miércoles, 30 de junio de 2010

The Revival of a Cuban Dancer Choreography

The National Dance Award and director of the Caribbean Dance Theatre, Eduardo Rivero, announced the revival of his choreography Lambarena, during the Thirty Fiesta del Fuego to begin next Saturday.

The choreography, like other of his creations, mixes religion and popular, sacred and earthy, with the music of Hughes de Coursay y Pierre Akendenqué.

The company will share the stage of Marti Theater with dancers from USA, Curaçao and other countries, as part of the dance program, one of the most attractive of this artistic event.

The founder of Contemporary Dance of Cuba Company and creator of Súlkary referred to the Caribbean mark in his trajectory, which he shows in the work dedicated to reggae and Bob Marley, in which he express the strength, vitality and happiness of men and women who inhabit this land.

The members of the Caribbean Dance Theatre have presented in Montego Bay, Jamaica, with performances that included son, merengue, salsa and a round dancing of salsa as a demonstration of the versatility of its repertoire.

Soon Chinese Culture Festival in our City

The 10th edition of the Chinese Culture Festival will take place on July 17 and 18 at the Culture Hall of Havana’s ExpoCuba Pavilion.

Chen Wei, director of the folk music group of the Aihua Traditional Orchestra from Shenzhen, announced that, as an introduction to the event, these artists will perform on Wednesday at the Culture Hall of ExpoCuba, and on July 1st, at the Cuban capital’s Teatro Nacional.

The group has musical instruments dating back to two thousand years, like the Zheng, a kind of harp of 21 strings, which is placed horizontally and played with several picks held with the fingers of the right hand.

The program of the two-day event includes presentations by the Cuban School of Wushu, a fashion show with traditional costumes of the most representative Chinese ethnic groups, photographic exhibitions, and the presentation of the books El caballo de Shuan Zu, by specialist Olivia Chong, and Antiguos relatos vueltos a contar, by writer Mercedes Crespo.

ExpoCuba’s Central Hall will offer a presentation of martial arts, among them of Choi Lee Fut, Kung Fu and Wing Tzu, and there will be sales of handicrafts and exhibitions of works awarded in the fine arts and literature contest Admiring China. Alfredo Ruiz, director for International Relations of the Culture Ministry, and Gong Jiajia, cultural counselor of the Chinese Embassy to Havana offered all information.

martes, 29 de junio de 2010

The Bolero: An Expression of Cuban’s Gentleness and Harmony


It can be said that, on an international level, the bolero is the genre most representative of romantic music. The bolero is said to have originated in 1895 in Santiago de Cuba with the song “Tristezas” (Sadness) by Pepe Sanchez. It is widely held that the bolero was born out of another Cuban genre, the danzon.

The bolero is based on the same rhythm of the danzon, albeit a little slower and with a message that is a totally romantic.

However, this origin of the bolero is not without its controversy. While most popular music historians date danzon’s origins to 1879 and bolero’s to 1885, there is some evidence suggesting that the bolero existed as early as 1830, well before danzon, and that it originated by way of the trova genre of Santiago de Cuba.

According to this argument, the bolero first appears as a song used for serenading loved ones, a tradition it maintained until the 1920s when the Septeto Habanero and Trio Matamoros modernized the bolero creating the bolero-son genre.

Nonetheless, Pepe Sanchez’ song is the first precise reference to the bolero and so 1885 is generally considered the starting point of this great musical tradition.

The bolero quickly spread to the Caribbean and later throughout Latin-America. Cuba’s contribution to the Latin American bolero is unquestionable, not only because it is based on the danzon rhythm, and follows the Cuban style of dance, but also because of the unforgettable boleros composed and sung by Cuban musicians.

The first bolero to obtain international fame was “Aquellos Ojos Verdes” (Those Green Eyes) from 1929; shortly afterwards, Gonzalo Roig composed the classic “Quiereme mucho” (Love Me Very Much); swearing eternal love.

By the 1940s, the bolero was the most popular dance, leaving in its wake both the son and danzon.

Radio broadcasting helped spread the popularity of bolero and some of the most beautiful boleros originated in this era, including: “Toda una vida” (A Whole Life), “Acercate mas” (Come Closer), “Quizas Quizas” (Perhaps, Perhaps) and “Con tres palabras” (With Three Words), all composed by Osvaldo Farres; “La última noche” (The Last Night) by Bobby Collazo; and “Dos Gardenias” (Two Gardenias) by Isolina Carrillo.

During this golden era of the bolero in Cuba, a new movement was to emerge looking for wider expression that would become known as the filin (feeling) movement. In this new musical expression, singers would let their feelings all out with melodramatic and exaggerated voice changes and inflections.

According to renowned Cuban music historian Helio Orovio, the felin movement came out of the need to transform the Cuban songbook, and would serve as the base for what would become “the new Cuban song.”

Among the founders of felin are Jose Antonio Mendez with the song, “La Gloria eres tu” (You Are the Glory), Cesar Portillo de la Luz with “Contigo en la distancia” (With You in the Distance) and Frank Dominguez’ “Tú me acostumbraste” (You Got Me Used to It).

During the beginning of the danzón era, near the end of the 19th century, the rhythm of the Havana dance took Mexico by storm, by way of the Yucatan peninsula and with the song “La paloma” (The Pigeon). Subsequently, a Mexican version of the Havana dance was developed with a cadence that easily lent itself to the bolero. Mexico played a fundamental role in developing the bolero genre and bringing it to the rest of Latin America.

In the 1920s, the Mexican bolero took flight at the hands of the prolific composer Augustin Lara, who brought the Latin American bolero to new heights. He wrote 162 boleros, establishing a classic standard consisting of 32 bars divided in two parts; the first 16 in minor tone and the last 16 in major tone.

Lara praised the female body; some of his compositions focus on different individual parts of the body: the eyes or mouth, or a women’s voice or her way of walking. Lara’s tribute to the perfection of the female body is clearly heard in such boleros as “Las Palmeras” (Palm Trees) and “Tus Pupilas” (Your Eyes).

Other important figures of the Mexican bolero are Maria Grever with his compositions “Júrame” (Promise Me), “Cuando vuelva a tu lado” (When I Come Back to You) and “Tú, tú y tú” (You, You and You); Gonzalo Curiel Barba and “Vereda tropical” (Tropical Pathway); Gabriel Ruiz and his classic “Tú” (You); and Consuelo Velazquez, with “Bésame mucho” (Kiss Me a Lot), Que seas feliz (That You Be Happy) and “Te espero” (I Am Waiting for You).

Other important figures of the Mexican bolero were Rafael Hernandez, a prolific composer second only to Lara. Hernandez’ style and success was in his ability to simply express what to a poet would be complex. This simplicity is exemplified by the songs, “Enamorado de ti” (In Love with You), “No me quieras tanto” (Don’t Love Me So Much), “Tu no comprendes” (You Don’t Understand).

Near the end of the 1940s, the Los Panchos trio emerged, followed by Armando Manzanero, who inherited Lara’s style adding to it his unique and distinctive touch to come up with such bolero greats as “Contigo aprendí” (I Learnt With You), “Adoro” (I Adore), “Cuando estoy contigo” (When I am With You), “Esta tarde vi llover” (This Afternoon I Saw the Rain) and “No!” which was sung and danced all across Latin America.

Allthough there are several forms of the bolero, its dance in itself is very simple. You hug your partner and turn to the right, rhythmically stepping forwards and backwards. The man holds the woman by her waist while she places her left arm on the man’s chest in such a way to maintain a certain distance. The bolero can be considered as both an artistic expression and an erotic ritual of romantic conviction.

Benny More “El Barbaro del Ritmo” (The Rhtyhm Phenomenon) was one of the great purveyors of romantic music. Among his numerous timeless boleros are “Mucho Corazon” (Lots of Heart), “Como fue” (How Did it Happen), “Hoy como ayer” (Today As Yesterday).

Today, the bolero is experiencing a resurgence for its ability to capture and transmit the experiences and romantic sentimentality of current Latin-American artists. Thus the bolero is alive and well, occupying an important place in the heart of romantics throughout the Americas.

And so, Havana pays tribute to the bolero —the genre par excellence of life and love in all its ups and downs— with the International Golden Bolero Festival put on by the Union of Cuban Artists and Writers. Havana streets are awashed in the romanticism of lives loved and the everlasting nectar of the gentleness and harmony of the Cuban people, the bolero.

Egyptian Art Preservation in Havana

A group of Cuban experts showed in
Cairo, Egypt, the work done by the National Museum of Fine Arts of Cuba to preserve more than hundred pieces of its Egyptian art collection, mainly from the inexhaustible Pharaonic tim

The National Museum of Fine Arts of Cuba specialists Aymee Chicuri Lastra and Niurka Fanego Alfonso, who have devoted their work to collections of Egyptian and Italian art, gave a lecture last week at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo before scholars, diplomats and local public, who were captivated by the zeal with which Cuba, a country with economic limitations, studies and preserves that historical-cultural heritage of mankind.

At the event organized by the Cuban Embassy, the Cervantes Institute of Cairo and Egyptian Museum, Egyptian Ambassador to Havana Abdel Fattah proposed to hold a conference in Havana with scholars and lovers of Egyptian art in Spanish America, an initiative welcomed by Cubans and Egyptians.

We hope it will be held soon.

Curaçao and Pernambuco in Caribbean Fiesta del Fuego

The International Conference El Caribe que nos une, a conference within the 30th Fiesta del Fuego in Santiago de Cuba, will highlight regional popular culture, tradition and intelligence versus academics.

The July 4-8 Conference, to run within the Caribbean Fiesta opening July 3, will discuss geographic and cultural challenges for the Basin, identity and roots, along Caribbean history, philosophy, economics, globalization and its effects on the region.

Kenia Dorta, coordinator of the 2010 Fiesta, told the the event will be dedicated this year to Curaçao and the Brazilian state of Pernambuco.

The celebration will also involve workshops on religion, traditional and holistic medicine, music and oral narration, society and gender, and the Poetry Meeting.

Prestigious institutions like the Center for Research on Africa and the Middle East and Casa de las Americas, both in Havana, and Santiago's Casa del Caribe will sponsor the event.

sábado, 26 de junio de 2010

The traditional Cuba Book Night in Havana

Works of the recently deceased Portuguese writer Jose Saramago, Canadian Margaret Atwood and Spanish Marcos Ana will enhance on July 2 the traditional Book Night, which each year heralds the summer in Cuba.

Along with the novels of Saramago, another 12 new titles will be presented, including EL Quetzal Resplandeciente "the resplendent quetzal" and other stories by Atwood; Decidme Como es el Arbol "tell me how is the tree" by Ana, and El Año 61 "year 61" by the Cuban Dora Alonso.

With starting point in the intersection of 23 and 14 streets, in Vedado, the day will begin shortly after noon and runs until late at night. In addition to pure literature, the wide range of volumes will cover almost all areas of human knowledge, from science to computer science, from history to economics.

The parallel artistic program includes film screenings, concerts, children's shows and literary circles.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first mass circulation on Cuba of The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha, it will be presented a new edition of this major work of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, which marked the birth of the novel as literary genre.

The night of the books will also come to other provincial capitals, organizers confirmed. "We are committed to make this a regular event and that reading becomes an exercise that everybody can enjoy, said president of the Cuban Book Institute Zuleika Romay.