Itinerary of an artist
"Music is the mediator between
the spiritual and the sensual life"
Ludwig van Beethoven
Mike Porcel was born on Thursday April 13th, in the -not yet desolated city of Havana, Cuba. His first guitar came into his hands at the young age of three; however, it was not until he was nine years old that he received his first guitar lessons instructed by his mother.
He acquired his musical formation through the hands of outstanding professionals and masters such as Leopoldina Núñez – who taught several generations of guitarists -, Alberto Bernal, Harold Gramatges, Alfredo Diez Nieto, Vicente González Rubiera "Guyun" and Angel Vásquez Millares among others. With them he studied classical guitar, harmony, counterpoint, composition, orchestration and musical appreciation.
As a musician he began to work professionally in 1968 with the band Dada, one of the most famous, innovative and controversial Cuban rock bands of the sixties. At the same time he developed one of his fundamental lines of work: the composition. It is within this slope in which he has been best known. His songs are characterized by a delicate poetic sensitivity in perfect harmony along with a not less elaborated musical work.
As a composer he has received numerous recognitions. Famous Hispanic speaking singers such as Nacha Guevara, Elsa Baeza, Amaury Perez, Argelia Fragoso, Beatriz Marques, Angel Diaz, Jorge Hernandez, Danny Rivera, Bobby Jimenez and Ivette Cepeda among others have recorded his songs. In 1978 he was awarded with the First Prize of the World-wide Festival of Youth and the Students granted to his song En busca de una nueva flor (In search of a new flower).
In 1973 he expanded one of his fields of work as an arranger, for the songwriter Amaury Perez, albums “Amaury” and “Poemas de Jose marti” (Poems by Jose Marti) and as musical director of the group Teatro Estudio, where he worked for several years composing original music to several theatrical plays such as: La hija de las flores (The daughter of the flowers), a XIX century Cuban theater play classic by Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda; Se hace camino al andar (The road is made of walking) a tribute to the Spaniard poets Miguel Hernandez and Antonio Machado, both directed by Armando Suárez del Villar; Madre Coraje (Courage Mother) and Galileo Galilei by Bertold Brecht, both plays directed by Vicente Revuelta.
As a songwriter he has performed recitals in different theaters such as Bellas Artes, Hubert de Blanck, Teatro Amadeo Roldan, Teatro Mella and Teatro Karl Marx.
His contact with the theater made him conceived, in collaboration with two actors, a show titled Que hablen los poetas (Let the poets speak), where poetry, theater and music were combined, which obtained laudatory critics of the press by its originality and capacity to grant life to universal poetry -outside the solitary activity of reading-, and to make it accessible to all social spheres.
In 1977, Mike happened to integrate -as a co-founder and musical director- the rock band "Synthesis" that stood out in their first year of existence by the attempt, -for the first time in Cuba-, of blending the roots of Cuban country folk music with tendencies of progressive and symphonic rock.
It is indeed very hard to understand why the work of Mike Porcel always stayed in the limits of an "underground music". The only possible answer to this question is that his resistance to become a spokesman of the Castro regime marked him and, little by little, leads him to a total marginalization of the immediately previous years to his departure of Cuba. This stage of his life was in 1980, when he decided to emigrate, and the Cuban authorities retained him and his family during nine years. Those were years of constant harassment, repression, and the absolute lack of human rights. It wasn’t until 1989 - after manifold diligences of international defenders of human rights organizations that he could immigrate to Spain, thanks to the direct intervention of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations.
Outside Cuba he has developed an intense artistic-musical activity. He was hired by TVE (Spanish TV) like part of the cast of the daily program Buenos dias (Good morning), directed by Luis Tomas Melgar.
He created for "Radio Marti" a series of 52 programs, Despues de tanta vida…(After all that life…), directed by Norma Rojas and Marcos Miranda. From the point of view of composition and the orchestration, Mike co-produced the CD Mis momentos felices (My happy moments) sung by the Cuban-Spanish singer Elsa Baeza. This work was presented in tours that covered almost all the Iberian Peninsula, in which he participated as musical director of the group of musicians that toured with Miss. Baeza. He set to music and orchestrated poems of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa de Jesus for the show Aunque es de noche (Although it is night), which was conceived within the framework of the Expo Seville 92. Also during this period of time he composed original music for the documentaries Un siglo de Madrid (A century of Madrid) and Corpus Christi, directed by Mercedes Segovia, and the music for the cartoon animated series Meme y el Sr. Bobo (Mimi and Mr. Bobo), produced and directed by Myriam Ballesteros. With the Spanish actor Francisco Rojas and Elsa Baeza he creates a second version of Que hablen los poetas (Let the poets speak) who toured through several cities of Spain and Belgium.
At the moment he is an American citizen residing in the U.S.A. Here, he has been collaborating since his arrival with different theater groups: Teatro Avante (Avante Theater) Prometeo (Prometheus) and lately Teatro del Sol directed by Mario Ernesto Sanchez, Teresa Maria Rojas and Marcos Miranda respectively. For them, he has been composing original music for several works released by these groups in the Festival of Hispanic Theater that is celebrated annually in the city of Miami, Florida.
In October 2008 he released his first CD in solitary Intactvs. It condenses all these years of Mike’s prolific and active career, bringing together fourteen compositions some of them new and also well known featured themes. In April 30 2013 his second project "Personal" was released.
Finally, during the last years it has been working in several personal projects of different music styles (New Age, World Music, Neo-Classical and rock music) as a producer, composer and orchestrator CD "Intactvs" 2007 - CD "Personal;" 2012. In this line of work it is possible to mention his composition Echoes ( Cuban suite for orchestra and rock band - 2017) for symphonic orchestra and rock band with English and Spanish versions. At the same time, he has continued performing recitals in Miami and New York City.
The itinerary of Mike Porcel, the artist, has been once again a test of the failure of the intolerance and the authoritarianism to silence the voice of the dissident art, for which –as Mike said in one of his earlier songs- "there will be troubadours forever… throughout time… yesterday and today"