Bianca’s Transcript: Bianca – B and Soobie – S
This interview was really joyful and extremely hard to edit down because we wanted to keep the joyful ness and expressiveness of Bianca’s memories and thoughts. Bianca is third generation Cuban and has never visited Cuba so is speaking from the impressions she has gained from family and friends.
Bianca starts by describing what she thinks Cuba is famous for:
B.I think of music of like, Celia Cruz, Buena Vista Social Club ...and different musicians that come out of there. I also think of Jose Marti Perez the poet and revolutionary figure of Cuba. I think of historical exploitation that obviously like happened there, both of those indigenous people and African slaves which were brought to the island.
S.If you had to describe the island using three colours, what would they be and why?
B. I think lime green. You know I think of the tropics; I think of like rum and coke and like palm trees and like the imagery that I associate with it in that way. I think of blue. Because my Abuelita, she would always talk about how blue the sky was, this was something like kind of very pastoral about like the way she described it like as if it never rained. And another colour, I think, would be red. I don't know why I think …there's something to do with the music maybe and, like, I guess maybe the stereotype of like passionate, you know.
S. Is that something that you notice about your aunts, or your parents or your grandparents? What kind of characteristics do you recognise in them that may be different to American, what you might say are mainland American characteristics?
B. There is a directness right? Experiencing joy in its fullness, in the moment that I think is very characteristic of Cuban people and I guess perhaps as islanders as a whole?
S.Where would you say you culturally and physically kind of draw your identity from?
B. My Father’s side of the family comes from Santiago de Cuba ,which is more on the right, eastern side of the island. They were more like middle class or like upper middle class. So, their like culture and their families and how they express themselves differs a lot from like how my mom's side of the family expresses themselves. Thy are from Pindar del Rio, which is on the left side which is more rural. We call them guajiro, you know that they're kind of like a bumpkin.
But also, you know, I'm someone who grew up in the south ,in the United States, right I grew up in North Carolina my whole life.
S. Is there anything particular about the language that you really love? Any phrases?
B. I grew up with my with my Abuelita who spoke only Spanish. That's how I learned Spanish, was through her. But my parents being second generation did not speak to us primarily in Spanish.
‘Con el verso del Marti , y el machete de Maceo’ which means
‘ With the verse of Marti, which is referring to the poet and revolutionary Jose Marti, and the machete of Maceo, who was his right hand man and like a guerilla general during the war against the Spanish for Cuban independence.
S.What kind of musical styles or instruments do you associate with Cuba?
B. Drums, a lot, I think like trumpet. Because there's like a very certain like rhythm to it, you know, that I associate, like if I hear it, I will like know that this is referencing Cuban music right.
[Soobie asked about favourite food memories]
B. Like, I love cuban coffee, not just as a beverage, but as like a practice. I mean even the way you make it, you have your caponera every morning. Since I was three years old my Abuelita she would give me cuban coffee [ chuckling] which meant I was a very hyperactive child [ Laughter] that I would not wish on anyone. But that communal practice of like sitting there and like having to do this action right, and because cuban coffee is like espresso, right, like you’re not going to drink it all by yourself. You need to share it.
S. Going onto food. What would your favourite islands meal, your favourite Cuban meal be?
B. I mean there's so many things I love but I think like my favourite one, like my definite comfort food is vaca frita, which means like fried cow.
S. Are there any particular cultural traditions that you would like to get rid of?
B. Oh yeah, everything to do with sexism …. any colonised countries can have the vestiges of a lot of different things, right?
B. So having to deal with all those interconnected power structures. I think that offers a lot of possibilities for new things right, because, you know, what would we look like as a community without that, right?