The desire to dance, listen and la-la-la the classics or new melodies flow when the talent and insistence on making good music come together. This authentic group of young Cubans is proof of this on each stage where they are able to win over the admiration and affection of the most diverse publics.
Piano, base, kettledrum, conga drum, sax, flute, trumpet and a singer make up this multifaceted team of professionals led by María Alejandra, a piano graduate from the Manuel Saumell School and an Amadeo Roldán Conservatory graduate in theorizing, a passionate director who, as she affirmed to TTC, has put all she has learned in the academy into the project to create her own style and cover the wide-ranging diversity of Cuban music: salsa, timba, jazz, ballad and other international genres like blues or the bossa nova.
“We are committed to variety and we demand versatility from each musician. The public’s response in each performance and the different scenarios are a guide for us to make up the repertoire. There’s also the fact that the show is enhanced because we all come from the academy,” she affirms.
The dream that started off being a trio format, then a quintet and now has seven members, has demonstrated that it is a formula for success. The public’s response is proof of this and backs the growing popularity of the group that, with barely three years of work, already holds a privileged place in Cuba’s musical panorama.
As a result, they started making their first record with the Abdala Studio under the Unicornio label in which they will include several pieces by Kiko Ruiz, the group’s singer, and by composer Pedro Cuba. In this new work stage they aim “to add and promote rhythms like the mozambique, pilón and cha-cha, which have had great acceptance among dancers,” its director says.
With María Alejandra y cubanía each performance is a fiesta. This is why each day new scenarios from throughout the country are opening their doors to them. They have a regular space in the Memories Miramar Habana Hotel on Fridays; Sundays in the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana’s El Tablao; and, in addition, they perform in popular fiestas and cultural events throughout the national geography.
Moreover, the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) entrusted them with the musical theme that will identify the Cuban delegation in the Central American and Caribbean Games to be held in Barranquilla, Colombia.
The chemistry with the public is fundamental, and if it’s a question of charisma, Kiko Ruiz, the singer, is the soul of the group. With a special mischievousness and the support of each musician he is capable of connecting with everybody, no matter the age or gender, who willingly accept his invitation to sing or dance.
“Each performance is different, we do what we like,” he confesses, and he describes the work in the group as “a possibility that has allowed me to grow, has enhanced my repertoire and has made me feel fulfilled for having achieved that they put their trust in me as a composer.”
The rest of the group’s musicians have the same opinion. They add their experience to the director’s discipline and demands, which together make up the authentic musicality that distinguishes this group that irradiates cubanness.