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Cuban Troubadour: Singer’s Concert Ban Lifted

08:01 AM Thursday 9/19/13 | |

Famed Cuban troubadour Silvio Rodriguez says authorities have reversed their decision to bar another singer from performing in state-run venues because of his provocative lyrics at a concert last week.

  • Havana Concert

    People attending a concert as part of events marking the 15th anniv. of the U.S. arrest of five Cuban agents.
    September 12, 2013

    (/Cubadebate, Ismael Francisco/AP)

    | 

Rodriguez wrote on his blog Tuesday evening that Culture Ministry officials met earlier in the day with Robertico Carcasses of the Cuban jazz-fusion combo Interactivo. After talks Rodriguez described as positive, the sanction was rescinded.

“They say that by talking, people understand each other,” Rodriguez wrote. “May it always be that way.”

A woman who answered the phone at Carcasses’ home Wednesday said he was not there.

The singer had published a message Monday on Interactivo’s Facebook page saying a performance ban had been imposed on him for an indefinite period.

It came after a nationally televised show last Thursday when, during an improvisational stretch, he sang about his desire for direct presidential elections and more freedom of information.

He also urged Washington to end its embargo against Cuba and free four Cuban intelligence agents imprisoned in the United States, whose cause was the theme of the evening.

The men were convicted on charges including spying on U.S. military installations, but Havana says they were only monitoring violent exile groups and posed no threat to the United States. Their release is a longstanding cause celebre in Cuba.

Carcasses’ lyrics and subsequent punishment set off a lively debate in musical and cultural circles.

Some, including Rodriguez, defended Carcasses’ right to express himself freely, while criticizing the manner in which he did so.

“As a Cuban citizen, Robertico has the right to say what he thinks in his country,” Rodriguez said on his blog. But “it seems to me a regrettable error that he did it in the concert for our anti-terrorist heroes,” as the agents are commonly referred to here.

Singer Conrado Monier was blunter, calling the lyrics “unforgivable.”

“Why, Robertico? What did you want,” Monier said in a letter published by the cultural magazine La Jiribilla. “This humble Cuban musician is going to tell you something: That simply isn’t done.”


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