Maraca at La Fête de Marquette
Maraca last appeared in Madison with his Cuban band
Otra Vision in 2003 at the Marquette Waterfront Festival.
because it unites people. There is a part of history that has not been written because of the politics. And even though we are not politicians, we’re
making history. We’re writing the history that the politicians haven’t written. Some day, it will be recognized as such.”
The Cuban-American musical connection has long forged new musical trends in the United States as well as the Caribbean. Back before Cuban-
American relations hit the deep-freeze as a result of Fidel Castro’s successful revolution in Cuba, Cuban bands regularly traveled the East Coast
and spent summers playing in northern New York in the Catskill Mountain resorts. And many an American spent winter months in Havana, Cuba
enjoying the music and the gambling resorts.
It is the Cuban embargo that has kept more than fine cigars out of the United States. It has also hindered the interchange and evolution between
Cuban and American musicians and audiences. Indeed Maraca y Otra Vision have evolved since 2003.
“We have a stronger and more diverse vocal section because I always like to surprise you,” Maraca said. “Because whatever you were
expecting, I’m going to surprise you and bring something else.”
As Maraca played before a very enthusiastic crowd, their voices became instruments that added to their driving beats. Willing or not, your body
would begin to move with the rhythms that Maraca was sending forth. Nothing else existed except the music and the rhythms.
“This group and I are the medicine for the hearts of many people,” Maraca said with a laugh. “Today’s world has too much stress. People have
heart trouble and health issues. I can assure you that after dancing to good Cuban music, the chances of strokes are minimized. It is ecological and
It is medicine that should know no boundaries.
By Jonathan Gramling
On July 9, Maraca y Otra Vision once again let their salsa and meringue rifts fly through
the air in Madison at Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center’s La Fête de Marquette. Maraca has
digs in Paris, France as well as Cuba, which makes it a little easier for him to enter the
United States with the double-whammy of post-9/11 and the hardening of Cuban-
American relations during the George W. Bush era. The last time Maraca appeared in
Madison with Otra Vision, his Cuban band was in 2003. The last time Maraca appeared
in Madison three years ago, he was forced to play with a group of American-based all-
stars. His band could not get timely visas.
“They fight and we make the peace,” Maraca said through interpreter Ricardo
Gonzalez. “We make music. We bring art. We bring happiness. We never brought hate
or war. And the proof is in how the people understand that and respond. We’re all the
same people, the United States and Cuba. Hopefully soon, we’ll be able to come and go
more. There have been conflicts and things have been pretty tight. The musicians and
artists are over that. And we don’t want that. We want peace and art. And art is good