A Latin Grammy Award for ‘Patria y Vida’, the Anthem of the Protests in Cuba

“Patria y Vida” performers during a call with Maykel Osorbo. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, November 18, 2021–Thursday, the song Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life] won the award for Best Urban Song at the Latin Grammys, in Las Vegas, USA. Beatriz Luengo, singer and wife of Cuban Yotuel Romero, one of the songwriters, went up on stage to receive the award.

Sung by duo Gente de Zona, Yotuel and Descemer Bueno, who live outside of Cuba, and Maykel Castillo Osorbo and El Funky, inside the Island, the song is, primarily, an homage to Movimiento San Isidro (MSI) [San Isidro Movement] and has become an anthem for the protests of thousands of Cubans who went out into the streets on July 11th to demand “libertad” [freedom] for Cuba.

Patria y Vida will be heard during the main ceremony, from the mouths of its creators. Except for Maykel Osorbo, for whom today marks six months in prison, all of the song’s participants will be on stage. In the song’s video, appearing alongside Osorbo, hugging a Cuban flag, is artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, MSI leader, who has also been in prison since July 11.

Moments before the ceremony, El Funky shared on social media that they’d been able to speak with Osorbo and, from jail, he was able to share a few words. “We were able to speak with Maykel Osorbo and feel his voice in these very significant moments, he made it clear that the Grammy is for the Cuban people, whether we win or not, we’ve come so far.”

In statements to 14ymedio at the beginning of the year after the video came out, Otero Alcántara said the most important thing about that act was to “call attention to society, the Black people of San Isidro, the Black people of Cerro, those who stand in line.” In his opinion, the audiovisual “helps create that project of a country, one those people can identify with, feel included.”

Since its debut on YouTube this past February 16th, the song broke viewership records and it currently has more than nine million views on that platform.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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