Pablo Milanés: Cuban music legend dies aged 79

Pablo Milanés Arias was born within the east Cuban metropolis of Bayamo in 1943, the youngest of 5 siblings born to working class mother and father.

His musical abilities have been obvious from an early age. On the age of six, Milanés began coming into, and sometimes profitable, singing competitions on native TV and radio stations, and later studied on the Conservatorio Municipal in Havana.

Regardless of the formal coaching, he typically credited the bohemian musicians of his native neighbourhood because the inspiration for his early profession.

Though he supported the Cuban revolution of 1959, Milanés was initially focused by Fidel Castro’s authorities, who clamped down on “various” tradition.

The musician was reportedly harassed for sporting his hair in an afro, and in 1965 was despatched to an agricultural forced-labour camp for his curiosity in overseas music.

He ultimately escaped and denounced the camps. However the experiences didn’t dampen his fervour for the revolution, and he started to include politics into his music.

Working with musicians resembling Silvio Rodríguez and Noel Nicola, and sponsored by Castro’s authorities, he co-founded the nuevo trova motion – which was designed to replace conventional Cuban people music for the fashionable, post-revolutionary society.

In 1987, the New York Times, external, known as Rodriguez and Milanés, who have been shut collaborators, “as a lot an emblem of Cuba and its revolution as Fidel Castro and his beard.”

“The success of Silvio and Pablo is the success of the Revolution,” Fidel Castro was quoted as saying at a reception honouring the artists in 1984.

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