For more than six decades, the communist Cuba’s socialist revolution have only given Cuban the choice of submission or death. Now Cubans are choosing homeland and life.
‘Patria y Vida’ The Making-Of of the Song that Told the Cuban Regime: ‘It’s Over!’
‘People needed to sing something all together, have a common song, for a cause.’ DIARIO DE CUBA spoke with several of those involved in the song’s creation.
The Cuban regime has been fretting for month over “Patria y Vida”, the song that has said “It’s over!” to it, inspired graffiti, and provided protests on the island with “ammunition” The video boasts over three and a half million views on YouTube one month after its debut. But, beyond the figures, the song promises to be the biggest hit in Cuba during this year that is just beginning. In this article we tell you how it came about.
The original idea for “Patria y Vida” came from Yotuel Romero, a former member of Orishas, who invited the artists of the duo Gente de Zona, the singer-songwriter Descemer Bueno and the unruly rappers Maykel Castillo “Osorbo” and Eliecer Márquez “El Funky”, both residents of Cuba.
“We had done ‘Ojalá pase,’ which was this remix that I wanted to make of ‘Ojalá’ (a Silvio Rodríguez song). I called Randy, and Alex, and we started working on the song. Then we called El Funky, Descemer and Osorbo. When I saw that the song had something magical, I thought of Silvio, and I was struck by that,” Yotuel told DIARIO DE CUBA.
“The message now ‘It’s over’ rather than ‘Hopefully.’ It hurt to remove that part because my wife sang it beautifully. She helped me write it,” he said, referring to the Spanish singer Beatriz Luengo.
According to Asiel Babastro, the director of the video, Luengo’s inclusion may have sparked some disputes because “she’s not Cuban and maybe people didn?t take that well.” Babastro explained that there had been no plan to exclude women, nor for all the performers to be black.
“There was no woman, there is no woman in Cuba or anywhere that is a high-profile rapper or reggaeton artist. Where are the Cuban reggaetoneras standing against the regime, those who have taken a stand or been in the political spotlight? They don’t exist,” he said.
With Rodriguez’s fragment left out, each singer wrote their part.
“We realized we had a hymn. We decided to change the name and put this phrase, Patria y Vida (Homeland and Life), an allusion to their Patria o Muerte (Homeland or Death), and say ‘I count”, Yotuel recalled. “‘Patria y Vida’ means defending life, above all else. Today it is horrible to hear the word ‘death’, to continue with this doctrine of ‘Homeland or Death’ is preposterous because what it transmits is: ‘Either you’re with me, or you die,’ “he added.
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