Javier Riba: from Cordoba to Havana


23/02/2011

This outstanding guitarist was one of the guest musicians summoned by maestro Leo Brouwer to perform at the 13th Habano Festival’s opening concert

A few hours later, still spellbound by the magic of the moment, he admits “it was something fantastic, a hallucinating experience,” especially due to Leo Brouwer’s ability to blend classic and pop music all in just one concert.

“I’m aware of the maestro’s ability to do this because he makes no distinctions between classic and pop music. To him, music is just music. Regardless of his Cuban roots, he’s got a very international way of making music. Every time he calls me to do one of these things, there’s always so much for me to learn,” he adds.

Though he doesn’t smoke on a regular basis, Riba has not escaped the temptation of the habano, chiefly because his visit is happening together with the celebration and ritual of one of the most genuine products made in Cuba, an island nation whose capital reminds the Cordoba-born guitarist of some cityscapes from his own homeland.

“It reminds me a lot of Spain, especially Cadiz, a coastal city that also boasts a small Malecon (seawall), and the atmosphere out in the streets, the music you listen to out there. I’d been here back in 2004 and I liked it a lot, especially the people, who are very tender and hospitable. And I enjoyed the magic this city has to offer, the ambience around.”