Seventy-six-year-old Cuban street musician Miguel Del Morales, known as El Gallo (The Rooster), travels around Cuba with his guitar, making music in the homes of friends, in bars, and on ...
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Seventy-six-year-old Cuban street musician Miguel Del Morales, known as El Gallo (The Rooster), travels around Cuba with his guitar, making music in the homes of friends, in bars, and on street corners, in courtyards and stairwells. His rich voice, colored by a lifetime of cigarettes and rum, weathered by the sun and rain, bespeaks the joys and sufferings of his countrymen. An urban troubadour, Del Morales has been called "a living memory of Cuban bolero." Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The anatomy of a people spills out of their music and onto the streets of Cuba in this simple road movie. El Gallo, "the rooster" troubadour singer travels through different parts of Cuba, welcomed by old and new friends alike. No "interviews" or story line of the conventional sense, just heartfelt bravado and slice-of-life charisma flows out of the instruments and vocal chords of these musicians. Its not the destination but the journey that matters in this film.
There are a few poignant scenes: one scene, older musicians improvise songs with ease in a kind of musical cipher called a changui, when a younger kid/ rapper tries to jump in the mix with a few lines but he's not really allowed to continue. Another musician explains tradition to him: in order for the the younger generation to truly learn the music and how to improvise in a changui, they must listen first. The kid reluctantly concedes, but manages to sneak in a few rhymes to be "tested out" in his protest. In another scene, a 70+yr old trumpeter peacefully performs his morning stretching/mediation ritual, trumpet in hand.
Hey, if you're going to watch a devoid European filmmaker explore (and envy) the rich vitality of a people, forget about Buena Vista Social Club folks! At least Dridi leaves Cuban music to the Cubans...Surely not a groundbreaking film but an enlightening journey all the same.
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