Sunday, February 17, 2013

Una Cancion, Lisandra y Su Padre en la Casa, La Habana, Cuba, Julio de 2012

Since I first met Lisandra and her parents they have been family to me on the island. We first met on the famous walkway, el Malec√≥n, while making portraits of people walking by one late afternoon. She strolled by on the stone wall dressed in a polka dotted bikini with her mother and a friend. We asked permission to photograph her, did so and wrote down her information.

On subsequent visits we would photograph her in a ballet outfit, record her voice informally in her home, and then meet her father a few years later as he returned from working in another island on the Caribbean. It was when her father returned that the collaboration flowered, because for the first time we had musical direction and accompaniment. 

Rather than reacting with suspicion to our presence, this kindest of men welcomed us as family. He was enamored with the previous images and brought up the idea of a recording collaboration in their very home. While they lived in the center of the city, they felt confident that we could record with the cooperation of the neighbors. Her mother did a wonderful job throughout speaking to the neighbors and getting them to cooperate during the sessions, making as little noise as possible.

The family is an incredible team, with the mother as a singing coach and the father as a musical director. They would practice a few days in advance and then have everything arranged in the home for the recording sessions. We would be provided cold refreshments the entire time. The number of songs per session averaged perhaps six, but each might be repeated just in case something could be improved.

After each of the sessions, perhaps six over a span of two years, the family would receive the recordings on a DVD or a hard drive for their personal use of course. This past July her father informed me that our recording from the previous year has traveled the world through friends and that their friends were in disbelief that such a recording could have been made in such a way. They thought it amazing that a stranger would walk into their home and that they would perform so in such a circumstance.

It is this very trust that I admire about this family, and so many like them in my work on the island and elsewhere. These wonderful people restore my own trust in humanity in spite of the constant flow of negative information generated through the modern media. My hope is that she continues on her path to success and that countless others get to hear the voice that has enchanted me for so long.
Halim Ina Photography