It was late October and we had driven some 14 hours from Havana to Santiago de Cuba. Our aim was to meet up one of the remaining legend in the history of Cuban Music. As we sat down in the hot and tropical atmosphere of Casa de Trova, I occupied a back seat not to be seen as It may give him a sudden surprise which is not very nice if you are in the middle of the songs. When he finished we walked towards him and gave him a hug . Later we shared some food together and during the following two days we sat next to him listening to his guitar and his tunes. It was not easy as each song was a gem and I had to choose only 12 for a new recording with him. A week later there we were in the Studio listening to the first recording of a legend who the world will remember as the last of the Cuban Troubadours! Mo Fini Spring 2013, Bath, UK
We hope you will hear the music during the summer of 2013.
Later on that day as we sat for a beer, my colleague Carlos Cabrera took some notes of un informal conversation we had with Alejandro Almenares that you could read below
-When he was born and who were his parents?
“I was born on May 24, 1937, in the city of Santiago de Cuba in a humble home and my parents were called and Julia Almenares Angel Sanchez. 76 years ago in this life and I am now sharing with you criteria.”
-What happened from birth until 1959 and after that date to the present?
“As a child-like everything else, playing in the streets of this beautiful city, I went to public school until the age of 10 I started to study at the music school at age 14 No.5 had to quit school to devote to work and I started playing music professionally, it was for 1951. After the triumph of the revolution music kept playing until today.”
-With whom did you touch?
“Throughout my life I have played music with several bands in the music school I played with a group called “Los Taínos”, my specialty is guitar trio cousin, I’ve played all, my father inherited troubadour music, I’ve climbed many mountains and I’ve played with a lot of people, groups, duets and trios. In 1960 the trio integrates and fuses “East” for 14 years touches throughout Cuba, with all groups of Santiago’ve played, all the pioneers of “La Casa de la Trova” have touched me.”
-What is your relationship to “La Casa de la Trova?
“My father founded “La Casa de la Trova” alongside Virgil Palay, of course I was there I also founder, in this place I grew up listening to and playing music troubadour and Sonera of Cuba until today, I think I’m the last founders of the troubadours living …..
Together with my dad I am the founder of “La Casa de la Trova”.”
-When you play in “La Casa de la Trova”?
“I play every day, but the job Wednesday with a septet, my father founded the “Rounds Lyrics” and I keep them all Saturday, if you want to find me, this is my home I’m always ….”
-As a composer?
“In 1958 I fell in love with my wife, I saw this mulata so beautiful and inspired me and so did every day until the muse still with me. And so did “Mueve la cintura mulata”that was my first song and recorded my first song that I recorded with the ” Quinteto Oriente”, this theme became very popular that he was elected for a film played by Antonio Bandera ” Pecado Original””, which later was also sung by Omara Portuondo.”
-Can you tell me your family?
” Besides I love my wife, I have three children that I am very proud of them, two females and a male, they will tell you, not a musician like his grandfather or like me, the 2 females one is an architect and the other daughter is the youngest a degree in mathematics, the man is a tailor, actor, promoter of artists, I can say with great joy that I am proud of the family …..”
Interview with musician Alejandro Enis Almenares by Carlos Cabrera
City of Santiago de Cuba, October 2012.