The Grandfather of Rock & Roll in Cuba
Back when it was virtually banned by the government, Iván Fariñas took a stand to play the music he loved
- In November 2014, Pablo ‘Bongohead’ Yglesias visited Cuba for the first time on a legal educational tour. The following month, in an unprecedented move, the United States eased some restrictions between the two countries after decades of frosty relations. Although the trip was for personal reasons, Yglesias – who has contributed music writing to the likes of Wax Poetics and co-manages the Peace & Rhythm record label – stumbled onto a story in the form of Ivan Fariñas, an aging Cuban rocker with a lasting legacy on the local scene.
The chance encounter has since inspired Yglesias to spread Fariñas’s music internationally, including releasing a compilation of unreleased songs by Fariñas and his band Viento Solar called Bloomer Plastico. With the LP set to come out as a collaboration between Peace & Rhythm and Feeding Tube Records later this year, Yglesias revisited his first interactions with Fariñas for RBMA Daily, exposing the guitarist’s unique place in the history of Cuban rock & roll.