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Joanis Santa Cruz from Cuba learns Kyrgyz to dedicate a song to Kyrgyzstan

Joanis Santa Cruz arrived in Kyrgyzstan six years ago from Cuba. Juan is a dancer and singer. He is also a music producer.

Joanis Santa Cruz literally grew up on stage and cannot imagine his life without a fiery rhythm. «Kyrgyzstan is a country you can fall in love with,» Juan said. He admitted that although he lives in Bishkek, his heart belongs to Issyk-Kul — the most, as the Cuban says, beautiful lake on the earth.

— What did you like the most about Bishkek and what reminded you of your homeland?

— Bishkek is a very peculiar city. It is so cozy and homelike.

There are a lot of old Soviet buildings, and this, perhaps, reminds me of my native Cuba.

Joanis Santa Cruz

This type of architecture is also popular in our country — Stalin and Khrushchev-era buildings. But it spices up your capital.

— You have been living here for six years. You have, probably, traveled a lot around the country. Where have you been to and what do you remember?

— Kyrgyzstan is a small country. There are just 6 million inhabitants. One gets the impression that everyone knows each other and lives as one big friendly family with their own traditions and values. But they are very sociable and hospitable.

You can feel it in every corner, be it Osh, Karakol or Kara-Balta. My favorite pastime on the road has always been to admire the scenery. The mountains are different everywhere.

But the most favorite place is Issyk-Kul. I can sit on the shore for hours and listen to the sound of the waves, look at the glare on the water. This is mesmerizing.

Joanis Santa Cruz

During one of my last trips, my friends urged me to skydive. But I’m afraid of heights, so I didn’t risk.

— What about national cuisine? Do you like national dishes?

— I am Cuban. Meat is not very popular in my homeland. We prefer fish, lots of fruits. But while living here, I became addicted to meat dishes. I really like kuurdak and beshbarmak.

— What are you afraid to try?

— There is no such a notion as «fear of food» in my vocabulary. I am very curious and I am happy to eat whatever I am offered. Moreover, people cook so good here. Not to try something is to offend the host.

— You yourself write the lyrics for the songs. Do you have songs about Kyrgyzstan?

— I try to write in Kyrgyz. But for now, these are only sketches. To compose music or poetry, you need inspiration, a flight of imagination.

In this regard, going out into nature helps me a lot. In the mountains I am energized and able to create.

I speak Kyrgyz a little, but not fluently. The language is very beautiful, lively and very organic. It was created in order to compose poetry and musical works.

Joanis Santa Cruz

— You are fascinated by our country, and it is very pleasant to hear it. Is there something you didn’t like?

— It’s hard to say right away. Perhaps, it is the high crime rate. But criminals are found in every country in the world. These are, in a way, the costs of the dynamic development of society. But I was always treated well here.

I have many friends and I do not feel lonely. Although, of course, I really miss Cuba. But I became attached to Kyrgyzstan, I fell in love with this mountainous region, the people who live here and so warmly welcomed me.