“It's better to confront difficulties with a little bit of rumba in your life than to sit around and cry

or cut your wrists” --- Pablo Menéndez


















Pablo Menéndez
Guitarist and Bandleader


The music of Pablo Menéndez is as unique a thing on the Cuban landscape as is the man himself. No doubt, the fact that he is a United States citizen living in Cuba for over 30 years has influenced his musical choices, which have in turn influenced many young Cuban musicians. Born Paul Menéndez in Oakland, California, in 1966 Pablo moved to Cuba at age 14 in order to spend a year studying at the new Escuela Nacional de Arte, or National Art School in Havana, the prototype for schools which today train the cream of Cuba's high school-age artists. He stayed on to marry and raise a family, and to become very involved in the emergence of the new Cuban popular music scene of the 1960s and beyond.

Since 1985 Menéndez has led the popular group Mezcla, in addition to engaging in other musical pursuits. Here he talks about his experiences as a student and instructor in Cuba's music education system, of changes which he has seen over the years in Cuban music, and in the challenges confronting musicians and artists today.


How he came to Cuba

The Cuban Revolution and art

Who he attended school with

What Cuban education offers Cuban youth

Options available to Cuban music students

His views on the impacts of the Special Period in Cuba

Social expectations of professional musicians

Professional options for musicians

Differences in pay for Cuban musicians

Artistic commitment in Cuba

Interview With Pablo Menéndez © 1998 - Louis Head

To Contact Pablo Menéndez:


Pablo Menéndez


Calle 94 #110


e/ 1ra y 3ra


Miramar, Municipio Playa


La Habana, Cuba


Telephone: 53 7 22 70 34


Email: mezcla@artsoft.cult.cu


Website: http://www.mezcla.org