Monday, 28 December 2009

The Revel Quintet - Part I

Last November I spent nearly two months in Cuba. I was working in a production called “Ian Wright – Out of Bounds”, his new gig for Travel Channel. Cool stuff. Since Ian has already travelled the world and back, in this new series he steps out of the beaten track, going to the most unusual places, like Syria, Sri Lanka, Venezuela… and, of course, Cuba. Luckily the unbeaten track in Cuba is huge, since most visitors stay in Havana, Varadero or the Capes, beside some day trips to a few other locations.

During the shoot we crossed the country inland from Havana to the eastern coast village of Baracoa, also filming in Camaguey, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. We found one of the most fascinating stories in Sierra Maestra, a pretty inaccessible thick tropical forest National Park in the oriental part of the island, a symbol of the warfare started by Castro and his fellows against the Batista Regime during the late 50’s.

“The Revel Quintet”. This is the name given by Fidel Castro to these old geezers when they were only 15 years old, poor and analphabetic. We met them in Villa de Santo Domingo, a charming mountain lodge at the entrance of the National Park. They were dressed with the traditional army uniform of the Cuban Revels, the same Castro and Che Guevara wore while they were fighting Batista during the early years of the Revolution.

It was sunset and the light was about to vanish; the scenery along the way up to the mountains had been so beautiful we couldn’t help our selves from stopping probably too many times to film it. They were expecting us and when we arrived, they were already prepared with their instruments and as soon as we placed the camera they started the music.
Here you can make a free a secure download of "Respect to Che Guevara", one of the "Revel Quintet" Album

It was typical Cuban guajiro music (guajiro means countryman). The lyrics and rhymes were so simple that could have been written by an 8 year old pupil. Most of them where in their 70’s and in their army uniforms they looked like beaten soldiers that fought for too long. But their voices were passionate and their feelings genuine. You could tell theirs was a great story.

                                (the rest of the story coming soon)


  1. hi Adela! Finally I got here! nice place;) well, as to your trip, wow! must have been such a great experience! ;) I guess Cuba is a bit wild and undiscovered land so far and the idea we have about it is still distorted in a way.. hey, and you've also met Ian! ;) cool!
    Anyways, all the best for 2010!! I mean lotsa amazing trips ;)) ok then, bye for now and keep well! Diana

  2. It will be for sure a nice project.

    But the biggest gem in the movie is you, Adela :)

  3. I'm happy to see the out of the ordinary travel insights. I'm a huge History buff so, seeing this makes me excited about seeing all that is to come. I'm happy for Ian on his new gig. I really like it so far and, can't wait to read more.