I started this post by writing about the contrast between the socio-economic philosophies of CAPITALISM vs COMMUNISM. Then, I got the scent of my being pompous, maybe arrogant. I thought how great we are here in our CAPITALIST western world with all its benefits, blessing and bounties compared to how bereft the CUBANS are even in getting eggs to start each day. Then, watching a TV broadcast from the USA recently, I began to realize we are not that well off or our philosophies are not as successful as we might like to think. The USA has more people living below the poverty level than the entire population of Canada. There are thousands of Americans who cannot afford to buy simple medication like Tylenol. As I began writing, I found I was becoming more and more lofty in my arrogance but sinking deeper in fertilizer.
So I have changed tact, changed my viewing direction. Instead of writing about how our socio-economic system fails us, even here in Canada with political corruption pervasive throughout every level of government and in every region of the country. Remember Chuck Guite, McGuinty and powerplants, Ontario Liberals and ORNGE scandal, SENATE REFORM, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, even the mayor of London, ON and his son’s wedding reception bill. Our politicians seem to go out of the way to step in barnyard poo. But perhaps it simply is the nature of the beast, man…fundamentally greedy, universally lacking in unfractured integrity.
Then, I reminisced as to how I listened to radio in CUBA, and watched baseball broadcasts on TV. Wow! Not a single commercial, not one single minute of trying to sell me something, not one presentation of something which I should consider buying which would improve my life, make me a better man, more sexually appealing, better looking, slimmer, taller and less grey. Just try to imagine watching 9 innings of pretty good baseball without one single ad, not one commercial. I didn’t get up once to go to the fridge, I didn’t go to the pantry for any nuts or chips, didn’t pause to get a beer. Lost 5 lbs too ! Amazing.
Then, I must apprise you of radio in CUBA. First thing to notice about CUBAN music is that it has a background beat, a syncopation of percussion that permeates the background of every piece of CUBAN music. But this percussive rhythm, usually rat tat tatted on bongos or conga sticks, is magnetic drawing you into the melody, enhancing it with a wash of musical colours, just simply making it sound better, more attractive, more listenable. Now remove all commercial interruptions, and even remove an overabundance of vocals, and you have instrumental jazz that is mesmerizing and captivating. One radio station broadcasting from Havana is particularly good, no not good, outstanding! Radio Enciclopedia (FM 91.2 in CUBA) can be found on streaming radio on the Internet. If you have an APPLE or ANDROID device, download and install Tunein Radio which will give you crystal clear broadcasting of this station.
Radio Enciclopedia plays instrumental jazz almost all day long. In the evening usually broadcasts with a theme for the show, be it art, or literature, history or romance, the announcer will punctuate the beginning or end of a lengthy series of songs with Spanish commentary relating to the topic of that night’s show. The Spanish is music to the ears, nearly as mesmerizing as the musical selections. The melodies broadcast each night are easily recognized by any North American listener for usually they are well known show tunes, movie theme songs or well-known melodies played everywhere on late night radio. Hits from Cabaret, South Pacific, Chicago, and other famous Broadway shows. Then, ABBA, BEATLES, STONES greats to the sounds of Santana and Hendrix and Coltrane. Ever hear of Jane Bunnett, look her up.
A Canadian musician who is the Queen of CUBAN jazz. Bunnett has been going down to CUBA for years and working with the musicians there, developing their skills and supporting their outstanding musicianship. Bunnett takes youngsters and helps them polish their musical skills, sometimes even bringing them back to Canada to showcase their great musical talent. Radio Enciclopedia showcase what CUBAN musician can do with well known music. They embellish it endlessly, make it sound better, add colour to it and make it more listenable.
Every night from 11 till midnight, Radio Enciclopedia broadcast a special hour of music dedicate to a very narrow theme, the romance poetry of some English poet, the literary genius of Dante Alighieri or even Lister Sinclair or Ernest Hemingway. The announcer’s flowing Spanish pronunciation and dialogues were a magnetic siren which proved irresistible. She spoke is such a smooth, gently flowing tone that her speaking became a haunting melody of romantic Spanish conversation.
And no commercial interruptions at all !