12/03/13 - GlobalPost - Cuba media recognizes shunned emigre musician
After nearly 50 years of pretending he didn't exist, Cuba's official Granma
newspaper commemorated late bolero great Nico Membiela Tuesday, on his
Like other artists who emigrated after the island's Communist revolution,
Membiela was removed from the state-run radio, television and record shops.
But the state-run newspaper adopted a tone of reconciliation as it wrote
about the singer on his 100th birthday,
"They say Membiela's final moments were devastating: tied to a wheelchair
in Hialeah (Florida) where he died at 84 years old, with the fixed idea
that one day he would return" to his hometown of Zulueta, in central Cuba,
the newspaper wrote.
"But still with us is his way of singing boleros, something we should not
forget," he said.
The newspaper noted that in 1960, at the height of Cuban bolero music and
dancing's popularity, "there was nobody in 1960 who didn't know who
But today few Cubans have any idea who he is, thanks to the policy of
erasing him and other emigres from public media.
That practice has been relaxed somewhat in recent years. The famous Celia
Cruz began to get some air play after her death in 2003 and bandleaders and
singers Manolín, el Médico de la Salsa and Isaac Delgado participated in
concerts with Silvio Rodríguez in Havana neighborhoods.
In the latest instance, popular 1980s rocker Tanya Rodriguez returned to
Cuba after 20 years and played with current pop hit brothers David and
Ernesto Blanco, according to a recent interview in the cultural magazine La
Copyright AFP, 2013.
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