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Alberto De Martino
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
Miguel Del Morales is a happy musician that is seen traveling from Havana to the eastern end of the island, as he pays a visit to the place where some of the best music of Cuba originates. In the process, he takes us along to meet his friends and people that have a lot in common with him as they all speak the same language: music!
Karim Dridi, a French director, welcomes us aboard to follow Miguel, better known as El Gallo, as he arrives in Santiago, a traditional place where some of Cuba's best musicians were born. Miguel, a man in his seventies, seems to be much younger than his years because he has the right attitude toward life; Miguel lives to make music and is right at home jamming with strangers.
We are shown different people Miguel meets along the way. There's always laughter and the beautiful music everyone seems to have a passion for. Thus, we are taken to hear Mirta Gonzalez, a woman of a certain age, but who shows more energy and joy than many others half her age. There is also Pepin Vaillant, a man who plays his horn and gets a lot of beautiful sounds out of it. There is Parsan Mallet, another old timer who plays the traditional son. Even the new generation, like the rapper Eulises Sanchez, has some nice harmonies for us to hear. Zayda Reyte, has an impromptu session as she answers her door to find musicians that are there to serenade her and she joins the traditional song one hears.
The film doesn't make any political statements. "Cuba Feliz" is indeed a loving look at a place where most of its people rely on music to get them through their day; they are poor, yet most of the people one sees in the film are truly rich in tradition. The music seems to be their subsistence and what nourishes their souls.
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