Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thoughts of Quidam Pilgrim and A Cuban American World Series

When will Cuba shake off its communist shackles? Aside from nickel and sugar, as well as other raw materials, Cuba is, I believe a powerhouse waiting for the proper assistance to tap its human and natural talent. The fall of communism will not only be an earthquake in Cuba. It will have reverberations in the US as well.

The most obvious earthquake that will be felt will be when Cuban "beisbol" meets American baseball. Cuba took to baseball in the 19th century with at least as much enthusiasm as did their large neighbour to the north. It should be remembered that flocking to baseball games rather than bullfights was a cultural way of asserting their separateness from Spain. I have little doubt that Cuba will have a multitude of talented players who could play well against American teams. It would be the game of the century if a Cuban team were to make the World Series.

Then there is music. There are Cuban groups who could have a major influence on the American and international music scene. I happen to be very fond of "New Age Music." When I was searching for Cuban music, I was not expecting anything to turn up in that category. I was pleasantly surprised to find out about "Quidam Pilgrim", which is a Cuban new age group that has a style that reminds me of Karl Jenkins. "Quidam Pilgrim" sounds like it was sung in an invented language like that invented by Karl Jenkins to function as a vehicle of mood rather than specific meaning. I got the feeling that even though some of the lyrics were in English that their literal meaning was not central.

I was amazed at how little information was available on line. The web site for Quidam Pilgrim is in Spanish only. It gives thumbnail biographical sketches for the leading figures, as well as some articles from Cuban newspapers reviewing and describing the band. There is little doubt in my mind that Quidam Pilgrim could have a mass following in the US and around the world.

For years, there was a wall between the US and Cuba that kept the two countries apart. Economically and politically it was a disaster. Basic human rights suffered and eventually the standard of living. I wonder if the Cuban people will feel like Canada does about the US. Canada lives in America's long shadow yet is quite firm in asserting its cultural and political separateness. I expect post communist Cuba to develop its own means of asserting its independence and separateness from their large neighbour to the north. This will be a sign of political, social and spiritual health. I look forward to seeing it develop.

I think that some of the biggest acrimony might be from factionalism between Cuba's various factions in American exile and those who remained in Cuba. It should be remembered that Cuba never had a history of democratic traditions. It was ruled by a series of dictatorships even before Castro. Developing democracy in Cuba is likely to hit bumps in the road.

The Castro family has hung on in Cuba for a surprisingly long time even after the fall of their patron state, the USSR. The Castro family is as much a wealthy power clique as any of their predecessors in Cuba. They are likely to try and hang on.

I hope Cuba has a smooth transition. But past experience has shown that after a dictatorship is overthrown come new and in some ways far more difficult challenges. I look forward to hearing a lot more Cuban music in the near future. And I really want to see a Cuban American World Series. But it will take a lot of work to make it happen.

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