Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Words of wisdom

Bebo Valdes, the Cuban-born jazz musician, is currently touring Spain with his son, Chucho, who is in his mid-60s and also a celebrated pianist.

From all accounts, it’s been an emotional musical (and personal) reunion.

You see, Bebo, who was born in 1918, left Cuba in 1960, soon after Fidel Castro came to power. He has not been back,
living for much of his very long exile in Sweden - until his recent move to Spain.

On the other hand, Chucho still lives in Cuba. He is a favoured musician there, which means he is allowed to come and go as he likes by the Castro brothers, provided he keeps bringing in much-needed hard cash from his performances overseas.

To publicise the Spanish tour, Bebo has given a brief but very good interview to the Madrid daily El Mundo.

The interview is in Spanish (read it here), but here are a couple of observations I thought you’d appreciate.

I think they are the type of observations that come from wisdom accumulated over 90 years, don't you?

Asked his views of Fidel Castro, Bebo replies: “He is very well read and when he was at university, studying law, he’d get terrific grades. But the problem with Fidel Castro is that he was born into wealth and rich people are only after one thing: power.”

Then he is asked about Castro's illness and seemingly impending demise.

“As far as I am concerned, the problem in Cuba is not just an individual …
but the [Communist] system. I cannot stand that system. I can’t stand any system, whether of the Right or the Left, whose principal aim is to oppress an entire people. Eventually, such systems end up paying dearly for their crimes.”
And what about Chucho's views? Well, read what he thinks in this recent interview with the official Cuban media, under the headline, "I could never live anywhere else but in Cuba". Subtle, no?

H/T: Penultimos Dias

Photo: Pablo Sanchez, Reuters


Anonymous Nat Chediak said...

If you've written about the Cuban revolution, you know you have to take what is printed in the official media with a grain of salt. Bebo and Chucho think alike. One lives in Cuba, and the other outside. That's all. I should know: I've produced all of Bebo's albums since El arte del sabor in 2000. Our most recent outing, recorded in Madrid last month, is his first two-piano duo album with Chucho.

9:32 pm  

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