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The Bennymania

By: Rafael Lam | Source: www.cubasi.cu | 01 de September 2009

Benny More is one of the most interesting characters of Cuban show business, he was no saint, he was a human being with defects and virtues, an artist with a purpose and a life full of victories and setbacks.

The singer belongs to that breed which Gabriel Garcia Marquez spoke of with relationship to The Beatles: “he was the apotheosis of those who never win; in a world where winners are always those who score more goals, the richest men and the most beautiful women".
Benny shone in that world Garcia Marquez spoke about. He climbed to the top of popularity overnight; he left Cuba in 1945 and he was quickly singing with the most famous rhythm orchestra of the world: Perez Prado, King of Cuban mambo. On his return to Cuba, in 1951, he only needed to put together a band (his dear tribe), to sneak in the first place of the continental fame.

In an interview made by Umberto Valverde, of Colombia, the Cuban musician Mario Bauza spoke about the Benny: "Benny was not even greater for his behavior (…) he stayed in the past because he was not interested in the future". Benny was something else, like Leo Brouwer said: "He preferred to live like he wanted and not like it was best for him".
Benny answered people with a song that goes like this: “They know me well / but they don´t treat me / I am friend of the friend / of the wage I am not / I know well how I am / I´m like they are with me / think really hard my friend / see if you can equal me /.
Thus Benny was creating a contagious virus called "Bennymania". Millions of followers wanted to look like him. He put in fashion to dance, dress, and be combed like the Benny, it was a lifestyle, a spirit, an atmosphere.

"The clothes Benny imported from Mexico was that of the Pachucos - explains ICAIC specialist Jose Galiño -, it´s the clothing of identity of many Mexicans in the Latin west of Los Angeles, initiated in mid 1940´s; although I consider that the origin must be sought among the blacks of Harlem introduced in jazz, a music and style that greatly influenced in Latin rhythms.

For poet Nicolas Guillen Benny was a typical case of artist who the public exceptionally forgives and applauds. "Benny preferred a meeting of friends to the demands of a contract with some dictator, rich man, and bourgeois.

There was another merit in Benny, a huge and defined merit: his Cuban identity without paying tribute to the golden calf. Hence his death was cried by the entire Cuba "with tears that wet", on the words of our great poet, but whose voice sounds like never before, unstopping and without fading in the airs of every day."



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