Piedra y Rueda (Rock & Roll)

The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lenin read a book of Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

American Pie – Don McLean

HAVANA, October (www.cubanet.org) – When Gorki ?guila’s rock band became too uncomfortable for Cuban cultural authorities, ?guila found himself accused of drug trafficking and the band in need of a new leader.


That the band may have been seen as an inconvenience by the Communist Party’s powers-that-be should have come as no surprise. First, there is its name: Porno for Ricardo, usually Porno for short among its young fans.

And that’s problem number two: a growing following among the young in spite of its irreverent lyrics, provocative behavior, and lack of promotional support. The band’s first recording went begging for a year before finding a label, in Mexico. One of the tracks tells of “a man sitting on a throne, who perpetuates himself as an executioner, promising everyone a future full of happiness.”

In early April this year, cultural authorities called them to account: they had to toe the line. They would have to change the name of the band, tame down the lyrics, and their behavior at concerts.

After which, Gorki and his sidemen figured, not much would remain that anyone would want to call a rock band.

So they decided to stay the course, or maybe they didn’t have time to decide. Their next gig was a concert a few days later at a rock festival in Pinar del R?o, a provincial capital west of Havana. The band did its thing. Police came up with a fan who would testify Gorki had sold her “a pill.”

Next stop for Gorki, the Provincial Pinar del R?o Prison, maximum security, no bail. Four months later, on August 6, a quick trial. No evidence presented, none needed. Gorki will not see another stage for at least four years.

His present experience is limited to an eight-by-five-foot cell and a cellmate. He can take the sun two hours per week. No phone, no papers, no running water. His closest relatives can visit him once every three months.

Porno itself is foundering. Gorki was its composer, its arranger, its brains, its soul.

(Directly from www.cubanet.org)

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