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Alabao!!! A difficult word to translate from Cuban Spanish to English but basically, it’s an expression that shows excitement and amazement.

Erick looks like he stepped out of a 1970s or 1980s disco. He’s wearing black bellbottom jeans, a leather like sleeveless jacket open at the chest. You can barely see his shoes that appear to be the Florsheim models that were all the rage in the late seventies and early eighties in Havana, and his haircut is straight out of the same era.

He laughs before he goes on stage in present day Havana, he jokes around with the band before acknowledging the anxious crowd.

Someone shouts out “Let’s have “La Paciente,” and many others join in.

“So soon,” Erick responds.

“Start off slow, let’s go, good afternoon! Here goes.”

The first chords sound and it’s “Alabao,” one of the songs from Cimafunk’s latest release. Cimafunk is Cuba’s newest fusion bands and they already dominate Havana’s nights. The CD is titled “Therapy,” and it’s a mix of funk and afro-Cuban sounds that truly are therapeutic.

Being at one of their concerts is like getting electro shock therapy. How do you dance to it? You dance how you like, there are no steps like with typical Cuban music.

Erick Iglesias Rodriguez is the groups singer, and I ask him what motivates him to play the music that they play.

“In life you are born with a gift, and you must discover what it is and then do everything possible to enjoy it and use it. And babe, if you can make a living doing it…”

Erick was studying medicine when he discovered his life’s’ gift one day and he’s been doing everything possible to use it.

He first started playing music in Pinar del Rio Province west of Havana, he then became a member of the Saiz Brothers Association which brings together young Cuban writers and artists. When he got to Havana he was drawn to musicians that were playing timba and funk. He then joined the musical group Interactivo, which is directed by Roberto Carcasses, and mixes timba, funk, and jazz to create their unique sound. He then joined The Boys, another Havana band, which became a favorite of Havana’s young music lovers.

Towards the end of 2016 Erick decided to start his own band and names it Cimafunk. The composite name includes his cimarron lineage, as he believes he is the descendant of escaped slaves, and a musical style that tries to be unique whenever it’s played.

Their CD has eight songs that are a musical mosaic.

“Me Voy” is inspired by Nigerian Afro-Pop, conga, and Cuban tres guitar beats.

“Ponte pa lo tuyo” features Roberto Carcasses and is a mix of funk and chachacha.

“Parar el Tiempo” is pop with chachacha that tells a love story.

“Basta” is disco-funk.

“Alabao” is a duet with Brenda Navarrete.

“Fiebre” is pure pop.

“Revuelto” is pop and Cuban trova.

Someone in the crowd yells “la Paciente,” again.

“La paciente” tells the story….no, I think you should download the CD and listen to it yourself.

Or catch Cimafunk when you make it down to Havana.

By Dina GomGar

#cimafunk #cubanfunk #cubanmusic

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