HIPNOSIS, which last month became the first Cuban heavy metal band to request political asylum in the U.S. after arriving in Miami, made its U.S. live debut this past Sunday, August 18 at the Churchill’s Pub in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. Video footage of the concert can be seen below. A review is available at this location.
HIPNOSIS guitarist/vocalist Giovany Milhet told the Miami New Times that he and his bandmates declared political asylum as they were waiting in line with the representative from the Cuban government that was traveling with them.
"It was a very difficult thing [requesting asylum]," Milhet said. "We didn't expect things to happen the way they did. We made the decision because the girl [from the Cuban government] who came with us was very uncomfortable. When we arrived at the airport in Miami, she told us: 'You can't go out of the airport, or the police will arrest you.'
"What the fuck, man? She tried to put all of us in fear," Milhet said. "You'd have to be stupid to believe that."
Ramiro Pupo, the lead singer of the six-member band, was the first HIPNOSIS musician to seek asylum, explaining that his daughter already lives in Miami.
"Once we saw that we all decided to follow," bassist Fanny Tachin told AFP.
Two members of the group weren't travelling with their bandmates when they touched down in the United States: singer Maylin Ruiz is currently in Spain, and keyboardist Glencys Toro is already in Oklahoma visiting family, according to the Miami New Times.
HIPNOSIS was founded in Marianao, La Habana in 2001, and rose to fame in Cuba in 2004 with the release of its debut album "The Chosen One". The band's style combines elements of metal, gothic and grunge sounds.
A number of Cuban artists and athletes have defected from Cuba over the past few years. In 2008, seven members of the Cuban Olympic soccer team decided to stay after their game against the U.S. team in Florida. Cuban ballet dancer Rolando Sarabia also defected in 2005.