It could be because smells are ephemeral and one has to be on the watch out to catch them and not let them go, or because they are automatically connected to memories…I don’t know, but my best memory has to do with smells. Even though I had some signs of this, I did not confirm it until a short time ago. I wasn’t having a good day and I was walking through the streets of Havana with the certainty that I was going somewhere, not knowing exactly where. I got to the first floor of a building in the barrio of Pilar, in Havana’s Cerro. I stopped and looked at the balcony on the second floor, which I barely remembered…the first years of my life were spent in that space that I was now looking at from afar, surrounded by more persons than those two rooms admitted. I waited for someone to open the door and as soon as I could get in, I climbed a few steps and sat down. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath…I was there for that, to breathe the air that was so particular of that stairway full of the smell of gas, of detergent; a hollow and cold and clean smell…the smell that brings back my grandfather. And right there we sat down and talked and cried for a while and we laughed (because my grandfather would have laughed about my troubles). For some moments I again felt naïve, safe, happy.
There are sensations…smells, sounds, strange subtleties, that awaken the mysteries of the soul. This is the case of the music of the Ibeyi, the artists we are presenting on the cover of this edition of OnCuba. Their music is a mixture of details that range from the rhythms of the orishas to symphony music, passing through jazz, soul and electronic music. An excellently-made mixture of lands and roots; we especially recommend the exclusive interview with these spectacular Franco-Cuban twins.
We also offer our readers a trip through the island guided by the special eye of a photographer who finds details that mark our memories.
The interview with Alexei Ramírez, a Cuban baseball player who plays for the Major Leagues; the story of Yoandry, a Cuban hairstylist and small entrepreneur; the magic of the Café Laurent in the center of Havana’s El Vedado; and the assessment of the Cuban economy in 2015, by a prominent expert, are some of our other special proposals.
2016 has begun, OnCuba’s recommendation is to live and enjoy the little things that make life a special trip. They are always there, you just have to be on the watch out and catch them.