What could be a better antidote to the blistering cold of winter in Ottawa than an evening of Cuban music in the comfy warmth of the National Arts Centre? Well, probably many things if I’m being completely honest – like staying home for instance – but on January 19th, 2008 I had a ticket to Tiempo Libre for some reason or another so that’s where I ended up, cold weather notwithstanding.
This seems very much like one of those NAC shows for which I might have requested comp tickets through my (very) part-time job working with the orchestra, but in those cases the ticket usually has a big, beautiful “$0.00” under the price heading. This ticket doesn’t, so either I bought it in a fleeting fit of interest in Cuban music or more likely it was a gift, perhaps from my friend Doug who I went with. If so, my thanks to Doug, I appreciate it and I will remember the gesture forever.
That said, it could actually have been a temporary suspension of my general disinterest in Cuban music. This was right around the time that I had spent a week in Havana drinking daiquiris and hearing live music everywhere I went so it’s possible I came back to Canada hankering for more. Either way I only really have tiny snippets of memories from this concert, billed as the hottest Cuban band not from Cuba (and thus free to tour internationally). I can’t even remember if the NAC orchestra was backing them up or if it was just their own band on stage. Through the cobwebs of time I can see the singers in my mind standing down there on the stage and I can hear the claves tapping away incessantly, but not much else remains with me from this night.
Except the ticket stub of course.