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Latin America Travel & Tour Information

11 noviembre 2013

Rum, Music and New Friends in Trindad, Cuba

Rum, Music and New Friends in Trindad, Cuba

Just when you're keeping your head down and out of trouble, planning a little time-out on the beach, you stumble across one of those magic little corners, the genuine article, an un-fabricated and natural moment which are not made for tourist. An experience like this arose for me in arguably one of the most visited colonial towns of Cuba, Trinidad.

Walking along the cobbled streets among the brightly coloured houses of the old town, I was planning to  head down to Playa Ancon with its white sands and turquoise waters, when I heard the foot-tapping, hand-clapping, guitar-plucking rhythms of Cuban Son that accompany your travels in every corner of this contradictory country.   

Poking my head around the corner of a battered blue wall, I saw four dusty characters sitting in a half-circle jamming it out with a traditional Cuban 'tres', (a guitar with its six strings split into pairs); a regular 'seis' or six string guitar; and a traditional Caribbean island musical instrument called a Marímbula (which is an old sit-upon wooden box with different sized metal plates or tongues that are plucked in order to give a deep bass sound); plus the Maestro, singing the traditional tunes, keeping time with his two wooden sticks, '1-2-3-, 1-2,' and mournfully singing to his love 'Yolanda'.    

Now, this is the real deal! The Maestro remembers all the old songs, but is also an improviser.  He asks me, 'De donde eres' (Where are you from?) and after I reply he says 'Let me welcome you from my heart'. We sit under the shelter of this fruiting mango tree and together take comfort from its shade , I ask you to share a bottle of rum!? Which turned into another one and a few hours later another and another? 'Let us smoke a hand-rolled cigar' he later proclaims before adding? 'we have drunk together so we are now friends and will always remain so'!    

These class-act gentlemen are playing in this dusty backyard on a street near the Plaza Major between Pablo Piz Giron and Piro Guinart almost every day, not pushing themselves on anyone, just offering their hearts and their souls through their music. Sit with them, don't be afraid, sing along and chat with them, introduce a good bottle of 5 year rum, hell, it only costs 5CUC!...and share the good times! Salud!

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