingcode
"537C.U.B.A,"thetitleofwhichrefers
thecityofHavanafromabroad(53is thecountry
usedtotelephone
code,7
andlongingfeltby
offrustration
is thecodeforHavana),is an expression
to pursuetheirlivesin thediaspora.The title'sconflation
Cubansforced
oftheways
local(7) is indicative
ofthenational(C.U.B.A.)withthestrictly
thatartists
livingoutsideofCubahaveused Havanaas a signforthenaofnostalgia.
Thesongis basedonthe
tionandas a sitefortheconstruction
ofFrancisco
harmonic
Repilado'ssong"ChanChan,"which
progression
thereleaseoftheBuenaVista
achievedinternational
popularity
following
ofRepilado's
SocialClubalbumin1997.In "537C.U.B.A,"thecitation
song
ora
Orisha'sworkin Cubantradition
is morethana toolto authenticate
love
affair
with
market's
on
the
international
to
Ry
attempt capitalize
savvy
musicalandfilmic
successful
CooderandWimWenders's
produchighly
tions."ChanChan"is also used as a signforthemigratory
experience,
a Cuetovoy
andwhileitschorus,"De AltoCedrovoyparaMarcané/Luego
LaterI go fromCuetoto
paraMayarí(I go fromAltoCedroto Marcane/
tale
of
a traveling
the
is
never
cited,
migrant
longsong's
explicitly
Mayari)"
door
a
woman
to
to
a
return
opens metaphoric forOrishas'exploraing
of
Orishasplayofftheruralassociations
tionoftheirowndiasporic
reality.
that
calls
with
a
chorus
of
"Chan
thesonoriental
Chan,"
up images
style
wellin keeping
ofnationalism
a representation
oftheCubancountryside,
musicalstylethatgivesthepieceitsharmonic
withtheearly20th-century
foundation.
Vengode dondehayun río
Tabacoycañaveral
Dondeel sudordelguajiro
sonar63
Hacea la tierra
I comefromwherethere'sa river
tobaccoandcanefields
wherethesweatofthepeasant
makestheearthsound
urban.
fora Cubathatis explicitly
Theraps,however,
expressa longing
"flotando
as
homeland
distant
for
the
The anguished
expressed
nostalgia
I go,
el mapade estemundo(Floating
andopasandomanoa mano/sobre
in
clithe
overflows
of
this
the
hand
over
over
hand
world),"
map
moving
iterawith
an
over
Yotuel's
as
of
the
final
verse
mactic
urgent
rapspills
song
tionofHavana'scityscape.
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MusicalCartographies
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 229
oftheTransnational
CayoHueso,San Leopoldo,
BuenaVista,Miramar,
La Victoria,
Alamar,
HabanaVieja,BarrioNuevo,
Bejucal.
¿Dóndeestástú,mi Rampa?
El Solque Canta,
La Catedral,
se levanta.
el Capitolio
Que he oidode estascosas,
23y12,Vedado,PaseodelPrado,
tusleonesladoa lado
forman
partede mistradiciones,
misemociones
ErestúmiCuba,
Comotúninguna.64
CayoHueso,San Leopoldo,
BuenaVista,Miramar,
La Victoria,
Alamar,
HabanaVieja,BarrioNuevo,
Bejucal.
Whereareyou,myRampa
El Solque Canta,
TheCathedral,
TheCapitolrisesup
I'veheardofthesethings
23y12,Vedado,PaseodelPrado,
yourlionssidebyside
formpartofmytraditions,
myemotions
YouaremyCuba
there'sno onelikeyou.
us in morethan
reminds
Middleton
as Richard
us,grounds
Repetition,
is literal,usingthereand heretheattempted
one sense,65
grounding
a remembered
within
andlistener
peatedplacenamestolocatebothartist
a
critical
are
of
urban
revisitations
Such
partof
space
cityscape. repetitive
a
sense
also
but
of
a
sense
not
and
place,
remembering maintaining just
artist
CubanAmerican
In MilkofAmnesia,
ofCubanidentity.
performance
remembrances:
of
such
the
on
remarks
Carmelita
importance
Tropicana
I wouldlie awake
I used to playa gamein bed.Aboutremembering.
theway
I'd remember
in mybedbeforegoingto sleepandremember.
doorofmyhouse,cross
house.I'd startatthefront
tomybestfriend's
houseon
The first
theporch.Jumpoffthreestepsontothesidewalk.
The
therightlookedjustlikemyhouseexceptithadonlyonebalcony.
thirdhousewas great.Youcouldn'tsee it.Itwas hiddenbya walland
sniffed
I'd lookin,theGermanshepherd
treesand shrubs.Whenever
three
me andbarkedme outofhisturf.I'd continue
crossing
walking,
I did
house.
friend's
best
to
I
came
until
two
blocks
streets,
my
walking
one
But
then
remember.
I
would
so I wouldn't
thisrepeatedly
day
forget.
I don'tknowwhathappened.Sometimepassed
I forgot
to remember.
thethirdblock,thenthesecond.NowI can
and I couldn'tremember
I'veforgotten.66
house.
to
the
third
walk
only
ofHavanacanthusserveas an aidforimagrepresentations
Cartographic
oflocal
urbanmarkers
outparticular
the
or
pointing
ining reimagining city,
the
same
in
the
and
listeners
For
musicians
cartographic
diaspora,
identity.
onto
canalsobe usedtomapmeaninganda senseofbelonging
discourse
newlocales.KelvisOchoa'ssong,"Cuandosalí de La Habana,"fromthe
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230
■ SUSAN THOMAS
Habana Abiertaalbum24 horas,uses thesame strategies
employ
songwriters
realto map Havanato situatebothartistand listenerin a new,transnational
the
a
sort
of
screen
view
of
Cuban
The
offer
experience,
ity.67 song'slyrics
split
Havanaand thesecondMadrid.The Havana
withthefirst
halfremembering
and ephemeraldescribedin thefirstpartofthesongexpressesthemobility
s
out
the
of
human
Ochoa'
citynotin physical
memorymaps
ity
geography,
a
landmarksbutin peopleand in sound.Introduced
by melodydrawnfroma
Russianchildren's
cartoonpopularin Havanain the1970s,theopeninglyrics
listenin on Havana'ssoundscape(salsa. . . again)beforerecounting
particular
at a
humaninteractions
(a fightbetweenpolicemen,poetPinolimprovising
Havanaitself(and
localjam). Conjuredas a collectionofmemoryfragments,
curbacrosswhichpeopleand sounds
laterMadrid)becomesa transtemporal
fromThomasTweed'sstudyof
fleetingly
pass. ReinaldoRomán,borrowing
and "translocative"
writesthat"[t]ranstemporal,"
diasporicCuban identities,
dispracticesmap the "natallandscapes"ontonew locationsand transport
placedpeoplesto a timebeforetheyweretornfromtheirnativeplaces,orto
aredeterritorithefuture
thereturnhome.In theseways,identities
following
elsewhere.68
and constituted
alized,renderedportable,
is preciselywhatoccursin "Cuando salí
This kindofdeterritorialization
de La Habana,"foras Ochoa leaves Havana forMadrid,thetextengagesin
a new mappingexercise,plottingout streets,plazas, and clubs in Madrid,
that mirrorsthe cartographicsongwritingpracticestypicallyassociated
withHavana.
Cuando salí de La Habana
(excerpt)
When I LeftHavana
KelvisOchoa
Madridcon su intensaPuertadel
Sol
(Montera,luego La Palma)
Armandouna bulla en el Suristán
Vanitose huracanaba
Pasamos el veranito(so-so)
Octubrese ostinaba
Flotandoen el aire,aquel friopicó
El gorriónque otravez se chocaba
Teniendoyoque decir
Hace caloren La Habana mi
hermana
Cuéntamede Madrid
MadridwithitsintensePuertadel
Sol
(Montera,laterLa Palma)
Makinga ruckusin the Suristán
Vanitowas a huricane
We passed thesummer(so-so)
Octobergotobstinate
floatingin theair,thecold struck
theswallow(nostalgia)thatcrashed
again
and I had to say
It's hotin Havana,sister,
Tellme aboutMadrid
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MusicalCartographies
oftheTransnational
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 231
ofnew
Ochoa'smapofMadridis a transparent
one,a superimposition
ontopofoldermemories
andwaysofknowurbanspacesandexperiences
reis thusa gamelikeCarmelita
Tropicana's
ing.His poeticgeography
whose
to remember
a Havana
yetratherthanattempting
membering,
Ochoa'scareful
blurred
detailsarealready
cartographic
(itis simply
"hot"),
ofMadridevidences
a desireto name;to callstreets,
construction
plazas,
or believable
and clubsbytheirpropernames,thusmaking"habitable
Cubanmusitheplace thattheyclothewitha word."69
Contemporary
thecityno longerconstruct
theflaneur's
modernist
cians'strolls
through
in whichwalking
in thecitysignified
beingawayfromhome.70
paradigm
serves
"home"is constructed
thecity,
andurbanorientation
Rather,
through
tocounteract
territorial
displacement.
is notexceptional
Ochoa'sexercise
amongCubanmusicians
livinginthe
Ela
Ruiz's
album
Ábreme
la
Madrid-based
diaspora.
2004
singer-songwriter
odes
to
her
natal
Havana
and
her
is
anchored
byjuxtaposed
city
puerta
themadrileño
barrio
newplaceofresidence,
her"madrede adopción,"
as
"the
marked
ofLavapiés.Ela herself
describes
that
"Lavapiés"
my
song
arrivalto thiscountry,"
thenew cityscape's
reproductive
acknowledging
ofherdiasporic
a neighborhood
identity.71
Lavapiés,
powerin thecreation
ofimmigrants,
has alsobeenthesubjectofmusicalwalkabouts
byGema
figure 4. Habana Abierta,
posinginfrontoftheLavapiésmetroin Madrid.
Courtesy
ofVanitoCaballero.
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232
«
SUSAN THOMAS
andPavelandNiloMC,anditfigured
in thepublicity
prominently
photofor
Habana
s
first
tour
of
the
United
Abierta'
Statesin 2003,with
graphs
bandmembersposingin front
oftheneighborhood's
metrostation(see
Figure4).
Superimposed
mapsand geographical
playare also at workin Gema
and Pavel'ssong"De NuevaYorka La Habana,"whichappearson their
A doubledisccollection
thatalsoincludesa book
2003album,ArtBembé.72
thealbum'sprojectincludesthe
visualart,essays,and poetry,
containing
collaboration
of Cubanmusicianslivingin Havana,Miami,NewYork,
and MadridMusically,
ArtBembéis a testament
to hybridity,
mixingthe
andguaguancós
withfunk,
soundsofAfrocuban
chants,boleros,
religious
theMadridsubway
and
andborrowed
soundsfrom
flamenco,
soul,hip-hop
In thistrack,
PavelUrkizarevealsa deeply
Havanasidewalks.
songwriter
in defining
in theroleofcitygeographies
seatedinterest
andfascination
thecontemporary
Cubanexperience,
andhe openlyplayswiththesuperalludedtobyde Certeau.
imposedpoeticgeographies
De NuevaYorka La Habana
FromNewYorkto Havana
Gema y Pavel
(ArtBemhe,2003)
Se rompióel tambor
unatardedeldomingo
en la
EsquinaHabanera
la rumbase
NewJersey
tembló,
pusobuena
las penas
yse olvidaron
de aquellasrumbas
yse merecordé
en el Central
Park
consartenes
ybotellas
Micaela!
esa
linda
¡Ay
y
dóndehabrásidoa parar?
se fuela rumba
Contigo
delParqueCentral
yel recuerdo
Thedrumming
began
inthe
one Sundayafternoon
EsquinaHabanera
NewJersey
shook,therumbagot
really
good
theirsorrows
andeverybody
forgot
thoserumbas
andI remembered
in Central
Park
andbottles
withskillets
andthatpretty
Micaela,ayMicaela!
wheredidyouendup?
withyouwenttherumba
Park
ofCentral
andthememory
Cuandoeraniña
reunidos
tocabanlosrumberos
WhenI wasa girl
and
therumberos
gottogether
played
ofPradoandOficios,
onthecorner
Thecomparsa
playedfromthe
Malecón
toCentral
Park,whatemotion!
en la esquinade PradoyOficios
la
desdeel Malecónarrancaba
comparsa
arrollando
que
pal ParqueCentral,
emoción!
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MusicalCartographies
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 233
oftheTransnational
Que borrachera,
amanecer
entrePradoyNeptuno
la rumbayla gentebuena
el cajónyla
yno puedoolvidar
rumba
sonándome
adentro
yla clave
llevando
el compásde miguaguancó
Whatdrunkenness
toseethedawnbetweenPradoand
Neptuno
therumbaandgoodpeople
andI can'tforgot
thecajónandthe
rumba
within
meandtheclave
sounding
thebeatofmyguaguancó
carrying
(coro)
Del Central
Park
al ParqueCentral
la rumbano tienepa' cuando
acabar
De NuevaYorka La Habana
Columbia
pa' los que tienenganas
de bailar.
(chorus)
FromCentral
Park
totheParqueCentral
therumba'snotgoingtostop
FromNewYorktoHavana
Columbia
forthosewhofeellike
dancing
theNewYorkmetropolitan
Here,therearethreelevelsoftranslocality:
- Madrid.New
not
referenced
but
area,Havana,and,
clearlyinferred
commercial
Habanera
becomes
a
literal
Havana
street
corJersey's
Esquina
neras Urkizawrites
his recuerdos
in yetanother
distant
rincón.
Thesound
oftheguaguancó
functions
as a mnemonic
device,yetthemusicnotonly
callsup memory;
itsvibrations
crossoverthemultivalent
of
boundaries
bothtimeand space,recalling
notonlythedistantrumbasof Havana's
butalsothefamousCentral
Parkrumbaswhichwereshut
ParqueCentral,
downbytheauthorities
in1999.
Musicalcartographies
are ephemeral,
quickto dissipateand decay,
sureto fracture
andmultiply.
"Cadaventanaes un dibujodiferente
de La
Habana(eachwindowis a different
ofHavana,)"singGemaand
drawing
Pavelintheirsong"Domingoa.m."73
Equallytheycouldhavesaidthateach
a different
thelistener
toexplore
the
songoffers
mapofHavana,allowing
thecityas sound,thecityas lostdream,as future
cityas person,
possibility,
as a seriesofstairsandstreets
andasphaltandrubble.Astheroutestoand
fromthecitybecomeincreasingly
andwell-traveled,
it
numerous,
twisted,
willbe interesting
to viewhowCubanmusiciansnegotiate
thechanging
transnational
city
scapeinthecomingyears.
Notes
1. WalterBenjamin,"FromThe ArcadesProject,"in TheBlackwellCityReader,
ed. GaryBridgeand Sophie Watson (Maiden, MA: Blackwellpublishing,2002),
398.
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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
234
»
SUSAN THOMAS
2. "You resembleHavana." LyricsfromCarlosVarela's song, "Detrásdel crisin thisarticleare bytheauthor.
tal,"Siete(2003). Alltranslations
and a ProgressiveSense ofPlace,"in Map3. DoreenMassey,"Power-Geometry
ping the Futures:Local Cultures,Global Change, ed. Jon Bird, et al, (London: Rout-
ledge,1993),65.
4. AnthonyD. King, Boundaries,Networks,and Cities: Playingand Replaying Diasporas and Cities," in Urban Imaginaries: Locatingthe Modern City,ed. Alev
ofMinnesotaPress,2007), 10.
Çinarand Thomas Bender(University
5. John Gillies, Shakespeare and the Geographyof Difference(Cambridge: Cam-
Press,1994), 54. Quoted in Rhonda Lemke Sanford,Maps and
bridgeUniversity
Memoryin EarlyModern England: A Sense ofPlace. (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 3.
6. Tom Conley, The SelfMade Map: CartographicWritingin Early Modern France
ofMinnesotaPress,1996), 20. Quotedin Sanford,4.
(Minneapolis:University
7. Sanford,4.
8. AntonioEligioFernández(Tonel),"The Island,theMap,theTravelers:Notes
2 29/3 (2002), 81-93.
on RecentDevelopmentsin Cuban Art,"boundary
in Postmodern
Geographies:
9. EdwardSoja, "History:Geography:Modernity,"
The Reassertionof Space in CriticalSocial Theory(New York: Verso, 1989), 11
10. Fernández,84. Such dialoguewas anticipatedtwodecades earlierin the inheld in Havana
ternationalist
Conference,
objectivesoftheOSPAAALTricontental
in 1966.
11. Fernández,80.
on theinternet,
12. Listsofsongsdedicatedto Cuba's capitalcityproliferate
parof
Cuban
deal
the
on
sites
or
that
émigrés.See, forexexperiences
ticularly
blogs
ample,El Yoyo'sblog "Jinetero ¿ y qué?" http://www.conexioncubana.net/blogs/
and "La Habana a tododolor"http://
yoyo/2007/09/oi/cien-canciones-a-la-habana/
(theblog's titleis drawnfromVanitoCaballero's
lahabanatodocolor.blogspot.com/
anthem"Habana a todocolor,"recordedon Habana Abierta's1999 album,24 horas.
(bothsitesaccessed Feb. 20, 2009)
13. Vicenzo Pernaoffersvaluableinsightin the developmentof timbaas a speurban,Havana-centric
genre.Vicenzo Perna,Timba:The SoundofCuban
cifically
Crisis(London:Ashgate,2005).
oí CaliLife(Berkeley:University
14. Michelde Certeau,ThePracticeofEveryday
forniaPress,1988),108.
"Músicosde Cuba y del mundo:Nadie se va del todo"
15. JoaquínBorges-Triana,
piece won an HonorableMentionawardin the Temas
(Fragmento).Borges-Triana's
magazine essay contest,2004. Availableat http://www.temas.cult.cu/premio.php
(accessedDec. 1,2007).
fromthefirstand secondgenerationsofthe
16. Therewere,ofcourse,trovadores
nuevatrovamovementwho also drewon ruralmusical influences.AlbertoFalla,
and AlbertoTosca standoutin thisregard,and thestylizedsones
PedroLuis Ferrer,
on Pablo Milanés' successivealbums,Años (1980), Años II (1986), and Años III
(1992),notablycovermanyoftheclassicsofthevieja trova,unmaskingRyCooder
and WimWenders's1999 ratherfraudulent
attemptto presentsuch musicas "lost"
nation.
in
island
to those thesocialist
in Cuban Nuevatrova,1905-1995, htnnomusicoiogy
17. Moore, Transformations
47/1(2003): 1-41.
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MusicalCartographies
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 235
oftheTransnational
18. I do notmean to suggestthatotherCuban citiesdid nothavetheirown floweringofsinger-songwriters
duringtheseyears.The cityofSantaClara,in particular,
traditionthatcontinuesto thisday.Nationalsuccess,
developeda richsongwriting
however,has requiredrelocationto Havana or at least the investmentof considerable timein itsculturalinstitutions.
19. A list of "provincial"trovadoreswhose careerswere cementedin Havana
includes Silvio Rodriguez(San Antoniode los Baños), Pablo Milanés (Bayamo),
TeresaFernández(Santa Clara),AugustoBlanco (Banes, Holguin),and PedroLuis
similarmigrationshave markedthe careersof
Ferrer(Yanguaji).More recently,
KelvisOchoa (Isla de la Juventud),
VanitoCaballero Brown (Santiagode Cuba),
RaúlTorres(Matanzas),and AldoAntonioGarcía(Pinardel Rio).
20. Moore.20-2Ç.
21. Cuban music criticshave also stressedthemedievalassociationsoftheword
"trovador,"
playingup the associationbetweenthe strollingplayersof feudalEuto themas
ropeand thepost-revolutionary
poet-musiciansand frequently
referring
"iudares"or minstrels.
22. Moore pointsout the forcednatureof creatinga historiclineage thatlinks
nueva trovaartistswithsinger-songwriters
fromtheturnofthe 20th-century,
noting thatthe highlyeducatedtrovadoresof the 1960s and 1970s inhabiteda sociomusicians
politicalpositiondistinctfromthatofthelargelyilliterate,
working-class
ofcolorwho formedthebulkofvieja trovamusicians.Moore,5. It is interesting
to
note,however,thatit is the vieja trova,ratherthanits "successor,"thatexhibitsa
sense ofspace. Songslike FranciscoRepilado'sfamous"Chan Chan,"forexample,
documentthemigratory
experienceofmanyruralCubans in theearly20thcentury.
23. Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviewsand Other Writings,
1972-1977,ed. Colin Gordon(NewYork,NY: PantheonBooks,1980), 70.
24. Quoted in Clara Díaz, Sobrela guitarra,la voz (Havana: LetrasCubanas,
1994), 270.
25. The 20th floorof the Havana Hilton,laternamed the Hotel Habana Libre,
becamethecommandand controlcenterin theearlydaysoftherevolution.
26. TrovadorAmauryPerez's twice-recorded
ode to Havana, "La Habana mía,"
in the
(Licenciasdel Otoño1996; Amordifícil,
1998) can be viewedas participating
populartrendforHavana songsin themid 1990s, ratherthanbeingseen as typical
ofthenuevatrovamovement.
27. Lyricsfromtwo of the most famouslove songs fromthe nuevatrovaera:
"El breveespacio en que no está,"by Pablo Milanés,and "Oleo de mujercon sombrero,"by Silvio Rodríguez.This analysisdraws froman unpublishedpaper by
Susan Thomas,"La eraestápariendo:Re/producing
SexualPoliticsin Cuban Nueva
trova"Paperpresentedat FeministTheoryand Music 8. CUNY GraduateCenter
and New YorkUniversity,
New York,NewYork,June25, 2005.
28. See, forexample,thereactionsofmoretraditional
trovadorasRitaRibadavia
and Heidi Igualadatothedancemusic-influenced
workofHabana Abiertain Susan
in ContemThomas,"Did NobodyPass theGirlstheGuitar?Queer Appropriations
poraryCuban PopularSong,"JournalofPopularMusicStudies18/2(2006). 128-129.
29. While these artistsdevelopedtheircareersand personal styles(as well as
theirfanbases) in the 1980s, the combinationof difficult
materialconditionson
theislandand institutional
inertiaslowedtheproductionoftheirrecordings,
which
This content downloaded from 95.183.184.6 on Tue, 29 Apr 2014 08:33:15 AM
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236
■ SUSAN THOMAS
onlybegan to appear at the end of the decade. CarlosVarela's firstalbum,Jalisco
Park,forexample,appearedin 1989. All of his subsequentalbums and those of
GerardoAlfonsocame out in the1990s.
30. Benjamin,399.
CityReader,
31. ElizabethWilson,"FromTheSphinxin theCity"in TheBlackwell
419.
on Cities,ed. EleonoreKofmanand ElizabethLebas
Writings
32. HenriLefebvre,
(Oxford,UK: BlackwellPublishers,1997),103.
18/2
Jameson,"Nostalgiaforthe Present,"SouthAtlanticQuarterly
33. Frederick
(Spring,1989): 517-37.
34. KeithTester,TheFlaneur(London:Routledge,i994),6.
"The InvisibleFlâneuse:Womenand thelitera35. See, forexample,JanetWolff,
Culturee[Society
tureofModernity,"
Theory,
2/3(1985):37-38;GriseldaPollack,"MoFeminism
in Visionand Difference:
and theSpaces ofFemininity,"
Femininity,
dernity
and theHistoryofArt(London:Routledge,1988); JohnTagg,"The Discontinuous
Cultural
and theDiscursiveField,"in Grounds
ofDispute:Art,History,
City:Picturing
ofMinnesotaPress,1989);
Field(Minneapolis:University
Politicsand theDiscursive
ArunaD' Souza and Tom McDonough'seditedvolume,TheInand,morerecently,
Paris.
PublicSpace,and VisualCulturein Nineteenth-Century
visibleFlâneuse?Gender,
Manchester
Press,
2006).
University
(Manchester:
and turnm Weimar
a walle:tlanene,Literature,
3Ò. AnkeGleber,TheArtoj Talcing
Culture(Princeton:PrincetonUniversity
Press,1999), 29.
ofTexasPress,2003).
NewArtofCuba (Austin:University
37. See LuisCamnitzer,
in
Mañach:
del
choteo,"
Ensayos(Havana:
Jorge
38. JorgeMañach, "Indagación
EditorialLetrasCubanas,1999), 50.
of
39. Damián J.Fernández,Cuba and thePoliticsofPassion(Austin:University
TexasPress,2000), 31.
40. JoséMuñoz viewschoteoas partofwhathe termsa criticalcubama. See his
discussionin Disidentifications:
ofPolitics(MinQueersofColorand thePerformance
of
Minnesota,
135-141.
1999), 119-120;
neapolis:University
41. de Certeau,95.
42. Ibid,105.
43. Ibid.,105.
44. Wilson,419.
45. CarlosVarela,Comolospeces(1995).
(Accessed3/1/2009).
46. httpY/www.carlosvarela.com/prensa.asp
47. Benjamin,398.
48. The lyricsto "Memorias"recountsthe memoryof a childhoodfriendtaken
neverto return.
on a boatbyhis father,
49. Varelathus differsfrommanyyoungermusicians,who emigratedto other
countriesto pursuetheircareers.
50. In a 2003 presentationin Madridof his album Siete,forexample,the au80% Cuban. Being in the theaterwas a bit
dience appearedto be approximately
likebeingat a high schoolreunion,as émigréswho had attendedthe "Pré"("preor high school) or University
togethersuddenlyfoundthemselvesreuniversity"
a formeridol.
of
the
music
unitedin anothercountry
by
This content downloaded from 95.183.184.6 on Tue, 29 Apr 2014 08:33:15 AM
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
MusicalCartographies
City:MappingHavana in Song ■ 237
oftheTransnational
ofDaily Lifein Paris
51. RichardD.E. Burton,TheFlaneurand His City:Patterns
2.
U.K.:
of
Durham,
University
1994),
(Durham,
1815-1851
withtheauthor.Havana,Cuba. Nov.1,2004.
52. CarlosVarela,interview
becomes allegory."Burton,TheFlaneurand His City,2.
53. "Forme, everything
For an exampleof Varela's allegoricaltreatmentof the city,listento "Detrás del
cristal,"thefinaltrackfromSiete,whichbegins,"Túte parecesa La Habana," (you
resembleHavana). The song maps Havana's landscapeontoa lover,projectingthe
city'stragicdecadenceontoa beautiful,yettroubled,love affair.
54. Havana's Chinese inhabitants,and the neighborhoodthatrecallstheirabsence,is similarlythefocusofGerardoAlfonso'ssong,"BarrioChino"(El ilustrado
caballerode Paris,2001),which,like "Sábanas blancas,"refersto specificstreets.
on Varela's 2003 album Siete.
55. Lyricsfrom"Detrásdel crystal,"
whosesong "Divinoguión"
56. VanitoCabelleroBrownand AlejandroGutiérrez,
about
the
cool
was censoredbythe state-run
media,sing
receptiontheirmusic rein
first
recordedon their1995
ceivedfromtheinstitutional
"Rockasón,"
apparatus
todo,wheretheyperformedas the duo Lucha Almada.Afterbealbum,Entiéndolo
comingpartofthecollectiveknownas Habana Abiertatheylaterincludedthesong
on thegroup'ssecondalbum,24 horas(1999).
Transnational:Locating
57. See Susan Thomas, "Cosmopolitan,International,
Press of
ed. Damián Fernández(University
Cuban Music,"in Cuba Transnational,
Florida,2005), 104-120.
58. Examplesof musicianswho have remainedin Cuba and maintainan internationalprofileincludeYusa,X Alfonso,WilliamVivanco,and thegroupFreehole
Negro,as well as RoberticoCarcasses,whose musical collectiveknownas Interactivohas becomea siteforthemusicalrenegotiation
oftheCuban diaspora.Recently
some artistswho movedabroad in the 1990s have returnedto Cuba, feelingthat
on theislandthanoff.Kelvis
theycan now promotetheircareersmoresuccessfully
Ochoa and David Torrensare primeexamples.
59. Dennys Matos, "Mala vistaanti social club: La joven música cubana," Encuentro
2003-2004), 67. See also JulioFowler'sresponseto
30/31(otoño-invierno
Matos'sarticle,"A propósitode 'Mala vistaantisocial dub': Algunosdesacuerdos,"
Encuentro
33 (verano2004), 255-263.
60. See also JoaquínBorges-Triana,
Concierto
Cubano:La vida es un divinoguión
Ediciones
S.
L.,
(Barcelona:Linkqua
2009).
61. Ignacio Corona and AlejandroMadrid,Postnational
Musical Identities:
CulturalProduction,
and Consumption
in a GlobalizedScenario(Lanham:
Distribution,
LexingtonBooks,2008), ix.The authorsdrawfromMicol Siegel'sworkon comparativehistoryand transnationalism,
"BeyondCompare:ComparativeMethodafter
theTransnational
Review91,no. 1 (2005): 62-90.
Turn/'RadicalHistory
62. MartinStokes,"Music,Ethnicity,
and Identity,"
in Ethnicity,
Music:
Identity,
TheMusicalConstruction
Place
6.
of
(Oxford:Berg,1994),
03. 537C.U.B.A, tromOnshas, A lo cubano(2000).
64. Ibid.
thePopular:On theSubjectsofPopularMusic(Lon65. RichardMiddleton,Voicing
don: Routledge,2006), 137.
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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
238
»
SUSAN THOMAS
66. CarmelitaTropicana,"Milkof Amnesia Lechede amnesia" TDR 39/3 (Autumn1995),94-95.
context,in Susan Thomas, "Cos67. The song is discussedalbeitin a different
Transnational,"110-114.Full lyricsand translationare
mopolitan,International,
included.
68. ReinaldoRomán,"Identitiesand the Cityscape:On Religionand the Mapping of Spaces in the Late Colonyand EarlyCuban Republic,"unpublishedpaper
presentedat the6th CRI Conferenceon Cuban and Cuban AmericanStudies,FlorFeb. 7, 2006.
ida International
University,
de
Certeau,
69.
105.
70. JohnLechte,"(Not)Belongingin PostmodernSpace,"in SophieWatsonand
KatherineGibson,eds., Postmodern
Citiesand Spaces(Blackwell,1994), 103
71. FernanadoMartín,"La cubana Ela une salsa, pop y mestizajeen el disco *Á
brèmela puerta,'"El País, Dec. 31,2004.
72. Forminga duo in 1990, Gema Correderaand PavelUrkizamovedto Madrid,
Spain in 1992 and theirsubsequentfouralbums were recordedthere.In 2007,
Gema movedto the UnitedStates,whilePavelcontinuesto residein Madrid.They
vol.i(2009) and
and tourtogether,
continuetorecord,perform,
releasingDesnudos,
a
Ofrenda Borinquen
(2010).
73. Gema y Pavel,TrampasdelTiempo(1998).
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