CUBA IN A BOTTLE – EPISODE 3


Don’t walk on here.
Stay on the road. It’s slippery! Stop! That’s what I was telling them.What did you expect?It was the Spanish who colonised us. But there were also Chinese, Africans
and the English were here too. So the food, the drink, the music,
the dances and the skin colours. It’s all because of the ethnic mix we inherited
from our grandparents and great grandparents and so on.Because I’m just a black guywho enjoys Cuban music.I come from Santiago de Cuba!Bringing the sugar cane
from the countryside to Havana.There isn’t a bar in the world
that can make as many Daiquiris as we can. We have to open the Floridita on time,
because if we don’t, the customers will break the door down. Many people travel thousands of kilometres,
just to come here and drink a Daiquiri. It’s like a religion. Now I’m going to explain how to make a Daiquiri. You take the blender, you add the sugar,
the lime, the Maraschino and the rum. You put in crushed ice, blend it and add rum. Then you serve it in a cocktail glass. Daiquiri! Lime Daiquiri!
If you drink one, you’ll drink loads! It began in the mines of Daiquiri. All there was to drink was ice, lime and rum and so this cocktail was the result. We shake it energetically.Maracaibo, how beautifully you dance!Now enjoy your Daiquiri. The first Barmen Association in the World
was the Cantineros Club of the Republic of Cuba which was founded on the 27th of June 1924. US Prohibition turned Havana into the capital of the cocktail. All the big names in the cocktail world
started coming to Cuba. We Cubans owe a lot to them
because they brought their culture with them. Those famous cocktails from
New York, England and other parts of the world and we also made our famous Cuban cocktails. So the Association got organised
and created their own Cantineros Club, with the intention of
training and preparing professional barmen to the highest levels of bar skills of the time. To me, a barman is an artist. A barman is a creator.Throw the badness into the sea.Throw the badness away!A foreigner once asked me,
“Teresa, why do foreigners love Cuban music so much?” I said, “I don’t know.
Perhaps because it’s tasty and it’s our thing?” He said, “No, no, no.” “Foreigners like Cuban music because of its Cuban-ness!” These are the spirits of my brothers and sisters… of Maceo, of Jose Martí of Camilo and Che and of Fidel who’s up there. I’m a musician, and a percussionist If I have to play jazz… Cuban jazz of course.
Ah! I enjoy it, I love it! When I’m asked to play Brazilian music…
Ah, how sweet! But when I play Cuban music… I lose myself there… I give everything, I feel like I’m floating in the air. I transform and I feel like I’m 20 again. People ask me, “Teresa, how old are you?” “I’m about to turn 80”, I reply. “80?!?” “Wow! What energy!” But a few drinks before performing are always good.
It warms up your blood. I don’t know, at least for me,
it fires up my imagination and gives me inspiration. I’m not much of a drinker,
but when I have a few shots before I start… Aaah! Rum… is… the music. It’s OUR music. In the 50s and the 60s
everyone tried to imitate the Cuban orchestras. Cuba is a world power in music and it has produced many great musicians. Great international performers, like Celia Cruz… Vicentico Valdéz and many more! In that era there really were nightclubs everywhere and a tremendous swing. The Tropicana, The Havana Libre, The Riviera… We also played at the Riviera. Everyone came over to play, like Nat King Cole… Thousands of famous people came to play in Cuba. Havana had everything. Go to bed early?! No way!
We were out late… …and yes, drinking rum! In my youth, they used to call me a ladies man because every couple of days, I had a new girlfriend. In this picture I was 33 years old. I charmed a lot of girls… My name is Orlando and I’ve been coming to this bar since 1956. At night it was loads of fun. It was pretty crazy. We used to live by night. Cabarets… and casinos in all the hotels. Music, good restaurants and good food. How can I put it?
The money was flowing! Most of the money that those businesses made was made by conmen and people who were corrupt. There were around one million people out of work. Many people were struggling to eat. The husslers, the corrupt politicians, they tortured you… They pulled out your fingernails
and they electrocuted you in the testicles. In cold blood. I was lucky. I always had two pistols and if they had arrested me,
I wouldn’t have gone down easy. Under the Batista regime
they killed youngsters, students and workers. The people didn’t approve of them,
so many like myself risked their lives. At that time we didn’t think about personal gain. There was a kind of patriotism. There was this one guy, who started
making a way for himself. Despite all the difficulties and despite all the police
and soldiers after him. Fidel Castro started to become an idol. Since the day of our revolutionary triumph in 1959 we, the working people, were finally considered to be “real human beings”. We received good salaries, guaranteed health care, guaranteed education for both sexes and equal salaries, without any discrimination.Our countryCuba in a bottle.A captured ray of sunCenturies distilledin the storyof our Cuban rumOur memory…The United States thought that
since it was the people that put Fidel in power, once the Blockade was in place,
then those same people would overthrow him. After all these years,
the Blockade has had its effects, but they haven’t been able to break us down,
or bring down Fidel. That’s the thing about us Cubans.
We’re fighters.Centuries distilled, in the story of our Cuban rum.Our memory.




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