PuberTrasT, a Growing Orchestra

PuberTrasT, a Growing Orchestra
Fecha de publicación: 
10 May 2023
Imagen principal: 

Under the name of PuberTrasT a group of teenagers meet frequently to play their guitars. Since 2018 they have been juggling the hours to promote this project of professional growth, since each one has a different agenda, which, with the guidance of its director Alejandro Coira Díaz, they match with discipline, perseverance, and will. Their interests have their meeting point in the love for music and in the desire to offer entertaining, quality, and beautiful presentations.

Its emergence was circumstantial. And its durability, unquestionable, is motivated by the personal interest of each one, plus the impulse of Professor Coira, whom I recognize as tireless in his work, with an incredible calling for teaching and delighting his students.

PuberTrasT was born at the Alejandro García Caturla Conservatory of Music as part of the complementary subject Practice of Ensemble, "it’s a subject that has existed in art centers, both at the elementary and intermediate levels. For a long time in this school, Professor Carlos Vázquez did an excellent job, and then when I joined as Head of the Guitar and Double Bass Department, I decided to pay attention to it because I felt it was not progressing. At that time it helped a lot that the student quality of the three courses was quite high. And in the middle of the course, in January 2018, maestro Eduardo Martín, guitarist and composer, invited the orchestra of the conservatory to a festival he sponsored, the IV Encuentro de Guitarras Identidades, "and encouraged us to bring what we had, It wasn't much."

All very casual

Being the school orchestra still in its infancy, still very small and with little repertoire, we participated, and there we met interns from other art schools, such like Benny Moré, from Cienfuegos. Coincidentally, two professors I've known since they were young, Ariadna Cuellar and Michel Rodríguez were at the head of that representation. They saw our work, and liked it, later they suggested that we enter the Edgardo Martín contest in their province in April. I did not know it, but I did some research and found it very interesting”.

With this objective, after explaining to the boys what they needed to have at least half an hour of concert, Coira began to work harder with them, almost every day, practically without time or conditions because they did not have a classroom for rehearsals.

Also, the name PuberTrasT occurred to him at random. "I didn't want them to call us the Guitar Orchestra of the Alejandro García Caturla Music Conservatory," he wanted to give it personality, and in his analysis, Coira recalls that one day a seventh grader scolded him for calling him a child when in reality he was a pubescent boy. That anecdote came to mind while he was thinking about naming them, so he combined the word puberty with the theme of the guitar, he played with the fret, with sound and graphic modifications, and he made it that way. He qualified perfectly: teenage guitarists. “They were 12, 13, 14 years old in 2018, and now I have told them many times that they are almost at the end of that puberty, but they like the name, and I really do too, but sometimes I think it won’t be useful soon".

When during the school break week of April 2018 they went to the event in Cienfuegos with a name and a program, they had their first great group experience. From there they began to receive invitations to other festivals like Chocolate con Café, in Guantanamo, organized by Waldo Mendoza, its creator. These are two of the provinces they return frequently and for which they feel special affection for the cultural richness and the warmth of its inhabitants, but above all because it helps them grow; in these types of appointments the agendas are loaded with concerts, master classes, and much more.

Forced pause

After a good start, the Covid-19 pandemic with its restrictions limited the activities of PuberTrasT, since they could barely rehearse, and public cultural actions were in hiatus for too long. However, it was in the middle of the first year of the confinement when they were able to make three video clips that were shown in Mediodía en TV show and in other programs on Cuban Television; two of them were done online, each player from his house sent his part, and the other was in a recording studio. “Just with the second year of COVID, they asked me to collaborate for the anniversary of Fidel's birth, in August, and we set up En silencio, it had to be only with four children because the health environment was very complicated and in the recording room it was not allowed to be crowded. It was a quartet under the name of PuberTrasT, and they liked it a lot”.


Coira comments that the pandemic did a lot of damage to the orchestra, broke the inertia, and that made that initial momentum cool down a bit because it was more than a year without work. “At that stage the boys felt unmotivated, their way of life changed a lot, and, in addition, almost all of them were already at the intermediate level. It was also more complicated for me because of the workload. Until at some point they were the ones who got excited and encouraged me to resume the project. So we started rehearsing and putting together a new program.”

Little by little the cultural life was revitalized, events were rescued and planned, they began to receive invitations, and by then they already had a renewed repertoire, totally different, more complex. “We returned to the festival in Cienfuegos and we did not repeat anything at all. We work hard to achieve this."


"PuberTrasT has evolved as they grow as musicians and guitarists." That maturity they acquire as human beings, friends, family, is evident in the same way in the group. “There are always differences, criteria that are not unanimous for all aspects, contradictions and disagreements are normal, however, so far there’s a lot of love in PuberTrasT”.

It’s about de a young group with a fairly active life. They perform in every national competition, as soon as they are invited to the stage, and before the most diverse audiences, like hte tribute at the Spanish embassy in Cuba for the 20th anniversary of the album Lágrimas negras by Diego el Cigala and Bebo Valdés, at the end of 2022. Everything brings some teaching. “We’ve had the support of guitarist Reynier Mariño, who is very fond of the orchestra. With him we have established a very nice work relationship and fraternity, he has offered us space in his presentations, and has helped us to insert ourselves in other contexts”.


Currently there are nine players in the group, "all are very important" —considers Coira. And he explains that, although right now the oldest in PuberTrasT is around 18 years old, they started out being very young half a decade ago. About the experience we talked with three of its founders, Erig Rebull Fundora, Catherine Coralia Rodríguez Sánchez, and Amy Stephanie Ramírez Sánchez, the three of them coincide in their love for Coira and the guitar.

PuberTrasT is my first professional project —says Erig—, it has made it easier for me to truly perform as a musician, it has given me wisdom and the chance to develop as a guitarist, and also as a person. Coira is a great guide.”

"Regardless of the fact that Coira teaches me History of the Guitar, Methodology and he is in charge of pre-professional internships at the National School of Art (ENA), with him you always learn both guitar and general culture, and life" , says Catherine. “He is a teaching machine, he is a teacher, a friend, one of the best people I know, and he even motivates us to be better human beings; You can count on him for everything, and that's also an incentive to stay with PuberTrasT. Another of the greatest drives is the brotherhood of the members, we have been together in the orchestra for five years, but before that we were already very close. Currently we keep a very nice relationship, and we have grown as a family, partly because of music”.

I’ve always felt very good in the group” —says Amy. “We have achieved a very varied repertoire that has allowed us to perform in many places and events, and that is wonderful for a musician in training. In addition, we have an extraordinary teacher, very professional, and magnificent being who has taken us by the hand in this path”.

It gives me a lot as a musician and as a person,” says Coira. PuberTrasT has been a very nice exercise. In the same way, it has allowed me to grow and strive every day for excellence and to study new ways of saying, to look for programs that better identify with us as a group in order to transmit to the public a fresh, attractive, pleasant show that keeps the style we work”.

I feel that over the years the orchestra has contributed to my growth as a musician,” says Catherine. Working together, learning to listen to others, blending voices, as well as the discipline of following a conductor, offers us an extra element that as a solo guitarist you normally don't have. We have also matured personally thanks to the commitment and discipline that comes with being punctual at rehearsals and performances. The most beautiful thing that PuberTrasT has given me is a family”.

I like what we are doing. It motivates me that PuberTrasT is formalized little by little —says Erig—, every day the project is more real and therefore the rigor that Coira demands from us increases, and then that implies that we must dedicate more to our training, that our committment is more intense with the instrument. The biggest difficulty is moving so many people and coordinating the day we meet to rehearse because time is very short and each one of us lives in an extreme municipality of the city, even a colleague lives on the outskirts behind Lenin Park, but we strive to be punctual. That's why we do it Saturday or Sunday, fixed although during the week sometimes Coira goes to school and we make a little time”.

For Amy PuberTrasT it’s sacrifice. She relates that from the beginning of their career they have to discriminate between a stroll or the group. “The times I go out is with the orchestra, the times I see my family is on birthdays when they get together four times a year. Private life is also music in a schedule divided between school and rehearsals. We have presentations, festivals, events, master classes, competitions, exchanges with other centers, weeks of tests and concerts, all at the same time. To achieve this it’s important to have a lot of family support. We are part of PuberTrasT because we love Coira, we remain for the love of art and the guitar”.

"These guys are my pride," says Coira, "I always tell them no matter how rocky the road is, let's work, let's show that our only and exclusive interest is making music, doing what we want to offer, not for a note or for money or fame , not for any other people's interest in being in a group where we feel good, where we make music together, and at the same time we have fun and enjoy ourselves. I say from the bottom of my heart that they motivate me more than the other way around, they push me. Despite their young age, they have decision-making power, they know exactly what they want, they are of a superior human quality, and they are very good musicians.”

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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