Our bodies, a bridge

Money saving tips for the non-profit, fresh-start, recession-era Maureen: don’t spend concert money on bands you’ve already seen.  So far this self-imposed money-saving technique has proven relatively effective…I’ve followed my own rule and have considerably limited my concert-going activities to only new bands or no concerts at all. Dare I say being over 30 might have something to do with that too?

However, this week, Cuba’s legendary pachanga/salsa/orchestral band Los Van Van summoned my hips to experience them live for the third time. This 41-year old powerhouse whose longevity, second only to Castro of course, has influenced Cuban culture, language, and music over the past four decades.  I first heard them in 2001 at a club in the outskirts of Havana with my travel sister Lara.  That evening, our last in Cuba, included sharing lipstick with whom I later learned was a prostitute and dancing on stage with one of the five vocalists, Mayito.  Aventura puro.

The second Los Van Van experience was a few years later during my Cuba Cultural Travel days with Carlos where I was one of a few thousand spectators enjoying Los Van Van on the malecón-the sea-side boardwalk in Havana- and managed to meet Gabriel, a judo teacher for Castro’s security team, in an ocean of movers and shakers.  This Gabriel, I later found out, escaped to Colorado and landed in Boulder where he would end up dating …who?  That’s right.  Lara.

So let’s fast forward to 2010: eleven or so Cuban men + one sexy gordita on stage at the Conga Room in downtown Los Angeles.  They had been slated to play two weeks prior but because of a visa denial by our State Department, the trip was canceled.

To my surprise they were able to immediately reschedule and secure the needed visas to inject Angelenos with a dose of high-energy, spirited music and dance to a crowd that knew most of the lyrics and had no inhibitions about letting loose on the dance floor.

I found my smile to be wider than the distance between Cuba and the United States.  Perhaps this is the only way to bridge nations.  Music. Culture.  Movement.  With Cubans, there is only the present.  The intensity with which they live in the present is so contagious you forget where you are. All I knew is that I was with them.  And it felt really good.


~ by maureenmoore on December 18, 2010.

One Response to “Our bodies, a bridge”

  1. Party on Mo!!! I wish I could have heard them any which way/ where you described!
    Congrats on the new place. Let us know your new info. AMJ

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