The best night
On one of my first nights in Baracoa, Cuba, I met Soni, an exceptional dancer. It is one of those nights, that no one of us will forget – and not just because it ends at 4a.m. in the morning, celebrating with the doctor of the city, but because new friendships are being born.
On top of that, unforgettable for me because at some point Soni takes the guitar and starts playing „Yolanda“ by Pablo Milanes. The song makes it directly into my All-Time-Top-10-List. And not just that: in my point of view Soni plays and sings better than most of the musicians around. His voice sounds as if it would be smiling.
Later Soni explains, that he had studied music and used to teach kids. He enjoyed it but stopped doing it, because the salary was just not good enough to make a living. He leaves his job and moves back to Baracoa.
Eventually he mentions that his guitar was stolen in Santiago last year. Now he is saving up to buy a new one – in roundabout 9 to 12 months. A new guitar costs between 50 and 70 CUC.
A musician without his instrument is like…?
Momentarily he sings in a group that performs twice a week. They have the matinee-slot in Casa de la Trova and many times there are very view guests. Since the band is a hobby-group, they don’t get paid but live of the tips they receive. How much that is for a band of 7 with only two or three guests – you do the math.
Meeting Soni is one of those encounters that leave me speechless. Inspite of all the difficulties he is one of the most positive and content people I have ever met.
One of the lines in Yolanda is „ sometimes I know I need your hand“. My friend and I both know, that we wanna give a hand. Each of us puts in 20 CUC so Soni does not have to wait but can get his guitar right away. He does need a guitar. Not just as an artist but to find ways to make some more money.
If you need a dance teacher, a guitar teacher or a recording artist – I will gladly put you in touch.
Tu mano – Your hand
On the day the guitar arrives I meet Soni accidently on my way back home. He does not live in my neighborhood but had just been to my casa. Smiling, he tells me that the guitar has arrived and it is at my house. Together we walk there and I am pretty sure I am more excited and happy than he is.
At my house he picks up the guitar and starts playing. The first song of course is Yolanda. And here is, without any further ado…Soni singing „Yolanda“. Listen, like, share and enjoy!
You will find more Cuban music here.