Even as Cubans prepare for the coming of private property, a bar in Havana is rolling back decades of musical deprivation. Damien Cave of The New York Times’ Havana Journal reported Saturday on The Yellow Submarine, a Beatles themed bar in a country that used to consider rock and roll to be an imperialist tool. And though the bar is government owned, and though it’s “still quite Cuban,” The Yellow Submarine enjoys a varied clientele of baby boomers rejoicing in listening openly to music they once had to sneak, and “twentysomething hipsters (in jeans and tight T-shirts)” who are interested in experiencing something new and different in Cuba’s nightlife and musical landscape that may signal greater cultural changes overall.
As for the music in the bar? Cave writes:
…perhaps because of that history, the band played like rebels. Fast and raw, they zipped up and down the bass lines of “Dear Prudence” as if the song were new. They raced through “Rocky Raccoon,” and when they reached the opening words of “Let It Be” — “When I find myself in times of trouble” — the entire crowd began singing along, swaying, staring at the band or belting out the chorus with their eyes closed in rapture.
We want to hear these covers.