Native Son

It has been fifteen years since Albita Rodriguez decided to pack her bags and leave Cuba. And much has changed with the expressive and vocally gifted Cuban sonera/songwriter. Gone is the closely cropped hair. Gone are the Armani suits and fedora hats. But one thing that hasn't changed is her bittersweet feeling for all things Cuban. New Times recently caught up with Albita for a brief interview.

Are you at peace with yourself at this stage of your career, knowing that your Cuban music style, son, will never be as mainstream as you would like?

I don't agree with that. I think my music is mainstream — especially here in Miami, where it gets a lot of airplay. We may not be talking on the same levels of hip-hop and reggaeton, but I'd be coming off as real ungrateful if I said my music doesn't get enough airplay. I have nothing but good things to say about all the programmers, producers, and on-air talent in Spanish radio down here. They've been very fair with me in regards to playing my music.


Albita Rodriguez

Albita performs each Friday at Havana 1900, 3850 SW 8th St, Miami. For more information, call 305-444-4077.

Really? Let's take Albita Llegó, your most recent album. Besides "Duermo en la Calle" and "Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao" — which I'm lucky if I hear once every several months — none of the other songs have even made it on the air. And that's just this album, because you can forget all the other ones. Agree?

Again, some of the radio formats in Spanish radio have changed with the reggaeton and hip-hop craze, but I'm very appreciative of the play I get and the way they've treated my music throughout the years. I have nothing to complain about.

But isn't Albita a bigger draw in Colombia, Panama, and Puerto Rico than right here in Miami, which should no doubt be a hotbed for son?

I spent three years in Colombia after deciding to leave Cuba, and the people there really adopted me and my music. I mean, everywhere I went, people welcomed me with open arms. But there's something different with the people here because, one, most of them at my shows are Cuban, so they identify closely with the music, and, two, they can relate to my experiences being from Cuba.


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