Friday, July 20, 2007

Musical Apartheid

(Published also at KillCastro)

Caiman Rock, in its third edition by now, is a "rock festival" where the only participants are bands approved by the "cultural arm" of the Union de Jovenes Comunistas, the Asociacion Hermanos Saiz.

Needless to say, it doesn't mean that all the participating musicians are communists. But you can bet your life that no musician whose opposition credentials are clear and that writes, and play anti-government rock anthems is going to be ever allowed in the festival.

The festival stage is located in the "tribuna anti-imperialista" Jose Marti, which has been used by Air Supply, Rick Wakeman -formerly from Yes, Audioslave, and a hodge-podge of Cuban rockers and musicians from other genres.

Among Cuban rockers there's a band that prefers to be condemned to ostracism rather than to play in that tribune, because they don't do anything that could remotely be considered as bending to the government exigences, that band is Porno Para Ricardo.
They are the ABSENT band in the event. They have been left out of all the editions of Caiman Rock. They were not invited to perform, not that they would ever have accepted that invitation from the government.

Porno Para Ricardo is giving the rest of the Cuban musicians a lesson in dignity, on fearlessness, and of course, on how to fill their pants with big cojones.
Porno Para Ricardo will not perform in that tribune, as the place is considered by Gorki as "repulsive". I have to share that consideration with him.
This is what they think of performing in any officially sanctioned event:

Comunistas de la gran escena

Hay tantos comunistas, tantos arribistas
tantos chivatones, tantos fuera e´ vistas
Es tanto el engaño, tanta la locura
son tantos los años que el miedo es cultura
Porno pa´ ricardo no toca en la tribuna
hasta cuando la mentira de la dictadura
Porno pa´ Ricardo no saluda la bandera
de los comunistas de la gran escena.

Yo ya perdí el miedo, yo ya caí preso
ya solo me quedan unos cuantos huesos
desde aquí arriba el tirano te mira
le estás siguiendo el juego pa´ que nos oprima

No sigo la tendencia del grupo Tendencia
me hace vomitar tanta reverencia
No tengo que ganar, nada que perder
siempre lucho así contra el poder

In the meantime, the official organizers of the concert invited a punk rock band from Panama, Factor VIII of a not surprisingly communist ideology, and also, a pro-chavista Venezuelan band called Banda Crocell, plus about nineteenth Cuban bands who have been performing under a virtual gag order on any theme or issue that could have been minimally critical to the government.

Apartheid, in his musical variance is being applied to Porno Para Ricardo.

In my opinion, the government could not find a national punk rock band that supported the politics of the tyranny or at least that buckled under fear and that couldn't take another twist of the vise. Then they came out with the Panamanian band, Factor VIII to fill the slot of the punk-rock sound.

This is what those fucking commies had to say:

The popular Panamanian band Factor VIII considers it a "great honor" to attend the Caiman International Rock Festival to take place in Havana from July 17 to 21.

From Panama, Erick "Lagarto" Santamaria, the group's base player, said by e-mail: "We are very happy about the Cuba trip. For us it is a great honor to visit your country. We are very excited about visiting and playing in a place as historic as the island. We will all be going convinced that it will be an experience to remember."

The group, invited by the Hermanos Saiz Association, which sponsors the third edition of Caiman Rock, plays punk with influences of alternative rock and metal.

The base player, a lover of "good metal" and "the salsa of artists like Willie Colon, the Fania All-Stars, Perez Prado and Benny More," explained that a major part of the musical chemistry within Factor VIII comes from different musical tastes.

"Our drummer, Juan, is a big fan of punk, folk, and the music of the 1950s and 60s. Tutin, the singer, likes the indie sounds of different periods. Coloreto, our lead guitar player likes the heavy metal sound of groups like Helloween, Iron Maiden, Poison and Black Sabbath. Tito, the rhythm guitarist, likes both new and old punk, as well as listening a lot to groups like Pixies and Sonic listening a lot to groups like Pixies and Sonic Youth," wrote Santamaria.

In concluding the Panamanian said, "You can expect to see of us in all our performances in Cuba."

Notice please, that those commies are free to travel, free to use e-mail, the internet, free to listen to all kind of music that have been at times forbidden in Cuba, free to record, free to make money, and free to say whatever the hell they say. All of that is denied on a daily base to Porno Para Ricardo.

Please pass by Porno Para Ricardo website and order their CDs to help them survive and create more music

For donation of music related items, such as guitar and bass strings, drumsticks, flash memory drives, hard drives, blank CDs, and DVDs, please e-mail Your help is very much needed to break the cycle of repression of the kasstroite tyranny.