Music Heals: Draco Rosa Beat Cancer with Chords and Intimate Conversations

Interviews, Music Heals
03/28/2019
KEXP
English Translation

Monte Sagrado is the name of Draco Rosa's most recent album, released in 2018. With these songs, the award-winning Puerto Rican artist brought a new integral concept to his life.

This album was not the album that Draco (whom you might remember from the 80s pop group Menudo) had thought of when he had ideas for such songs as "Quiero Vivir" or "Vivir Mañana." The diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011 changed his plans quite a lot. His life and songs changed radically with this disease, its subsequent treatment and cure, generated the artistic concept that surrounds Monte Sagrado.

 

Within the framework of Music Heals, the Latin American composer, poet and producer spoke with KEXP about a process that allowed him, in his words, "to sharpen the soul."

"When all this started, my original plan was to take a guitar and a keyboard to the hospital. I realized that the best thing for me was to look for musical pieces, a lot of classical music. The beauties offered make their contribution. Thus several themes were born, several songs of those moments," says Draco Rosa.

His musical connection during his treatment was fundamental and, he assures, "of the most intimate things of the human being, to be able to feel those chords with your body." For his treatment, Draco says that the music that accompanied him should be "soft and not at all aggressive," considering that, at that time, the joints of his hands were affected and the rest of his body too. “I was weak.”

We asked him how this musical company was, as an impact on his creation:

"Music has been changing. Monte Sagrado, it really is not the record that I was going to release. I was in another head. In songs like “Quiero Vivir” and “Vivir Mañana,” these pieces were not clear, because that vitality that I thought had disappeared and I found it again or rather it found me and then Monte Sagrado was born as we know it. The important thing about music is that it goes with the flow of your health," he says.

 

Not all the treatment process was the same, Draco Rosa says that "at another time it was different."

"I was skinny, hairless, fucked up in bed and rejecting to see people. One thinks: no one sees me, the fans don’t say anything and one's family does not either... loneliness is what dominates and then suddenly what dominates is the piano. That moment is the piano, the piano knows a lot about me, I want to know about the piano, it knows me, it understands me too much. The piano knows my feelings.”

The internal and creative process that Draco lived during his treatment was profound, full of truths that he chooses today to share with others who are going through the same thing:

"After the music people leave, everything goes away, you're alone. Then you have a conversation with yourself, with your body and I am convinced that I believe in myself and that I can. Many say that to reach that peace is to accept death and no, I do not accept it but a lot of peace came to me when I was in a hospital. The intrapersonal relationship that one has with his own body, and convincing yourself that you have the power to heal, is essential. It is a process that allows you, at the end of the day, to sharpen your soul."

Draco Rosa publicly reported in August 2018 that he was already free of cancer. From there he focused on his foundation Vox Forte Horizonte and the Puerto Rican coffee, Draco Rosa, whose sales revenue goes to its foundation. In addition, it organizes the Festival of Life that takes place annually in El Dorado and that helps raise funds to bring awareness and fund treatment of cancer.


ORIGINAL VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL

Music Heals: Draco Rosa superó el cáncer entre acordes y conversaciones íntimas

Monte Sagrado es el nombre del más reciente álbum de Draco Rosa, editado en 2018. Con estas canciones, el multipremiado artista de Puerto Rico trajo un nuevo concepto integral a su vida. Este disco no era el disco que Draco había pensado cuando abrazaba ideas como “Quiero Vivir” o “Vivir Mañana”.

El diagnóstico de un Linfoma no Hodgkiniano en 2011 cambió bastante los planes. Su vida y sus canciones cambiaron radicalmente con esta enfermedad, su posterior tratamiento y cura, generaron el concepto artístico que encierra Monte Sagrado.

En el marco de Music Heals, el compositor, poeta y productor latinoamericano habló con KEXP sobre un proceso que le permitió, en sus palabras, “afinar el alma”.

“Cuando comenzó todo esto, mi plan original era llevarme una guitarra y un teclado al hospital. Me di cuenta que lo mejor para mi fue buscar piezas musicales, mucha música clásica. Las bellezas que ofrece hicieron su aporte. Así nacieron varios temas, varias canciones de esos momentos”, cuenta Draco Rosa.

Su conexión musical durante su tratamiento fue fundamental y , asegura, “de las cosas más íntimas del ser humano, poder sentir esos acordes con tu cuerpo”. Por su tratamiento, Draco cuenta que la música que lo acompañaba debía ser "suave y para nada agresiva" teniendo en cuenta que, en ese momento, las articulaciones de sus manos se veían afectadas y el resto de su cuerpo también. Estaba debil.

Le preguntamos cómo fue esta compañía musical, como impacto en su creación: “La música ha ido cambiando. Monte Sagrado, realmente no es el disco que yo iba a lanzar. Yo estaba en otra cabeza. En canciones como Quiero Vivir, Vivir Mañana, estas piezas no salieron claro, porque esa vitalidad que yo pensé había desaparecido y la encontré de nuevo o mas bien ella me encontró a mí y entonces nace Monte Sagrado así como lo conocemos. Lo importante de la música es que va con el flow de tu salud”, asegura.

 

No todo el proceso de tratamiento fue igual, Draco Rosa cuenta que “en otro momento ya fue distinto”. “Yo estaba flaco, sin pelo, jodido en la cama y por un lado uno rechaza también a la gente. Uno piensa: que no me vea nadie, ya el fan no dice nada y la familia de uno tampoco... la soledad es lo que domina y entonces de repente lo que domina es el piano. Ese momento es el piano, el piano sabe mucho de mi, yo quiero saber del piano, el me conoce, me entiende demasiado. El piano sabe de mis sentimientos”.

El proceso interno y creativo que vivió Draco durante su tratamiento fue profundo lleno de verdades que hoy elige compartir con otros que están pasando por lo mismo: “Después de la música se va la gente, se va todo, estas solo. Entonces uno tiene una conversación uno mismo, con su cuerpo y me convenzo de que creo en mi y que si puedo. Muchos dicen que llegar a esa paz es aceptar a la muerte y no, yo no la acepto pero mucha paz me llegó estando en un hospital. La relación intrapersonal que uno tiene con su propio cuerpo y convencerte a ti mismo que tienes el poder de curarte, es fundamental. Es un proceso que te permite, al fin de cuentas, afinar tu alma”.

Draco Rosa comunico publicamente en agosto de 2018 que ya estaba libre de Cancer. A partir de allí, se abocó a su fundación Vox Forte Horizonte y al café de Puerto Rico, Draco Rosa, cuya recaudación en ventas va destinado a su fundación. Además, organiza el Festival de la Vida que se realiza anualmente en El Dorado y que ayuda a recaudar fondos para aportarlos en concientización y tratamiento del Cáncer.

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