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Communal Scene, Havana

"...Tío Tom...is Cuban and a rebel...his real name is Gonzalo Asencio Hernández, and he is our best and most prolific composers of that popular variety of rumba known as guaguancó...Within the different types of rumba, the guaguanco is certainly the most citified (Havana, Matanzas) and it was in Havana's most rumbero sectors that Tío Tom began to develop several decades ago...the guaguanco has been a kind of social chronicle of the poor and the marginalized, in which everyday happenings of the family, the solar, and the barrio are recounted along with political events.

Tío Tom was born on April 15, 1919 in the solar El Modelo...at the corner of San Rafael and Hospital Streets, in Havana's Cayo Hueso neighbourhood...in the mid-twenties they moved to...San Nicolás Street between Marqués de La Torre and Diez de Octubre Streets...In the 30s the family moved to Estévez and Nueva del Piar Streets...His father died there in 1946 and several months later the family moved to Consejero de Arango and Zequiera Streets in Carragao, El Cerro, then to Pilar Street in Atarés. In the 50s they moved out of Havana to Gûines, where they lived on Reina Street. Today they live on Camarera Street in Guanabacoa...that has been the rocky road of Tío Tom and his family...he started out as a songwriter when he was 15 and he knew the most famous rumberos of the time..."

*Leonardo Acosta. From The Drum to The Synthesizer . Editorial José Martí, Havana: 1987