Fascinating World: It’s not a Tribute, I Forbid It

Fascinating World: It’s not a Tribute, I Forbid It
Fecha de publicación: 
7 October 2021
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I announce that by the end of this beautiful month we will begin the recording of an album of pure love for our dear brother Santi. There are a lot of people involved in this beauty.

This is how Enrique Carballea, producer since the 70’s of the last century, announced the piece of news, as he signed his texts. As for Fascinating World, one of his most recent projects, we talked with Carballea ".

Why Fascinating World?

This is an album that started in my head many years ago. It's that Play List that put together and look for in the singer-songwriter's most hidden discography or those songs that, because you were close, very close to him, you knew everything they meant within his creative codes.

It’s not an album of "Now I'm going to start with a selection." They are loved songs by Gago Genio and little known. If there were a phrase that sums up or can be summarized, you don't have to be so categorical, his work is that, Fascinatingly World.

After his trip I lost my innocence faster than in 60 years of life. He gives me back every day with his songs the fascination of being alive.

What songs did you choose and how was the selection approach?

I chose the songs that were never played on the radio. I was lucky enough to meet Santi in the city of Córdoba, Argentina, in a wonderful place called El Arrope, an extraordinary Uruguayan singer-songwriter (not a son of a gun like Lacalle), named Leo Masliah. He was there in the audience and later dropped by backstage, and I remember his song La Censura no existe mi amor, la Censura, La ... and it's not that Santi was censored but they only played Vida and Para Bárbara. It’s the radio censorship of ease and ignorance. In the end it’s the same.

I went dozens of times to look up his radio reports. It was akward that for a man who had recorded so many albums only two of his songs were broadcasted. Well, those two songs don’t appear in this album, I did it knowingly.

I selected some of his creative codes. Joaquín Borges Triana helped me to close it, suggesting Esta Canción to me, I never understood how I had ignored it, but that's what a genius like Joaco is for.

What musicians participate?

When I was ready to begin this album, I only thought of two people, Ruly Herrera and Rober Luis Gómez. Never, never, was I going to tread in this sacred realm called the  Music of Santiago Feliú, without them. The two were friends and musicians very dear to the troubadour.

I called Ruly, he was really moved and he unveiled his creativeness as the greatest work that this album is. We sat in his car, my magical office where I had 3 beers and my records have historically been born in the last 15 years. The office was tgemporarily closed because of the Covid; we played songs and we started to vibrate with a very specific song. I started crying without holding back, when I looked at Ruly, he was too ...

The album was already there ... and Santiago bursting out of laughter watching his two friends crying over him.

There Ruly, who is a creative genius and I quote, a creative genius, began to suggest arrangements, musicians, and performers.

Some are missing, there are only 10 songs. Those chosen are the ones who should be: Silvio Rodríguez, Yusa, Polito Ibáñez, Kelvis Ochoa, Haydee Milanés, David Blanco, Camila Guevara, Héctor Téllez Jr, Santiago Feliú and a surprise artist...

The arrangements were made by Ruly, Rober Luis, Roberto Fonseca, Yoyi Lagarza, and Jorgito Aragón.

When all this was confirmed, I wrote to two poets who were followers of Santi, Alpidio Alonso, and Fernando Luis Jacomino, they gave me their full support and suggested Colibrí. All these songs came out after a huge work of love with Fidel Díaz Castro and his unique help.

How long were you a producer for Santiago? How was your relationship? How do you feel being able to honor him today?

I was Santi's unofficial producer since the spring of 1974. When we met in the courtyard of Niños Héroes de Chapultepec High School. We became friends and I always collaborated with him. Only in 1997 we decided to make it official. It couldn't have been better, 5 cult albums, dozens of tours and the creative environment, which I think was my contribution, so that I could write dozens of songs, including Iceberg.

Working with him is very difficult. Santiago is, and I say it in the present tense, an author of few songs, all works of art, there’s no minor song, he didn’t allow it. When have you seen shred to pieces texts that others would cry for the beauty of them, you only had to get up in the morning and reinvent yourself, not only as a producer but as a human being.

I have never worked with a troubadour again, I have helped some, but after Santi, his voice, his verses and his "lefthand" guitar, the mold broke for me.

It’s not a tribute. I forbid it. It's a party. It’s the album that we gave to the stutterer for his 60th birthday. There’s only tribute when death kills creativity. In him… it’s impossible.

A few months ago you produced a tribute album to the ICAIC Sound Experimentation Group, a tribute to Silvio and now Fascinating World is under wraps... Do you consider yourself nostalgic? Is it necessary to go back so that the classics feed the present?

The idea of ​​GES Real Project was born as a direct consequence of my work with most of the founding geniuses of that group, Silvio Rodríguez, Emiliano Salvador, Sergio Vitier, Noel Nicola, Eduardo Ramos, and to a lesser extent Sara González and Don Pablo Milanés. I’m a piercer of thresholds, I was a producer of Arte Vivo, the band of my dreams, when it was a total heresy to produce Cuban Symphonic Rock, so producing a GES album touched me by emotional and musical blood ties.

Proposing Héctor Quintana to approach the monumental work of Silvio Rodríguez in an instrumental format is a consequence of having studied it for dozens of years, now I was ready. When he chose me to be one of the founders of the Ojalá Record House in 1995, I studied his entire work, song by song, versions, poetry ... I could make 10 different albums of what I have studied of his legacy. This so called, Galaxy Animal is the first.

I’m not nostalgic, although without nostalgia there’s no poetry. I just produce the music that I create. For reasons of a creative pandemic, dozens of music promoters are delaying to give access to sequins disguised as musical leftists and have the goal of petro-dollarizing their songs with a stench of poorly processed cheese.

The Classics are not for time. When Santi wrote Para Bárbara it was already an 18-year-old classic, El Viento eres tu 19 years old ... and so and so I like it ...

On the soundtrack of today's Cuba ... what would you change and how?

Not only of classics my ears dream of. Right now I'm preparing a record by Ariel Barreiros, another by Lien Rodríguez, I won't give up until I produce for Carlo Fidel Taboada, and yes, a classic: Emiliano Salvador.

What I would change...? Do an experiment, sneak into a meeting of those people who decide what you don’t, and call everyone simultaneously, you will be surprised by everything that sounds like a cell phone ... It would take away all their credit.

To paraphrase my idol Santiago Feliú with his Unheard Song: there are many people around who must be saved. The fear of censorship cannot bind us. On how many sides do we have to defend Peace? Our Peace.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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