FILM genres have become diffused and
so it is understandable that director-actor Jorge
Perugorría has decided to add a fictional story to
his documentary on the Cuban tour of singer Cucu
Diamantes, resident in New York, who was born in
Havana’s Párraga neighborhood.
Cucu with Los Muñequitos de
Cucu, Perugorría and
director Ernesto Granado in one of
Amor cronico poster.
In order to record the concerts that
Diamantes gave in Santiago de Cuba, Bayamo, Gibara,
Camagüey, Cabaiguan, Cienfuegos, Santa Clara,
Matanzas and Havana, the director-scriptwriter
logically opted for a road movie.
Amor Cronico, a music
documentary with fiction included, resulted in an
entertaining comedy in which viewers can enjoy live
versions of the numbers comprising Cuculand,
Cucu Diamantes’ first solo album.
Cucu Diamantes and Andrés Levin, the
film’s producer, created the Yerba Buena group in
2001, a fusion of African and Caribbean rhythms with
an urban New York touch, nominated for a Grammy for
the song "President Alien" (2003).
Vocalist and the group’s principal
songwriter, Diamantes launched her solo career in
2009 with the album Cuculand, of her own
songs, produced by Levin and Yotuel from the group
Orishas who, as the singer affirmed, "gave it a more
personal sound." It was nominated for a Latin Grammy
for the song "Es más fuerte".
The Los Angeles Times wrote
then,"The captivating Cucu Diamantes [is] the sultry-voiced
co-founder of… Yerba Buena… her solo debut, "Cuculand"
[is] a melange of salsa, tango, surf guitar, trip-hop
and other shimmy-inducing sounds… Diamantes [is a]
standout, with her sassily sweet voice sailing over
a savory concoction built for hot summer nights."
According to Perugorría, everything
began with the Paz sin fronteras (Peace without
Borders) concert organized in Havana in September of
2009 by the Colombian singer Juanes, featuring
international figures such as Miguel Bosé, Olga
Tañón, Danny Rivera, Víctor Manuel, Luis Eduardo
Aute, Jovanotti and…Cucu Diamantes, in "a
reencounter with her roots, her natural public."
"That prompted the idea of a Cuban
tour, and she and Levin asked me for a testimonial
and that seemed very interesting to me, with the
risks involved in terms of her career. I thought of
a movie, as Cucu looks as if she has come out of a
film, she lives between fiction and reality, and
because the theme of Cuban artists who live outside
of the island and return to Cuba and reencounter
their culture and their natural public has always
With respect to the road movie,
Perugorría recalled his experience in
Guantanamera with Tomás Gutiérrez Alea - Juan
Carlos Tabío directing, and Humberto Solás’ Miel
para Oshún, as both make a journey through all
of Cuba. "Moreover, I wanted to make a tribute to
Cuban cinema, to which I have a debt of gratitude."
IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS
"I was born in Párraga, my name is
Ileana Padrón and I live in New York. I like to be
eclectic in my life and my music." This is Cucu
Diamantes’ introduction in the movie and in the
"For me, the film is a very organic
project and very emotional, it is very much one of
its kind, because it is my tour of Cuba and at the
same time we show the treasure which is this island,
its roots, Cuban landscapes, the people, the culture."
Diamantes wanted the movie to be
premiered in Havana and it was (it is still being
screened throughout the island), although it was
shown during the South by Southwest Festival in
Austin, Texas, where it won praise from the critics:
"Amor Cronico is like nothing you’ve ever
seen before - wildly inventive and fun."
The music, the heart of Amor
crónico, had in the concerts the special
participation of trumpet player Alexander Abreu, the
rumba group Los muñequitos de Matanzas, and Samuel
Formell, from Van Van. Diamantes said that
there was just one month of rehearsals with the band
that appears in the movie. "They are young musicians
from the island, not my New York band. "They are
Amor crónico, 81 minutes long
and filmed in barely 14 days, combines music – Cucu
Diamantes’ concerts – with road movie comedy, a
fusion of genres achieved with much rhythm and