“The wounded Major rides on” was the line sung out loudly by the Five together with Silvio Rodríguez during the singer-songwriter’s 62nd concert of his Neighborhood Tour.
Immense was the impact of Gerardo Herández, René González, Ramón Labañiño, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González´s presence, encircled by the audience who came from neighborhoods surrounding Havana’s Latinoamericano Stadium, and greater still when they joined Silvio on stage to sing songs of freedom and love.
When Gerardo commented that the song “El Necio” had become a hymn of resistance for the Five during their most difficult times, locked up in isolation cells, missing the sea, rain, radiant Caribbean sun and the smell of coffee, the verses, “I don’t know what my destiny is/ I am what I am as I go along/ Up there God, who may be divine/ I will die as I have lived,” came to represent their immense pride in being Cuban and revolutionaries.
To the tune of “El dulce abismo”, tears began to flow among the Five and their families, who shared the joy of being reunited with their most cherished loved ones.
Moving was musician Vicente Feliú’s explanation that he made a promise to wear a yellow band until the Five Cuban Heroes arrived home, free at last. It was Tony who had the honor of removing the band in the his name and those of his brothers, after which Feliú and the Five performed a rendition of Tony’s poem “Regresaré”, set to music by deceased musician Polo Montañez, which closed their interaction.
David Torrens and his group, who opened the cultural event, got everyone dancing including Tony and his sister Maruchi, with “Sentimientos ajenos”, “Razones”, “Ni de aquí, ni de allá,” and several others.
Poet Víctor Cassaus, explained the purpose of the never-ending neighborhood tour and recalled that during many concerts the demand was made for the release of the Five heroes who “are with us today”.
With the Cuban flag as the backdrop, the crowd sang along to more than 15 of Silvio’s songs, among them: “Balada para Elpidio Valdés”, “Reparador de Sueños”, “Días del Agua”, “Papalote”, “Mujeres”, “Tonada del Albedrío”, “Óleo de mujer con sombrero” and “Canción del Elegido”.
At the close of the show - the area radiating with human warmth - the song “La era está pariendo un corazón”came as a reminder of the high ethical values that people can reach when they give their lives to just causes.
Music to move the soul; happy faces; emotions; euphoria; triumphant embraces; voices united in song; an unforgettable December evening - inspiration to start the new year with kindness and say to the world” I live in a free country/ which can only ever be free/ in this land, in this moment/ and I am happy because I am great…”
More than a starry night, the evening itself was magnificent, elating all those in Cuba and the world who believe in freedom and justice.