The idea of appearing shirtless on the cover of The food, his new album was completely his. Advantages of having just turned 32, having a reasonably athletic physique and, above all, conscientiously practicing open-mindedness, voluptuousness and an uninhibited mood. Because the food referred to in the title of the album by Cuban Erik Alejandro Iglesias, much better known by his artistic nickname of Cimafunk, has nothing to do with any culinary specialty or with the nutrients of the spirit. In this talk, another type of appetite will have to be settled: those of lust.
Cima only knows modesty when it comes to talking about politics, a subject that he hates. He is extremely bored by questions about the Cuban regime, he prefers not to step on puddles that always end up splashing and he feels comfortable in his role as an eclectic Caribbean: proud of his country, but a lover of Spain and a regular on the coasts of southern France or in Mexico City, where he practices as an incipient record producer. On any other matter, however, prepare for his accelerated and unstoppable verb. He challenges the brotherhood in each sentence, feels devotion to the noun “gozadera” and boasts of self-confidence when the conversation penetrates through torrid territories. “I love to think that my music encourages sex, brother,” he emphasizes. “There is nothing wrong in it. It is pure basic instinct. Since puberty, why fool yourself, we all know well that meat is synonymous with desire ”.
Don’t stop for a minute. He shakes his hands, smiles relentlessly, asks delicately for a beer to be brought to him and displays like a treasure the microphone with which he entertains himself constantly improvising rhythms and verses, until the memory of the phone bursts with so many voice notes. It is still that same whirlwind that as a child, as a child, barely stepped on the house. “Mine was a neighborhood childhood and a party. All day without shoes, with snot on the outside and feet full of wounds: a super rich stage, the best of life ”, he smiles.
He longs so much for those years a step away from Pinar del Río, in the middle of the island plain, that he remembers with laughter the greatest of his misfortunes: a first Sunday in May, at the age of 13, in which he broke both wrists while “juggling ”By the roof of an abandoned tobacco factory. “I came home with all the Mother’s Day gifts on the table, trying to hide the pain, until I couldn’t take it anymore. I finished that course with both arms in a cast, riding my bike to school with my fingertips. Those were times when you discover that a simple plate of cornmeal with sugar is enough to make you happy ”.
Ah, happiness. Here is the leitmotiv that still today, two decades later, continues to guide the footsteps of this tall and conceited Cuban, a good-looking man with extravagant hairstyles and an inexhaustible collection of glasses whom we find upset because on his way through Lisbon he lost somewhere some cowboy boots with high heels that adored. But headaches, brother, only the righteous. “I want to be happy all the time, I stay positive with the universe to give me good energy,” he says. “At some point the turbulence comes, of course. I too wake up sometimes upset, like everyone else, and that state makes me irascible and unproductive ”. As an antidote, the microphone from which it is never separated ends up breaking in. “Funk Aspirin, the song that opens the album, was born from one of those moments of anger. Music cools me down any discomfort ”.
The drug metaphor also portrays him well. Erik Alejandro studied in his country the first three years of Medicine before assuming, more amused than resigned, his status as a black sheep in the Iglesias family. “I enrolled at the insistence of my grandmother Georgina, who always insisted on the importance of being well-prepared men,” he smiles. “I was always all crazy, focused on girlfriends and parties, and I assumed that that easy life could not be eternal.” His surgeon cousin was the envy of all Pinar del Río, but he could not emulate him. “I lacked conviction, brother, and that’s not how it works. Better a bad song than a bad treatment… ”.
The world lost a mediocre doctor and, in return, has found a visceral, emphatic, overwhelming interpreter. That little boy who sang at the top of his voice The Past, Past, of José José, through the corridors of the house and collaborated with the choir of the Evangelical Church, today serves as a consummate apostle of the love affair and sicalipsis. And there will no longer be anyone to stop it. It stood out from 2017 with Patient O I’m going, incipient and self-managed hits for a first album with an already very medicinal title, Terapia. But this Food represents in comparative terms a triple somersault with a pirouette. The production now corresponds to Jack Splash, a Californian eminence who previously had worked for Alicia Keys, Katy Perry or John Legend. And guests at the banquet include Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco (if you woke up in a limp today, give yourself a full dose of Break it with the volume to burst), the legendary Cuban rumberos Los Papines, the illustrious pianist Chucho Valdés or the singer CeeLo Green, interpreter at the time of the irresistible Crazy O Fuck You. And as if that were not enough, the great George Clinton, creator of the Parliament and Funkadelic gangs, accentuates the withering effect of that Funk Aspirin with which to fight the worst strokes of the spirit.
The figure of Clinton has served to enlarge the wake of Cimafunk, already considered in some circles as a capital name in black music. But the aforementioned detracts from that euphoria around him. “They are very flattering, without a doubt, but I feel closer to criollismo, the Afro-Cuban cause and the punch of hip hop,” he clarifies. In any case, Cima proclaims himself a fervent supporter of dance as a shock to the miseries of life. And he takes the opportunity to highlight his aversion to “betrayal, abuse and, in particular, evil, those people who find profit in hurting others.”
That is why Erik Alejandro considers himself “dancing and enjoying” —pronounce both terms with the greatest mischief— and advocates, taking up the central axis of his speech, “because people enjoy themselves”. “Sex connects you with God, brother,” he emphasizes. “The religious themselves remind us that God is love, and I agree. He created everything. And if he hadn’t wanted us to get close to each other, he would have arranged another system: leave that seed there and a child will grow… ”.
“By the way, friend, would you trust someone who didn’t like to dance?”
—Only from my daddy, brother, who neither sings nor dances, but is one of the wisest people I have ever met in this life. He doesn’t understand much about music, he just enjoys it. And he speaks little, but is always right. His is the wisdom of the peasant, the wisdom of the land. And there is no one who can overcome it.