Havana Times, Lynn Cruz, 17 August 2018 – Last Saturday, we filmed a new scene for the movie Corazon Azul (Blue Heart) by Miguel Coyula. This time, we went to the Playa neighborhood in the capital where Paja Recol is located, a recording studio and Gorki Aguila’s home, leader of punk-rock band, Porno para Ricardo.
It’s incredible how the fact that this band can’t play on the island has become second nature.
Like anyone else from this punk genre, he rips every taboo and social convention to shreds. Everything is game for these musicians. Sex, Fidel Castro, a State Security agent, an official or even the outrageous figure of a district representative, who in reality is actually a city mayor.
It’s best if he doesn’t talk about you, my friend used to say. To be honest, it was the first time I saw this band play live. They played the same part of the song “Tipo Normal” (Normal guy) chosen by Coyula for a scene in the movie, over and over again.
A boundless energy and Aguila’s special charisma, along with Renai Kayrus and Yimel Garcia, filled the room. In my mind, one question kept going round and around: what’s going on in this country?
I still can’t understand how, in all this time, I’ve only known about their work via USB drives, when they are literally only a few minutes away from my house.
How is it possible that Cubans can’t see these three musicians play, who only rehearse because the Cuban government doesn’t let them play?
The country has been drained over time. Now, we are only left with wrong ways. There is no reason why these musicians continue to be confined to a room in an apartment.
Art doesn’t make sense if it can’t be shown. At this point, we will never know what this band could have been if they had enjoyed full freedom.
They are witty, intense and original. While talking to Gorki about their impact on me, he told me in his humble way: “If you only knew, people have told me this, that they like to see us play.”
He also told me that when they were allowed to play concerts, they were always thinking about their performance. One time, they showed a guitar at the beginning and told the audience: “This Soviet guitar needs to die”.
They gradually distanced themselves and ended up becoming radicalized. Having celebrated its 20th anniversary, this band carries the tragic sign of what it means to be ahead of your time.
To be honest, they are missionaries at the wrong time because Cuban reality was greatly marked by the disastrous ‘90s. And in 1998, Porno para Ricardo was founded.
That’s to say, that Gorki, Kayrus and Ciro Diaz Penedo (also a founder) were already in the future. They were singing from the past to a post-revolutionary Cuba.
Nobody on the island had ever dared to mock Fidel Castro before like they did. This is important because eliminating political humor was one of the first changes that Castro made to the press.
The Revolution had to be serious. Coyula’s movies have a special connection to this band. You can see this in his movies Memorias del Desarrollo (2010) and Nadie (2017).
Now, in Corazon Azul, they not only come together with the same energy, but Porno para Ricardois responsible for creating part of the movie’s soundtrack and they will also appear playing on a TV channel, created within the movie’s plot.
Slowly, Cuba’s truly underground and alternative world will come together like a puzzle. Prison, persecution, repression are all constants for the majority of artists in this universe that have an influence, not in the fringes of the city, but outside of the Museum of Cuban Socialism’s political establishment.