David Escalona, the Strength of Urban Hip-Hop / Luis Felipe Rojas

The songs written and performed by the young musician, David Escalona, carry the very essence of a different Cuba. Omni-Zona Franca, the alternative Havana-based art group, launched the political and social quarrels into the world, and they carry a certain magic.

On the night of Saturday, November 24th, I went to go see him once again. He was radiant, as he has been in the best of his concerts. The urban themes, such as survival, the banishment of living- as they have said themselves- in Alamar, a ghost city, or the repression to which they have been subjected for quite some time, are the best of incentives.

The ingredients of their poetry of resistance immediately flourish in themes which include social exclusion, political intolerance, and the most refined methods of apartheid in contemporary Cuba.

From the moment the concert opened David explained the main motive of that night: to have a good time amongst young Cubans of other latitudes who had met up in that cosmopolitan city known as Miami.

However, after the accustomed courtesy, this versatile artist asked for his concert-goers to pay close attention when he said, loud and clear, that he was dedicating that concert to his friend and compatriot Antonio Rodiles, who is still detained in a police station of Havana for daring to demand justice from the olive-green authorities. With the song “Dare and You Will See“, he started the party.

He’s an exceptional musician who walks on a slippery bridge of governmental confrontation and turns art into a useful tool, used to raise some fists, the will of the non-conformists.

In an interview through Skype, he explained that he makes “free-hop” because he considers himself to be a free man, because when we are convinced of our cause “no one can take anything from us, no one can give us anything. Freedom is in us and no one can take that way”.

The concert was enriched by the vocal talent of Soandry, the creator of Hermanos de Causa (‘Brothers in Cause’), that duo which shook the days of Havana as well as the improvised rap and hip-hop festivals of the 90′s in the island.

The Cuban soul of right now vibrated this past Saturday in Downtown Miami. An extraordinary David stood in the small concert hall, and said on various occasions, “do not fall asleep, there is always an enemy”. This time, he dedicated all his urban strength and talent to a friend, to that same Rodiles who so many people want to see free from the iron bars and barbaric treatments. That is David- contradictory, luminous, and energetic like a flash of light in the darkness.

Translated by Raul G.

25 November 2012