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Emilio Morales: Music is a state of mind

Emilio Morales: Music is a state of mind

He cannot go to sleep without "having passed his hand to the piano" at some point, and he does not conceive of making music without being covered by it "in the refrain, in the syncopation, in the tumba'o ... The Cuban is carried in the blood and it always comes out in every note".

Emilio Morales, a Cuban musician, arranger and composer, is virtuoso of the instrument he chose from childhood in the interpretation of repertoires of popular dance music, the feeling, the song and, above all, in jazz, "where I really feel that it is more free from the musical point of view ".

Spontaneous, charismatic and in particular, affable, Emilio moves from classicism until contemporary, "because the training in the schools of artistic education in Cuba allow it, and those who graduate from their classrooms and in them we are still as teachers, we understand the importance of moving through that wide range ".

In 2008 he founded the group Los Nuevos Amigos, in which Enrique Lazaga has been with him since then, and to which many musicians have joined over time. "The name is a pretext to remove from oblivion those downloads of Israel "Cachao" López and other talented people in the 30s of the last century". As a meeting of friends after all, has been seasoned with voices such as those of Vania, Leo Vera, Osdalgia, Omara Portuondo, Beatriz Márquez and Sory, among others, that put feeling to the compositions of top figures such as José Antonio Méndez, Rolando Vergara, Piloto and Vera, Frank Emilio, Eliseo Grenet, Ñico Rojas, Adolfo Guzmán, César Portillo de la Luz, María Teresa Vera and many more.

Artist! That was the word that, according to the memories of his mother, Emilio pronounced with only 3 years. Although he is not convinced of it, the certain thing is that was the impulse for her, who hummed songs all the day, introduce him in the world of the music, although in the family he would be the first one to cross that way. "My mother adored tango and wanted me to play accordion, to approach the bandoneon in some way. Luckily, at school, they invited me to the piano and from its keys I sometimes pleased her, with those heartbreaking tangos ".

Emilio thanked his father for having completed his studies at the National School of Art, "because closer to finish the race than to have started it, I thought about abandoning it. A lot of dedication, a lot of daily practice, and above all the fear of not being able to improve myself. But he saw a future in me, as the teachers of the school who were so patient with me saw it. I was very young and sometimes, when you are so young, you do not value what you are capable of doing to set a future. "

Music is felt from within, and only then can it germinate pure and perfect, he tells me. "It is not enough to learn the score and believe that you already play Chopin, Bethoveen, Mozart. Everything I learned with the professors of the Soviet school in those years made me change my perception of what I was doing. Music is not mechanical reproduction of some notes ... The melody, the harmony, the passion that radiates from within, that's something else".

His work in the Orquesta Hermanos Avilés, during his stay in Holguín after graduating, extended his musical horizons and from there, then with Joaquín Betancourt in Opus 13, with César López in Habana Ensemble, with Paulo FG y su Élite,, with José Luis Cortés and NG La Banda, Emilio understood that "the musician has to be agile, he has to be better every day, he has to understand the formulas of improvisation, he has to accept that there is always something new to learn".

How to maintain the Cuban identity, even when you interpret issues from foreign authors? I ask. He smiles. "Listen ... Music is respected as the legacy of the greats is respected. To maintain the Cuban identity is not to return completely to the 50s. No, it is to let what we are flow, because being Cuban is breathed and infected. Music is also a state of mind, and one cannot interpret the I Movement of the Pathetic Sonata of Bethoveen as a theme of Frank Emilio, or Dizzy Gillespie. If you feel it, if you let it enter you, then it will come out as it should”.