Image Sense and Sensibility
In its feminine sense, the ideal of a male orchestra makes sense in Iliana Morales. Born in Cuba, her life was told by García Márquez in a story with a happy ending, which she would place in the outskirts of Macondo. A fable with a dose of magic in the circus where the story begins. It was created by his grandfather, integrating his children into it. The musical section, for the father of our protagonist, a self-taught man who trained in all known instruments and in some born of his fantasy. We see Iliana, aged seven, playing the accordion in that tent, among wild animals, clowns and jugglers. Television would catapult the family to stardom, which, without leaving the circus, played trendy music on the small screen. His house became an alternative cultural space for the neighbors, who began to go to the Conservatory where Iliana and her brothers exchanged cha-cha for Bach or Chopin. After training, she began her career between the New and the Old Continents (Cuba, Chiapas, Mexico City and Madrid), enriching herself in each place as an instrumentalist and pedagogue, recognized in both fields with important distinctions. Installed in Spain since 2002, while sharing knowledge between the Royal Conservatory of Madrid and other professional music centers, when her imagination is capable of describing a mood or a flower from the keyboard with equal property, she has decided to bet on her first album in solitary, who has baptized with the suggestive title of Elegy for a dream. Continue reading...
The beginnings of an artist
CONVERSATIONS WITH EVA SANDOVAL (FRAGMENT)
Eva Sandoval (ES): Iliana, you have music and performing in your genes, since you belong to a family of outstanding musicians: “Los Moralitos”. You’ve lived and worked in three countries (Cuba, Mexico and Spain) and you’re currently considered one of the leading Cuban performers of your generation. But how would you introduce yourself?
Iliana Morales (IM): As a communicator, as a human being who loves music intensely and the beauty of art in every one of its manifestations. If I could live several lives, I would dedicate each of them to a different branch of art.
ES: What is your family background as far as music and the arts are concerned?
My artistic inheritance comes from my grandfather, owner of one of the most famous circuses in Cuba at the beginning of the 20th century. When he was 14 years old, he ran away from home and joined a circus that was passing through his village. He trained as a performer and ended up as impresario and owner of the Morales Brothers circus, a family enterprise which has now seen a third generation follow a musical career path.
ES: Who was the first musician in the family?
IM: The first to choose music as his form of artistic expression was my father, Jesús Morales Valdés. He was a natural – he never set foot in a conservatory but could master any type of conventional instrument that came into his hands, as well as all kinds of other more unusual music-making devices: saws, rattles, tubular bells and many other things that he designed himself with his instinct for instrument-making. He travelled the world for years, captivating and astonishing audiences wherever he went. He won various major national and international awards, but what mattered most to him was the love of his own people. He was very much a self-made and self-taught man.
ES: Could you tell us about moments in your life as a performer that have particularly moved you?
IM: The concert I gave in the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas, in southern Mexico, where they announced me in indigenous dialect... A performance at the Harris Concert Hall in Aspen, because of the warm reception I got from the audience – they queued for so long, and I signed more autographs than I ever have in my life… The speechless emotion of playing Cervantes’ dances in duet with my daughter when she was only seven years old… And the most unforgettable times of all – accompanying my father on the accordion when I was a girl, while he made his saw sing like a siren, playing the immortal melody of the famous Cuban bolero “¡Quiéreme mucho!… dulce amor mío…”
Iliana with the presenter of De tarde en casa (Afternoon at home) on Cuban TV’s Canal Educativo, a channel dedicated to educational programming.
She talks about her recent concert in Havana and about the family of musicians into which she was born.