Erick Alejandro Iglesias left his hometown of Pinar del Río to follow his passion for music in the movement and madness of Havana. But first, he decided he needed a new name for himself–something reflected his music’s AfroCuban rhythm and funk, and gave a nod to how he arrived in Havana.
“I stepped into this city without a job or a place to stay,” says Iglesias. “Como un cimarrón”. Like a runaway slave.
And so Cimafunk was born.
Now one of Havana’s most unique emerging artists in Havana, he got his big break when he was invited to sing in the choir of the famous Raúl Paz, a fellow pinareño.
From there, he quickly found himself singing with the likes of Silvio Rodríguez, Liuba María Hevia, Robertico Carcasses, and other renowned Cuban musicians. In October 2017, he launched his first solo album, Terapia (Therapy), and earlier this year he won the Primera Base competition at the Havana World Music Festival.
But it wasn’t an easy path. Before he was Cimafunk, Iglesias says he sang in his church choir, sanded trucks in a machine shop, studied medicine, worked as a translator, and eventually began delving into the Cuban musical genre of trova–until he fell, fatefully, into funk.
"The music grabbed me and said 'My brother, THIS is for you’," says Iglesias.
The music that Iglesias creates fuses his love of funk with AfroCuban rhythms inherited from his cimmaron ancestors. "Música rica pa´gozar" as he calls it. Rich music to enjoy. In other words: his music is a whole lot of fun. It has a great beat, and you can dance to it.
But beyond getting people to dance, Iglesias thinks of his music as something of a higher calling. “Somehow, I feel like I have to help build and shape what’s happening in Havana right now, and in Cuba,” say Iglesias. “It's our generation, and we have a responsibility to do this, I think.”
And that's perfect for us. Great energy and fun, with a social conscience.
Cimafunk is exactly what we need right now, actually.