The signposts of Cuban infrastructure are people, so we ASK, ASK, ASK. We meet someone who knows someone who says a girl rap group is performing in a basement near Revolution Square. We find the designated basement and pay our 5 pesos apiece. Unlike dollar-based tourist entertainment, this event is pretty accessible to Cubans. The place is packed.
We are blown away by Instinto — Iramis, Dori and Janet. They’re performing, “Nuestro Vino” (Our Wine), at the club and then later, for us, in the middle of a Havana plaza, with on-the-spot choreography that made short shrift of half-an-acre of cobbled stone, and drew inspired crowds of young schoolgirls.
Rap’s not all that big in Cuba. You’ve got your salsa, your jazz, your folk music. And girl rappers are even more rare. But Iramis says Instinto hopes to change that. “We are promoting this kind of music so that people will accept it.”
Their name (meaning “instinct") captures how they operate — from the gut. “Everything comes out very fluent,” says Iramis, “very, very spontaneously.”
From the Interview: “I think we are like a vitamin for other girls. We are almost a symbol of courage — because we play rap. We’ve been able to make our dream come true, which is to sing the type of music we do. We take the North American influences of hip-hop, soul, rap and put it together with our roots, which are salsa, rubancora, rumba. Then we sing — we have these three beautiful voices, no? — and say what we want to say.”
- Cubana Rap
Carilda Olivar Labra
- Santería Priestess
- Exiled Activist
- Trip Guide: Cuba
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