“He is not an artist. He’s a witness.
It’s a testament to what can
make God with your life
if you get carried away with Him.”
Words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta
about Facundo Cabral.
Some time ago, on the Key channel of Cuban Television, I was lucky enough to enjoy a brief (very brief rather) fragment of the anthological concert Lo Cortez does not remove lo Cabral, starring Argentine singer-songwriters Alberto Cortez and Facundo Cabral. But it was just that: a shy pinch of an out-of-the-ordinary concert.
Luckily, I must have listened (not seen, unfortunately) dozens and dozens of times to the aforementioned concert: in this one, to the musical pieces performed by both, to duet, or to a single voice (Old age, In a corner of the soul, Don’t call me foreign…) the sharpest jokes and the deepest reflections, especially Cabral, about love , sex, friendship, poetry, freedom, hope, religion, humanity…
There’s nothing imposted in Lo Cortez doesn’t take away the Cabral. Culture spills on the stage in a way as simple as it is authentic and captivating. Facundo, natural and philosophical conversationalist, luxury comedian and poet of fine race, carries the prime voice when promoting and transmitting the brightest ideas of this concert, where they parade, surely smiling, the massive ghosts of Jorge Luis Borges, Octavio Paz, Ernesto Sábato, Juan José Arreola, Juan Rulfo…, to help him say from his lyrical vein. :
“In my village there was only one policeman and one thief. That’s why when we missed something, we already knew who they could be.
“My mother was my first good news. Her name was Sara and I chose her as a mother for the same reasons God chose her as a daughter.
“Speaking of Buenos Aires, Borges said it was the most European city in America and the most American in Europe.
–How can one live in that which is not loved?
“Right now you can tell him enough, the fear you inherited, because life is here and right now.
“I like to see the lion at large, splendid under the midday sun.
“My grandfather, the colonel, spent his life making war in town for anyone who thought differently.
–Each singer is good news because every singer is one less soldier.
Regarding Mother Teresa, who had sustained him morally and sharply after the tragic death of Facundo’s wife and daughter in a plane crash, the Argentine tells this testimony, as brief as it is indisputable:
“I once said to her, “Mother, I never heard her talk about politics,” and she said, “I can’t afford politics: I once stopped five minutes to listen to a politician, and in those five minutes an old man in Calcutta died.”
The extraordinary libertarian psychology of this singer is vividly expressed when he tells in this concert an experience lived in the Lincoln Center, where a journalist, “a normal guy, with his moustache”, assured him that, if God were really just, his work should be as popular and as successful as that of the Spaniard Julio Iglesias, to which Facundo replied:
“God knows that Julio needs more money to live, so he gave it more success; But, beware, God also knows that I need more freedom, so it made me freer.
Unfortunately, Facundo Cabral was shot dead in Guatemala City on July 9, 2011, by the work and grace of a matarife who unloaded his tantrum or claimed his credit at the cost of the wrong being’s life, because he really intended to physically eliminate the driver of the car where Facundo was traveling and not the Argentine.
But the author of I am not from here nor am I from there left for memory jewels as Lo Cortez does not remove the Cabral, a true example of love for men and that world that “despite so much mad and so much suicide, remains a paradise”, as he thought of our planet the Facundo who one day went to take care of lepers with Mother Teresa in the city of Calcutta and another day died to consequence of the most terrible and absurd hatred.
And now, as I listen again for the hundredth time to the voices of Alberto and Facundo, I ask myself again: will there not be an opportunity for Cuban Television to broadcast, in its entirety, a concert as special as this, will there be no way for it to do so after it promotes it as it promotes not a few serials of violent and bloody “lineage” or to performers of dubious talent?
Why, if musical stars, marketing products plus rampant, are permanent (and suspicious) presence on the home screen, the same cannot happen with top performers like the aforementioned Argentinians?
I think it was an English theorist who said, “Pretending to have a cultured television is like pretending to perfume a pig’s snout.” Vain homework, isn’t it? However, it is up to us to bet on non-resignation and never give up, because we know that smarter television can be possible.
And it will be, as long as it is nourished by options and concerts like the one mentioned, and like others (there are and recently we have seen them) able to make our lives more generous and more coherent thoughts in the midst of a tide infected by so many mediocre choices. Ω