sábado, 31 de julio de 2010

A Cuban Amateur Artistic Group on its 15th Tour of Europeateur

The artistic group Maraguán, from the Ignacio Agramonte y Loynaz University of Camagüey, is attending the first of the eight international folk events in which it will perform during its 15th tour of Europe.

The group is participating in the Peoples of the World Festival, which will end on Saturday in Caceres, according to information given from that Spanish city by Fernando Medrano, the troupe’s director and choreographer.

Orense, Cieza, Murcia, Villablanca and Lorca are the other cities where they will perform. The Cuban interpreters will also show their art in Madrid, the capital. The tour, which will end on September 20, also includes Portugal, with presentations in Moncao and Viana do Castello.

The program is composed of the works Cubanísimo, Por Los Campos de mi Cuba, Homenaje, Caribe Soy, and Suite Cubana.

The group, mainly made up by students from the University of Camagüey, was founded in 1981 and has won the largest amount of prizes in the history of national festivals of amateur artists of the University Student Federation.

In the Traverse City Festival Cuban Filmmakers

A Cuban filmmakers delegation, including producer Ian Padron and actress Mirtha Ibarra, is taking part in the Traverse City Festival founded by US director Michael Moore, which runs from late July to early August.

Both received the Key to the City from Michael Moore at the opening ceremony in recognition of their work and career. He also urged the audience to watch the Cuban films.

Also present was director Juan Carlos Cremata, whose film " Viva Cuba" co-directed with Iraida Malberti, will be presented at the festival. The three filmmakers will participate in a parallel panel entitled "We live in Cuba and Make Films".

The Cuban film show includes tapes such as "El cuerno de la Abundancia" (The Horn of Plenty) directed by Juan Carlos Tabio, "Fuera de Liga" (Outside the League) directed by Ian Padron and "Fresa y Chocolate" (Strawberry and Chocolate) directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio.

The Traverse City Festival takes place in Northern Michigan where Moore was born. It includes free screenings in open spaces and in several halls of the resort city selected by Moore.

Its main objective is to promote art and culture and an entrance fee is only larged in the conventional theatres, and those funds are allocated to cover the budget of the festival of about 150,000 dollars, although there are also contributions from private donations.

jueves, 29 de julio de 2010

Children Make Building Models of Patrimonial Value

Children around nine and 10 years old are training to make building models of patrimonial value, which is the first course of its kind for infants in Cuba.

Sponsored by the Office of the Historian of Camagüey City, the program takes place in July and August, as part of summer activities, and includes the goal of contributing to the children's love for their city, whose historical sector has been declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The architect and professor Vladimir García, said that students and families are very interested in this course, which is also useful for manual labor at school, and it is part of the cultural offerings of the holiday period.

Learners use materials such as card, cardboard and sponge to reproduce - in miniature - different buildings, according to tasks assigned to them and on their own initiatives.

Garcia hinted at possible future editions of the course in which children also receive information about the local urban historic center, the largest area of this kind in the country, and with the status of a National Monument.

The main reference point for students is the model of that part of the city, where there are nearly 9, 900 buildings, in the foundational part of the last settlement of the then Village of Santa María del Puerto del Principe, one of the first main towns built by the Spanish in America.

martes, 27 de julio de 2010

Fidel: Meeting at the Memorial Jose Marti with Artists, Religious Leaders and Members of Pastors for Peace

The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, paid tribute to Cuba’s Hero Jose Marti, and held a meeting with artists, journalists and foreign guests with whom he discussed national and world issues.

The Cuban icon laid in a private ceremony a wreath at Jose Marti Memorial in Havana on the occasion Monday of the 57th Anniversary of the assault on the Moncada garrison, which served as the spark that triggered the revolution.

He then held a one-hour televised meeting at the Memorial’s small theater with painters, musicians, journalists, designers, print workers, local religious leaders who are members of Parliament, and members of the U.S. Pastors for Peace caravan among other guests.

In an open exchange of questions and answers, Fidel Castro discussed the huge challenges the humanity is facing, and recalled some of the historical events of the assault on the Moncada garrison on July 26th, 1953, celebrated in Cuba as the National Day of Rebelliousness.

The Cuban leader recalled some of the events of that action and the revolutionary struggle that followed.

He then announced the forthcoming launching of a book of his on the victorious struggle of the revolutionary forces over the tyranny of Fulgencio Batista in 1958 when 300 men were able to defeat an army of 10,000 well-armed soldiers backed by the air force and the navy.

Commenting on world issues, Fidel Castro specially referred to the great dangers of a potential war in the Middle East, warning that Israel could push the U.S. into a nuclear war against Iran.

He explained, too, that he had thought the war would erupt first in the Korea Peninsula after Washington accused North Korea and made half the world believe that it had sunk a sophisticated South Korean war vessel.

The Cuban icon recalled that in times of Nixon the U.S. had threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons against Vietnam and Korea, adding that as the pressures and threats were growing against Iran, "the issue of the oil spill broke out".

It’s been 107 days and they haven’t been able to solve the problem, and (Barack) Obama knows, but publicly does not accept that it is a very big problem, he stressed.

If the accident had not taken place, British Petroleum would have kept drilling, he warned, and said that BP has 27,000 non-productive wells. The U.S. government -he added- is growingly concerned that methane gas could start coming out from those unused wells, and then there’ll be no solution to the spill.

He announced that he would request an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly to talk about this serious issue.

On the increasing military deployment of the U.S. in Latin America, Fidel Castro said that "all those things show the irresponsibility of the Empire. They have no control, they can’t control their instinct. I seriously mean it: they belong to prehistory." And all that -he satirized- is inspired on a noble purpose: to fight drug trafficking.

In an answer to Lucius Walker, the Pastor for Peace leader, about Haiti’s future, Fidel Castro said that according to today’s world order, there’s no future for that country. However, in the world he talks about -he insisted- there can be a solution.

He recalled Washington’s selfishness and insensibility toward the millions of starving people and the needy, and toward those who need medical care particularly the children.

Fidel Castro further mentioned the blockade Cuba is suffering and the unjust incarceration of the five Cuban antiterrorists in separate jails in the U.S. "They haven’t had the least gesture to release them. Five human beings separated from their families …But they will release them", he predicted.

viernes, 23 de julio de 2010

A Cuban Dancer Wins Gold Medal in International Ballet Competition

Cuban dancer Oscar Valdes Carmenates won the Gold Medal in the Senior Category at the Second Cape Town International Ballet Competition (CTIBC) in South Africa. A member of the Ballet de Camagüey, Valdes Carmenates brilliantly performed the Don Quijote male variation in the final round.

Victor Estevez from the National Ballet School of Cuba was second in the contemporary section, junior category, but only a gold medal was awarded in this case.

In the senior section the gold went for Oscar Carmenates from Cuba (19); Hyo-Seon Park from the Republic of Korea (20) won the silver medal; Aaron Smythe from Australia (19) bronze medal, and Thoriso Magongwa from SA (27) won the contemporary section.

In the junior section, the winner was Nathan Chaney from the USA (18); Alys Shee from Canada (16) silver medal; Jeon Yeo Jin from the Republic of Korea (16), bronze medal, and Nathan Chaney (USA) won the contemporary prize.

The special jury prize was awarded to host Andile Ndlovu (22) in acknowledgement of his excellent artistic delivery in both the classical and contemporary genres.

The competition began on July 13 with three days of intense elimination rounds, culminating in Saturday night's grand affair with entrants from South Africa, Cuba, Italy, Canada, the Republic of South Korea and Australia.

In his closing address, competition director Dirk Badenhorst expressed his gratitude to the Cuban delegation, made up of five dancers, one teacher and a jury member, for the example that the island's arts teaching system represents to the development of ballet in South Africa, which in his words, should be taken as a model to the world.

miércoles, 21 de julio de 2010

Tangible Results for the Visually Impaired in Cuba

Cuba is currently presenting tangible results in the access of blind people to work, education and culture, allowing a greater development and integration of those visually impaired people.

The achievement were made possible by the National Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ANCI), created in July 1975.

Efforts are currently aimed at increasing access of the visually impaired to informatics, which will contribute to improve communications and access to work.

That strategy, implemented nationwide, has been supported by youth computing clubs, the Spanish National Organization of the Blind, and Handicap International's branch in Cuba.

ANCI members are receiving computing courses since 2008, and the new labs created for that purpose are equipped with modern technologies, to guarantee online teaching and internet surfing, among other benefits.

Other factors contributing to this development are the education level the country has reached, the continuity of studies, the creation of special readings for blind people and the Braille printers.

lunes, 19 de julio de 2010

Dulce Maria Loynaz’s home


The Dulce Maria Loynaz Cultural Center, as it has been known since February 5, 2005, was the home of the famous Cuban writer, has been reconverted into a place to use for literary gatherings as previously held there by illustrious men and women in centuries past.

Dulce Maria Loynaz, is one of the most relevant figures of Cuban letters and her name now occupies one of the leading places in Spanish American poetry, life president of the Cuban Academy of Language. This ultimate homage in life she received in the portal of her home, awarded by the Spanish embassy one month before her final departure.

Not because of this event but because of her contribution to ennoble the Spanish language, Dulce María was also an ambassador of Spain in America; she also represented Cuba and was a worthy representative of the Spanish culture.

A great part of her work was carried out in her home, where she lived her last days and which was often a meeting place for outstanding artists and writers of Cuba and the world.

The warm and friendly building, now site of the Cuban Academy of Language, is a glorious representation of the eclectic architecture of her time and forms part of the complex of great mansions in the former aristocratic zone of Vedado, a neighborhood in Havana.

The mansion also has a museum area, containing valuable souvenirs of the historic and mystical memory and very dear objects of the author of “Garden” (Jardín). It also contains many precious objects that belonged to the outstanding Cuban family. Also there are heirlooms and decorations received by the poet during her fruitful life, among them the Cervantes Award, the National Literature Award and the Order of Alfonso X, El Sabio.

The number one collection of articles on Dulce María Loynaz’s work is the work of Pedro Simón. The writer’s private archives are very valuable, replete with a countless richness of documents (books, booklets, magazines, newspapers…)

As a poet, she won without even noticing, the hardest of awards. She gave great prestige to the Belle Lettres of the hemisphere, an absolute master of the profession she represented. More than once she gave real evidence that. One example is the Journalist Prize she received in Spain in 1991for ‘The Queen’s last rosary,’ about Queen Isabel la Catolica.

Almost at the end of her days, Dulce María Loynaz was lucid and agile of mind, though fragile of health and almost blind. She used to say: “it is terrible and too hard having to give up reading and emotions. It is just like living in a well without a bottom”. And added; “Now I understand the Argentinean writer, Jorge Luis Borges! Not being able to see is a curse for anyone, but much more so for a writer or someone fond of reading.”

In 1987, she donated her personal library to the city of Pinar del Río, in gratitude for the interest of numerous groups of youngsters there in the work of the Loynaz family.

Today, the library now keeps all the furniture arranged as it was in the poet’s home, it has unique examples that serve as a reference to readers of the city and keeps secrets of a linage that goes beyond the limits of time, bound for ever to the Western most province of the island.

Dulce María Loynaz was born in Havana on December 10, 1902 and died in her beloved city on April 27, 1997.

Her personal history is part of the island’s heritage. Dulce María represented with her ceremonious and authentic image, the last member of a prestigious Cuban family; that of General of the Liberation Army, Enrique Loynaz del Castillo, a Cuban hero, There were four Loynaz children: Flor, Enrique, Carlos Manuel and Dulce María.

The beautiful mansion of the Loynaz family in Havana was always a place that welcomed the Spanish writers who came to Cuba: García Lorca, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Alberti, Luis Rosales and so many others. Federico García Lorca exchanged correspondence with Attorney Enrique who was also a poet all through the ’20s. The mixture of decadence and extravagance fascinated Federico who was a close friend of Flor and Carlos Manuel. Lorca dedicated his drama The Public ( El Público) to Carlos and to her sister Flor he left an original of Yerma.

Great things can be said about Dulce María Loynaz, but nothing too high-flown or motley for someone who was so modest like water and so transparent like her own poetry.

In one of the poems dedicated to her homeland, there are the well known verses in which she requests a petition for eternity: My island, fragrant island, island of flowers: have me for ever, rock me for ever, pluck one by one all my flights. And keep the last one for me, under a pile of sun bleached sand. …on the shore of the gulf perennial birthplace of hurricanes!

In her verses, she breathes love for all around her, Cuba and Cubanism.

Dulce María Loynaz has not gone. She is in her work, which is her true self. Dulce María is alive and remains there, close to us all, in the waters, in the island, in simplicity, in beauty, in all things loved, and above all in her home, with her lovely garden planted with trees and plants creating an exuberant tropical garden, today a part of Havana’s Cultural Heritage.

sábado, 17 de julio de 2010

Los Van Van in Moscow

Cuban dance music fans in Russia were waiting impatiently Saturday for a performance by the island’s emblematic salsa band Los Van Van, back after a long absence.

Juan Formell and his group, Los Van Van, are honorary guests at the third edition of the "Viva Cuba" Festival, taking place in this capital, and following the success of the 2008 and 2009 festivals.

"We have waited for years to see Los Van Van play in Russia," told Ekaterina Sansonkina, a promoter of this activity popular with Moscow's young people.

After arriving in Moscow, Formell held a brief press conference and recalled the group's last performance there during a 1970 tour of several European countries, including the former Soviet Union, and Japan.

"We are full of expectations being back in Russia," the band's director said.

Founded on December 4, 1969, Los Van Van has four decades of successful performances in Cuba and abroad, and among the many awards they've been conferred they have two Grammies to the Best Latin American Music.

Before coming to Moscow, the group has been successfully touring the world since early this year, including Key West and Miami, in the United States, and in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Italy and Spain.

jueves, 15 de julio de 2010

Caribbean Cinema in Havana

The 3rd Caribbean Cinema Travelling Exhibition will be inaugurated today, July 15, at Havana's Chaplin Theater, according to information provided by organizers of the Cuban Film Industry Institute.

A total of 54 films from 31 countries will be screened, including a special segment dedicated to childhood and adolescence, with six animation productions. Haiti, now recovering from the devastating January 12 earthquake, will be represented by a short, entitled Mujer, by director Jean Jean.

Titles from Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, among other nations will also be shown, with translations into the official languages of the project (Spanish, English, French and Haitian Creole).

The International Forum "Caribbean Film Market and other Screening Alternatives", which will be chaired by filmmaker Rigoberto Lopez, president of the Exhibition, will also be held simultaneously.

The aim of the event is to reflect on problems of the commercial circulation of audiovisual productions in the region.

Moviegoers will be able to enjoy these productions in Havana until July 22, which will then be exhibited in other parts of the island.