Fiesta in the Caney

Ray Fernandez gave an admirable concert last Saturday at the Spanish Cultural Center (which is no longer its official name, but everyone continues to call it that). Recent topics and others of a few years ago, culminated with the anthem of these times: “Lucha tu yuca Taino, lucha tu yuca…”*

It’s amazing this boy, a cook by profession, in a couple of years has crept into our lives with songs like “Mister Policeman”, “Slaughterers” (a sympathetic history of the discussion between a social worker and a man who has served ten years’ imprisonment for “illegal slaughter of cattle”) and “The Son of José” (dedicated to Lezama*).

The best moment in the concert was when he played a song on the theme of “The Bookseller,” while throwing old books to the audience, most of them from the publisher Hurricane Editions, which were flying to the beat of: “To me, books confuse me more.”

Translator’s notes:

Caney is the word for longhouse, or communal house, in the Taíno language. The Taíno were the indigenous people of Cuba, before the arrival of Columbus.

“Lucha tu yuca Taíno” – in English, “Fight your yucca, Taíno” – is easily accessed on YouTube.

José Lezama (1910-1976) was an influential Cuban writer and poet.

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