Feliú Brothers: energy, poetry and politics
By Susan Zaraysky
Buenos Aires Herald
November 25, 1999
Cuban troubadours Santiago and Vicente Feliú bought their energy, poetry and politics to Buenos Aires on November 20, at La Trastienda to promote their new album, Ansias del alba.
These two brothers brought their heartfelt music to a very enthusiastic Argentine audience. They sang together and on their own. Vicente Feliú, the older brother, performed a few songs together with Argentine singer Paula Ferrer.
Though they may have been dressed simply, their profound verses and soulful performances made a deep impact on the Buenos Aires crowd, which called them back twice for encores.
Their reportoire included songs from the album, Ansias del Alba and old cherished political and romantic melodies.
Ansias del Alba is dedicated to the Zapatistas, the Mexican indigenous movement in Chiapas. The album cover has several photos of Subcomandant Marcos, the Zapatista leader.
Santiago and Vicente Feliú have been part of the Nueva Trova Cubana (New Cuban Poetry) movement, which includes other famous Cuban musicians as Silvio Rodriguez, Noel Nicola and Pablo Milanés, among others.
The revolutionary spirit that arose from Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba in 1959 gave root to the Nueva Trova Cubana, whose musicians compose lyrics based on new social and political ideas, which are not popularly spoken about in Cuba. Streams of poetry, thoughtfulness and melancholy run deep in their songs.
At the beginning, the Nueva Trova Cubana started out as a vehicle for young poets and musicians to express their views about the communist revolution and their lives. When the music traversed the demarcation line between coated personal judgement of communism and the revolution to a more direct critique of the regime, the musicians fell into trouble with Castro’s censures.
However, the music is very popular among Cuba’s youth and is generally favorable to the revolution. Usually, when Castro delivers an important speech, one of the Nueva Trova Cubana members opens the stage for the leader.