INTERVIEW WITH BOB JACKSON ABOUT ERDWIN GARCIA

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2014-7-10

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While some bands have utilised crowdfunding campaigns to cover the costs of their first album or perhaps first national tour, Bob Jackson is running one to help a Cuban musician, Erdwin Garcia, leave his country for the first time.

Bob firstly explained his connection to Erdwin; “he is a 26 old singer songwriter who lives in Trinidad de Cuba where he makes a living playing gigs and teaching. I first met Erwin whilst on holidays in Cuba in 2009, he was playing at an art gallery opening and I loved it. I found out it was his original work but because of the nature of the music scene there it is very hard to play your own material when tourists generally just want to hear ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ stuff and tourists are the only ones who tip the musicians…”

Erdwin Garcia

Bob himself is a music producer so was able to make some rudimentary recordings with Erdwin and his band, “we spent the next few days recording a demo using a handheld recorder. It really was like when people were first recording in the 1920s, I had to draw lines on the floor for the musicians to stand at when they were playing and they would lean into the microphone to sing! I flew back to Ireland, edited and mixed the demo and sent the CD’s back to Erdwin.”

Initially Bob thought that was the end of a little project, but after a few people heard him playing it he realised he had to continue this musical journey, “I got such a good reaction to the demo that I decided to record a full proper album with Erdwin so in July 2011 I arrived back in Havana with a mobile recording studio hidden in my suitcase.”

The very poor communications infrastructure in Cuba means the steps it takes to make a record has taken much longer to do than here, “I’ve spent the last three years preparing the album for release, I’d send some rough mixes to him via courier, it can take weeks for the packages to get to him – if at all; eventually he would be able to send me really short emails with changes he’d like to make. They have no texting, facebooking, streaming, youtubing; like I couldn’t just email him a track to listen to.”

While the project of making the album was funded completely by Bob himself, he has started a FundIt for what’d he’d like to happen next, “it’s been set up to bring Erdwin and his band to Europe in September and perform outside of Cuba for the first time. We will film this journey as he leave Cuba – he has never been on a plane, never stayed in a hotel or been in a guitar shop. He has never seen advertising as it exists in Western countries – there’s no commercial advertising in Cuba. In Ireland Erdwin and his band will experience a world completely different to Cuba and he will bring something unique to an Irish audience – his music.”

You can hear Erdwin’s music and find details of the FundIt campaign to bring him to Ireland via www.erdwingarcia.com

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