Unpacking 'Patria Y Vida', A Hymn For A New Cuba : Alt.Latino The Cuban experience is synonymous with Cuban music. This week, we take a look at the uprising in Cuba and the island's history with protest music.

We Excavate Cuba's Rallying Cry, 'Patria Y Vida'

We Excavate Cuba's Rallying Cry, 'Patria Y Vida'

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From Havana to Miami (pictured here), protestors have chanted, "Patria y Vida," or homeland and life, a clever play on the revered, long-held mantra of the Cuban government: patria o muerte. Scott McIntyre/The Washington Post via Getty Images hide caption

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Scott McIntyre/The Washington Post via Getty Images

From Havana to Miami (pictured here), protestors have chanted, "Patria y Vida," or homeland and life, a clever play on the revered, long-held mantra of the Cuban government: patria o muerte.

Scott McIntyre/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Cuba has a long and rich history of revealing its truest self through music: culture, heartbreak, pains and frustrations are all hidden within twists and turns of nuanced prose and complex beats.

Earlier this year, a group of Cuban artists — both still on the island and in exile — came together to produce and disseminate one of the most flagrant criticisms of the Cuban government the world has ever seen. For a few months, the nation held its breath.

On July 11, tensions boiled over. The island erupted in the largest uprisings in recent Cuban history as Cubans protested food shortages and high prices during the pandemic. At the frontline was the defiant song in question, "Patria y Vida," or homeland and life, a clever and glaring play on the revered, long-held mantra of the Cuban government: patria o muerte (homeland or death).

Last week, we published a piece that unpacks the song's meaning. And in this week's episode, we go even deeper: we pick apart lyrics, get a history lesson on the Cuban government's own musical agenda and address theories about how the song came to be. Join us as we journey to Havana to understand exactly how music is shaping the Cuba of tomorrow.

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