Celia Cruz, Joined With ‘Patria Y Vida’, the Anthem of the Protests in Cuba

Celia Cruz, in an image of the video clip of the new version of Patria y Vida. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 October 2023 — Since this Monday, Celia Cruz and Patria y Vida (Homeland and Life), two of the greatest Cuban musical symbols of recent times, are united in a new video clip of the song that became a dissident anthem since its premiere, in February 2021. In this new version, the song incorporates in some fragments the voice, recreated with artificial intelligence, of the Queen of Salsa, who died in 2003.

The song also features the interpretation of the trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. The short film, directed by actor Carlos Ever Fonseca, includes images of the original version, directed by Asiel Babastro and of the duo Gente de Zona, Eliexer Márquez El Funky, Maikel Castillo Osorbo and, without singing, the activist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, wrapped in the Cuban flag of the San Isidro Movement.

The video contains a few words of tribute to these last two artists, who are serving nine- and five-year sentences, respectively, in Cuban prisons after the island-wide protests of 11 July 2021 (11J). “Patria y Vida” was, precisely, one of the most repeated screams on that day of demonstrations.

Celia wants to stay alive in her music and her fight for the rights of Cubans,” said the Spanish Beatriz Luengo, one of the authors of Patria y Vida

The Spanish actress Beatriz Luengo, Romero’s wife,  published on her social networks a thank you to the heirs of Celia Cruz, who agreed to add the Guarachera of Cuba’s voice to the song. “We started by going to Omar Pardillo (Cruz’s producer) and her heirs to ensure that they also considered it appropriate to do so,” Luengo explained.

“Celia wants to stay alive in her music and her fight for the rights of Cubans,” Luengo continued. “As a woman, I have loved that Patria y Vida has a female representation. It was already significant that five Afro-descendant boys put the regime in check. Now there are five Afro-descendants and a woman.”

Through their social networks, both Cruz’s heirs and her producer thanked Luengo and Romero for their work with the short film and the recovery of the Cuban artist’s voice.

Last February, Luengo herself announced the premiere of a documentary about Patria y Vida and the “hard reality of the Island.” “The interesting thing about the documentary is that it is about a living movement. Movies are usually made when things have already happened,” Luengo said in an interview with EFE in Miami, less than a month before the premiere of Patria y Vida: The Power of Music.

This September several media announced the nomination of the documentary for the Latin Grammy 2023, an award that the song itself received in 2021, in two categories, after it became the anthem of the massive protests that have come to be known simply as “11J”.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.