When we talk about culture, that “sun of the moral world” according to Cintio Vitier, we cannot ignore the roots of the traditional popular side in this province, with the development of genuine manifestations in defense of Cuban identity, as is the case of cultivation of our national stanza.
The Iberian-American Center of Décima, which celebrated its 26th anniversary, and the system of Culture Centers highlight in this sense. They enliven the realization of the Cucalambeana Fiesta, prestigious competitions (the Cucalambé contest, of written décima, and the Justo Vega, of repentismo, for example), spaces for improvisers and troubadours, and other actions with a community focus that preserve an important part of our heritage.
These days, when several institutions in the cultural sector make their annual meeting of outcome analysis, it is worth recognizing those who constantly give themselves up in order to honor that heritage. Today 26Digital approaches some paradigms worth imitating.
BETWEEN VERSES AND CUBAN SPIRIT
On Colón Street, next to the Victoria radio station, there is an enclosure that motivates the confluence of researchers, writers, singer-songwriters, painters and other artists in their eagerness to defend Creole art and literature, especially related to the Octosyllable verse, which is expressed orally or in writing.
We are referring to the Iberian-American House of Décima. Its founder and director, Ramón Batista, since December 1993, commented: “For more than two decades we have defended the Cucalambeana identity, the essence of our research process and work in general. We have a systematic program with several monthly activities, among them, a poetic recital, a singing, a children's club and another one on the stanza, in addition to the Decimartes. Meanwhile, the gallery exhibits a different exposition every month.
“We keep the Café Converso (the oldest gathering in the city), which contains trova, poetic improvisation and other options. Our Iberian-American Colloquium of Décima and Improvised Verses has several results. We interact with La Tecla del Duende and welcome two projects on Saturdays, one for children and one for plastic arts for children as well. Likewise, we continue to strengthen the research in coordination with other provinces and work with cultural projects.”
Certainly, the House has been concerned with keeping alive the legacy of Juan Cristóbal Nápoles Fajardo (El Cucalambé). In Las Tunas, the beats of art cannot be measured without the imprint of an institution that, among other actions, has fueled workshops of friendly stanza confrontation for children in all municipalities and has stimulated the teaching musical instruments.
According to its leader, within the projections for 2020, we have the objective of achieving greater promotion of the funds of its Information Center, which contains valuable materials from the heritage point of view; as well as attracting more public towards the activities, and the digitalization of works related to the Cucalambeana Fiesta and the bard that inspires it.
TO THE HEAT OF A CHORD
Neysi Margarita Hilmo Machín, a music art instructor at the Olga Alonso cultural center in Manati, loves traditional country music. Nevertheless, she was a little hesitant at the beginning but she decided to assume eight years ago the responsibility of guiding the workshop of friendly stanza confrontation for children that bears the name of Adolfo Alfonso, of that municipality.
“At that time, I thought I could not take the leadership, but I put all my effort and today we see the outcomes. I am not only interested in teaching how to interpret a chord, but that children know their variants and feel the familiarity that can be achieved in that process. In addition, I am especially interested in singing written stanzas by our local authors.
“From there, I created in 2015 the 10 Versos y una Canción Project (Ten Verses and One Song), with infants. In that year, we won the Escaramujo Grand Prix and they included us in the album of the same name, which compiles notorious works by members of the José Martí Art Instructors Brigade from all over the country. We also participate in the Cucalambeana Festival and other national competitions”.
“We have the musical group Son del Alba and the musician-dancers group Nueva Raíces; the Vida (Life) Project, which involves older adults; around 20 creative women and the Ismaelillo club, which instills in boys and girls the teachings and legacy of José Martí.
We have achieved successes in competitions called by the Cieric office (Center for Exchange and Reference on Community Initiatives) - Uneac (Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba). Besides, we are part of the evaluation for the categorization of the University of Las Tunas as a scientific community, for the linked work that the project has with the Bachelor of Cultural Process Management and the Department of University and Art Extension”.
She is 38 years old and is connected to the community task. She summarizes the feelings of the interviewees: “We cannot let our traditions die, because we lose our identity. We have to work with the new generations to promote those elements that characterize us as Cubans. That is our battle”.
DEFENSE FROM THE COMMUNITY
This January 23, the San José Raices Community Project, one of the most prominent of its kind in the Balcony of Eastern Cuba, celebrated its 14 anniversary.
Its coordinator, Carmen Ramírez Álvarez (cultural promoter of that community in the main municipality), is among those who recently received the Memoria Viva (Living Memory) Award, which recognizes outstanding cultural expression cultivators in her community. Such an award was also given to Miguel Linch Foy, founder of Los Dandys del 50, a group from “Jesús Menéndez”, and Eddy Miranda Vega, founder and director of Raíces Soneras group, from Majibacoa.