La nueva trova cubana: Una poetica y politica menor.

Lauren Elizabeth Shaw, City University of New York, Graduate Center


This study defines the nueva trova within the larger context of the song movements that emerged in the 60s in Spain, Latin America and the United States, all of which have in common a leftist, socialist and populist political orientation. Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes represent the pioneers of this form in Cuba, however, my investigation concentrates mostly on the second generationof the nueva trova, as expressed through the works of Frank Delgado, Gerardo Alfonso and Carlos Varela.;A form that has survived for nearly 4 decades, the nueva trova has undergone musical and textual changes in keeping with the current times, and consequently reflects the physical changes occurring on the island. Since the troubadours function as chroniclers of their surroundings, the texts of the nueva trova tell the story of Cuba since the triumph of the revolution. I am concerned with how this story is told within the confines of the artistic movement from the 60s that grew into an organizational movement co-opted by the Cuban government in the 70s. Since the mid 80s it no longer functions as an organizational movement, though its ties to the UJC (Union de Jovenes Comunistas) and government-sanctioned cultural centers such as the Casa del Joven Creador point to its affiliation with the state.;I use the literary theory of a minor literature as proposed by Deleuze and Guattari to discuss the nueva trova in contrast with canonical literature, the music industry and at times with the official ideology of the state. I demonstrate how the nueva trova preserves its minor status as it continues to exemplify the three elements that constitute a minor literature: politicized themes, a collective consciousness represented by the individual's enunciation (the solo voice of the troubadour), and a deterritorialization of language (through the ironic use of mimesis). With the second generation of the nueva trova, inter-textual references critically point out the discrepancies between the earlier, idealistic period concerned with constructing a new society, and the current, more realistic period concerned with the decaying infrastructure of contemporary Cuba. Ironically, these voices are rarely heard in this country.