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An Essential Lover of Habanos

The star of the 13th Habano Festival’s opening concert, the outstanding Cuban musician and composer is a passionate lover of Cuban cigars.

We’re aware of your passion for Habanos. When did it start, what pleasures does it bring up in you, what are your favorite brands and vitolas?

To me Habano is fascinating. I started smoking in hidden places when I was 11 because some neighbors of mine were cigar rollers in the Vibora barrio where I used to live, like the man who spent his entire life rolling cigars for Winston Churchill. I remember I used to smoke on and off because tobacco is pretty strong for kids, but I liked it. I think puffing on a Habano is an art that comes along with a ludicrous vision; a pleasure that must be taken on with the same dedication it demands. That’s why I think you can talk while you’re puffing on a Habano, drink a cup of strong coffee, have a drink, but that for me. I hate to put down my cigar when I’m writing and to me that’s something that shouldn’t happen at all. Today, I smoke Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta, and Monterrey, and I must add that my daily match is coffee, though a sip of whisky every once in a while.

What can you tell us about the 13th Habano Festival’s opening concert entitled Leo Brouwer Esencial?

This concert generously dedicated to me is going to have popular characteristics. You can’t have a monographic concert of contemporary music rigorously outlined under a style, or better yet, strict styles. That means there has to be some toying with popular elements or with re-performed dictions of the popular culture, which is what I do. We’ll play some of my versions of The Beatles, some of my compositions that have even been performed by popular musicians. Some good cases in point are Paisaje Cubano con Rumba, which has nothing to do with folkloric rumba. All the participating artists are top performers and others are special guests coming for this occasion, like Edin Karamazov, Jose Manuel Hierro –the Flamenco de Córdoba– and Javier Riba, a classic guitarist also from Cordoba.

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