Eva Silot Bravo (Cubaencuentro) recently interviewed Cuban rapper Telmary, who is presently touring the United States. She describes Telmary as a founding member and one of the greatest exponents of Cuban alternative music, and promoter of women’s hip hop and rap in Cuba. Here are excerpts of Silot Bravo’s description and interview with the singer.
[Telmary] joined the Free Hole Negro band from 1999 until 2002, when she became one of the central figures of the Interactive group, led by musician Robertico Carcassés. As part of this group, she participated in CDs Goza Pepillo (2005) and Cubanos por el Mundo (2010), edited by Bis Music. She was part of the cast of the film Habana Blues (2005), by Spanish director Benito Zambrano. In 2007, she recorded her first solo album, A Diario (PID), which was awarded the Cubadisco Award for best hip-hop album and was chosen as Best Latin Artist by Now Magazine (in Toronto, Canada).
What is the uniqueness of Telmary in the Cuban alternative and hip hop/rap music scene? I believe that it is that insatiable quest, that concern with creating a Cuban hip-hop. In some way, it is having to defend and to disseminate something that is genuine; and [also] that part of the influences that we have in Cuban music have to do with the ability to improvise. To create hip-hop that is completely Cuban, we must learn a lot from repentismo, the décimas of the guajiros, the Afro-Cuban guateques and moyubbas. . . because they are prayers, spoken poetry, which give the possibility to invoke energies, the ashe. I think this has been a little Telmary too. It is my way to express, to flow, to accumulate experiences and to explain them at a given time. [. . .]
When did you realize that you had achieved a distinctive voice within Cuban music? There is so much I still need to do! It is true that Cuban women musicians have stood in the shadows, but it is about time! Now women already feel empowered, and this can be felt in any genre: you see it in trova, rap, hip hop and timba as well. For example, Xiomara Laugart, Gema Corredera, Haydeé Milanés, Yusa, Haila, Vania Borges, Tania Pantoja, Martha Galarraga, Danae, Las Krudas, and DJ Ladies, among many others, have reached a certain space; they made people respect them and, in turn, they have influenced many other Cuban artists. But perhaps they are not that well-known yet, because we still carry the ballast of machismo and a world dominated by men. The media is also controlled by men. Here women play another role, but they are struggling and awakening. It is another rebirth. It is still difficult, and it has not yet been resolved. We are at a transitional stage.
[Many thanks to Ariana Hernández Reguant for bringing this item to our attention.]
For full article and interview (in Spanish), see http://www.cubaencuentro.com/entrevistas/articulos/me-interesa-llevar-a-cuba-a-los-rincones-del-planeta-264396