Gerardo Alfonso Bel Canto: Other Voices for "A New Song"

Gerardo Alfonso Bel Canto: Other Voices for "A New Song"
Fecha de publicación: 
11 January 2023
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This story begins in year 2015 and has a leading character, the radio operator, cultural promoter, and artistic director, Helson Hernández. In that first experience, it was the songwriting of Pablo Milanés that we enjoyed through "this other musical look", then Amaury Pérez came in 2019, Silvio Rodríguez a year later, in 2022 Santiago Feliú and now it’s Gerardo Alfonso’s turn who we find amidst the sound and aesthetics of bel canto.

As for the concert scheduled for next Thursday, January 12th, at the Minor Basilica of the Convent of San Francisco de Asís, the author of already anthological songs like Quisiera and Sábanas Blancas, said:

«This is a wonderful event for me, I’m going to tell you how I got involved and I was captivated: I was invited to Bel Canto dedicated to Santiago Feliú and I discovered a new cultural phenomenon, because in lyrical singing, which is a glory, performers have the tradition of singing classical works, but with the work that was done in the previous edition, where songs from Santiago that were chosen were exquisite songs, what I felt was that bel canto, lyrical singing was making a new song and in turn, the new author's song, trova music was taking on a different interpretation than what we are used to and that seems to me a contribution to Cuban culture ».

«I enjoyed everything to the point of tears of emotion», the singer-songwriter confessed and highlighted «the dedication of the boys, of everyone, the singers, the musicians, the arrangers...» Then, the gift arrived: «suddenly Helson proposes that, the following year, it was going to be the Bel Canto with me.

«To me, always, when I’m given a one-year proposal: «next year we are doing it», it seems like such a utopian thing, because in a year many things can happen and I said, yes, I’ll do it, but I was a little scared...»

However, the experience seems to have surpassed any forewarning. About the process, Gerardo says: «He asked me for a bunch of songs, I gave him many. He made a selection that fascinated me, because I, as a composer, owe many songs and I have them there, as if it were a messy showcase, but he, gently, that's the right word, selected a group of songs, and sent me the titles via Whatsapp, I saw the selection and said: hell, this is going to be marvelous.

«Later I found out about the performers, I knew some of them, I learned about the arrangers and, to be honest, I was happy. Another huge surprise is the participation of Maestro Miguel Patterson. He is a genius, a wonderful guy, with great sensitivity, and the truth is that I’m very curious, very anxious and very honored that this work is done ... »

Delighted with this project that, as its organizer, Helson Hernández, wrote, reinterprets "the work of various authors who have transcended for their beauty and poetics" and that this year bears his name: "Gerardo Alfonso Bel Canto", the creator of the Rhythm Guayason leaves us the invitation and a certainty:

«It has been very interesting and very sensitive that Helson has put together the songs and the performers for an event of this kind at La Basilica. Beyond the fact that they are my songs, for Cuban culture it’s a huge contribution, combining the trova song with lyrical singing is even patriotic, because it’s defending the homeland from art.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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