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Cienfuegos is a city that many artists carry in their hearts after visiting it, even more so if they have a very special bond with it. This is what is happening with Reynier Mariño. I witnessed his tours throughout Cuba, and I can attest to what it meant to him to be able to come to this city. Today, I want him to tell it himself. I am grateful that he accepted my invitation to dedicate a few words to his audience in the Pearl of the South.
"My history links me to this city since I was born. When I was a kid we would always go to the house of an aunt who lives near the Tomás Terry Theater, where my sister and I would spend our vacations. I was born in Havana with roots in Cienfuegos, so I consider it my second city. I now live in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which has a lot to do with this region of Cuba. My ancestors, my great-grandparents, on my mother's side, emigrated from the Canary Islands to Cienfuegos.
"Somehow, my career as a soloist begins there. I always tell Miguel Cañellas that I thank him and my friend Joel Zamora for giving me the opportunity to perform for the first time as a soloist at the Tomás Terry Theater. I was accompanied by Damir Fuentes (Piñata), percussionist, friend of mine and yours, Sandra. We were invited by Joel Zamora, who was in a summer course of Lizt Alfonso, with whom I was working at that time, and he told us that he was going to do the Hispanarte Festival, with the show España, te siento. It was in '99; I was 19 years old. We went there with the singer Zita Moliákova. I remember it as a great experience. I keep it in my memory as an incredible anecdote.
"That's how my career began in my mother´s city , of my holidays, my second city. One of the most deeply rooted places in Cuba in terms of Spanish traditions. It was from that festival that I gave the idea to Mailyn, who would later become my first wife, to create Reynier Mariño and his group. I remember that our first official presentation, with the show Guitarra Flamenca, was at the Caturla Hall of the Amadeo Roldan Theater, on October 21, 2000. The second presentation was precisely at the 'Terry', because Cañellas gave us the opportunity to perform for the first time in a theater in the big hall. It was amazing.
"Since then, the bond with Cienfuegos has always been immense in every way. Every time I tour Cuba, I include that city. I do it for different reasons: one artistic and one sentimental. Playing in Cienfuegos for a group of flamenco or Spanish music and dances in general is essential. There is a great accentuation of that culture due to the number of Spaniards who emigrated directly to Cienfuegos.
"Sentimentally, because my family is from there. My mother is from Columbia, a town that belongs to Congojas, near Altamira, municipality of Rodas. There are acquaintances and real friends, and in Cienfuegos I have close friends. Among them are you, Sandra, an excellent flutist, a connoisseur of my work, my friend for 20 years, and Joel Zamora. The anecdotes with you and Joel are incredible; we have made so many presentations together, so many concerts. He has undoubtedly been very important in my career, because he has marked me in some way. Someone who I really consider as my family. They are people I appreciate very much. Also Miguel Cañellas, the greatest promoter of my career there. And Ana, a young musician whom I love like a daughter.
"The truth is that I get very nostalgic whenever I pass by the highway, because I go to perform in any other part of the country and I see the train at the entrance of Aguada...I remember very nice anecdotes; of calling Joel Zamora out of the blue and him going to play with me. It gives me such a strong nostalgia, it's as if my heart crumpled because I wanted to turn the bus or the car to the right and continue to Cienfuegos. I composed a large part of my work there. I send the warmest embrace in the world to Cienfuegos, to that city that I have loved since I was a child. Cienfuegos is in my blood and in my heart".
Thank you again, Reynier, for your words. Let's hope, when the times allow it, to have you here again, to enjoy your talent and friendship.
Reynier Mariño carries the Pearl of the South in his soul and from a distance he still longs to be with his Cienfuegos audience again.
(Taken from 5 de Septiembre)
English version Hector Hdez.