miércoles, 29 de septiembre de 2010

United Nations Recognizes the National Hotel of Cuba

The Cuban Association of the United Nations delivered , in World Tourism Day, the commemorative seal for the 60th Anniversary of the National Hotel in the capital.

A report released by the Tourism Ministry added that this constitutes one of the meeting programmed for this date that was recognized world wide and now under the slogan of Tourism and Biological Diversity.

Previously the seal was granted to Casa de las Americas and the Cuban Institute of Art and Film Industry (ICAIC) for their historic and cultural values.

Now it was the turn of the National Hotel of Cuba, symbol of tourism in the country and its hotel industry.

The ceremony took place in the Taganana Hall of the hotel in the presence of workers and officials of the institution and coincided with the celebration in 2010 of the 80th birthday of this center of recreation founded in December of 1930.

Symbol of Cuban five star hotel industries the National is managed by the Gran Caribe hotel group.

The hotel was designed by Mokim Mead and White Architects of New York and the construction was done by Purdy Henderson Company.

Its importance is ratified by its hosts such as Johnny Weismuller, Ava Gardner, Buster Keaton, Errol Flynn, Frank Sinatra and other personalities of films and politics.

During the 40s of last century the mark of distinction was supplied by Parisien Cabaret that is second only to the best in the country, Tropicana.

With 457 rooms, most with views of the sea (16 are suites and one is a presidential suite) the hotel is also the center of the most important tourism meetings in the country and other spheres.

Paying Tribute to John Lennon

The significance of former Beatle John Lennon acquires a new repercussion in the 70th anniversary of his birth, a year that the world of music pays tribute to his contributions and legacy.

Tributes have been many so far, two months before the end of a year that can be qualified as "The Year of John Lennon", during which institutions, collectors, record companies and artists have organized activities to remember Lennon's life and work.

Japanese artist Yoko Ono and widow of one of the founders of the Beatles, the most popular band in history, asked popular singer Lady Gaga to participate in a concert next October 2 in Orpheum Theatre in L.A along with Iggy Pop, RZA, Perry Farell, among others.

The collection "The John Lennon Signature Box" will be released next October 5. It has 8 original albums of the British singer remastered and accompanied by limited edition plates, personal articles and a book of 60 pages with photos, collages, poetry and other documents.

Artists like Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne and Patti Smith, among others, will close the celebration with a flourish, in a New York charity concert on November 12.

Born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, Lennon was key in the formation of the band that changed world music in the sixties and seventies until his life was taken on December 8, 1980.

sábado, 25 de septiembre de 2010

Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra promotes a cultural and artistic exchange

Jazz at Lincoln Center promotes cultural and artistic exchange with American and Cuban jazz musicians by producing events in Havana, Cuba and New York City in October. At the invitation of the Cuban Institute of Music, Jazz at Lincoln will bring its Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) to Havana for a residency on October 5-9.

The concerts are scheduled for October 5,6,7 and 9 and they will all be held at Mella Theater. Some performances will feature Cuban special guests including seven-time Grammy winner Chucho Valdes.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra residency includes improvisation workshops at the National School of Music and Amadeo Roldan Conservatory on October 8.

Wynton Marsalis (born October 18, 1961) is an American jazz and Western classical virtuoso trumpeter and composer. He is Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center which he cofounded in 1987. He has promoted the appreciation of Classical and Jazz music, often focusing on young audiences.

As a Jazz performer and composer he has made display of his extensive knowledge about jazz and jazz history and for being a classical virtuoso.

As of 2006, he has made sixteen classical and more than thirty jazz recordings, has been awarded nine Grammys in both genres, and was awarded the first Pulitzer Prize for Music for a jazz.

Later in the month, Jazz at Lincoln Center will produce the Afro-Cuban Jazz Celebration featuring concerts and a cultural expo at its home, Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City October 21-23.

The residency events will include concerts featuring the JLCO performing with Chucho Valdés and Cuban musicians; workshops and a Jazz for Young People® concert.

“A rich legacy of great jazz music has been created through the cross pollinization of American and Cuban musics. From early New Orleans to the music of Chucho Valdés, these bloodlines have maintained and nourished. We are excited to share performances with both Cuban and American audiences. This is our first residency in Cuba and we can’t wait,” said Wynton Marsalis.

“Musicians from the United States and Cuba have made invaluable contributions to jazz, creating and extending the art form for everyone to enjoy. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s residency in Havana and our celebration of Latin jazz music in New York should prove to be enriching for both cultures and audiences. As an organization, we are honoured to participate in this cultural exchange,” said Adrian Ellis, Executive Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.


All concerts will be held at Teatro Julio A. Mella

October 5

“Big Band Jazz” featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

October 6

“U.S.-Cuba Jazz Connections” featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Cuban special guest artists

October 7

“Small Group Jazz” featuring JLCO members, Chucho Valdés and Cuban special guest artists

October 8

Improvisation workshops at National School of Music and Amadeo Roldan Conservatory

October 9

Jazz for Young People featuring the JLCO

October 9

Concert featuring the JLCO with special guests


Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Afro-Cuban Celebration will take place throughout Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City. Jazz Meets Clave, on October 21-23 at 8pm in Rose Theater, features the JLCO demonstrating how the godfather of Afro-Cuban music, Mario Bauza, along with his fellow countrymen – Bebo Valdés, Machito, Chano Pozo, and Cachao – turned Cubans on to American jazz while introducing Afro-Cuban clave and its intricate polyrhythms to Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Nat King Cole, and other American jazz musicians. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will explore the enduring legacy of these Afro-Cuban pioneers.

jueves, 23 de septiembre de 2010

Alicia Alonso Asks Obama to Bring the Five Home while Cuban Artists Thank U.S. Colleagues for Friendship and Solidarity

Cuban prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso invited U.S. President Barack Obama and his family to the next International Ballet Festival in Havana, and asked him to bring home the five Cuban antiterrorists imprisoned in that country for over 12 years.

"I want to ask you a favor: make us all happy, bring the Five," she said in perfect English.

Alonso conveyed the invitation during an event where Cuban academics thanked their U.S. peers for their solidarity by sending a letter to Obama asking him to review the case of the Five and release them immediately.

Alonso, director of the National Ballet of Cuba, praised the courage of that group of personalities, including Susan Sarandon, Ry Cooder, Danny Glover, Elliott Gould, Pete Seeger, Esai Morales, Bonnie Raitt, Martin Sheen, and Betty and Stanley K. Sheinbaum.

"I am very happy with that letter, they spoke on our behalf," she stressed.

Her words were a message of peace amid "a very serious moment, because we have to defend our lives. We have to be very united," she said alluding to a possibly imminent nuclear catastrophe.

Cuban artists have thanked their U.S. colleagues for their friendship and solidarity, and in particular for their support to the international demand for the release of the Cuban Five.

Below, the full text of the letter Cuban artists sent their U.S. colleagues:

Letter to our colleagues of the United States:

We, the Cuban artists and writers, who also love justice and peace, want to convey to you in this letter our deepest appreciation for the solidarity you have expressed whith the "Cuban Five" who are illegally confined in United States prisons. We are convinced that the letter you have written to President Barack Obama has contributed to break the outrageous silence that pretends to hide the truth of this noble cause.

On this anniversary our compatriots have suffered twelve large and tortuous years of imprisonment for protecting their mother country from acts of terrorism. As was properly expressed in your letter the "Cuban Five" did not commit any crime against the United States government, nor were these actions a threat to its stability.

The Cuban Artists and Writers Union (UNEAC) and the organization of young Cuban Artists and Writers (AHS) appreciate this gesture by Danny Glover, Ed Asner, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, Pete Seeger, Sean Penn, Benicio del Toro, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and many others who also signed this letter, just to name a few.

We hope that President Obama has both the wisdom and the courage to exercise his presidential authority and to free them, so our five Brothers can return to their country and to their homes and families.

We know that you represent the purest intentions of the American people for justice and peace.

domingo, 19 de septiembre de 2010

Chucho Valdes in the Running for Latin Grammys

The 2010 Latin Grammy double nomination for the album "El ultimo trago," by Concha Buika and Chucho Valdes, could add two more trophies to the Cuban pianist´s extensive collection.

A 14-time nominee and a 6-time winner of the Grammy and Latin Grammy awards, Valdes is a strong candidate in the categories of Best Traditional Tropical Album and Recording of the Year, for the Agustin Lara song, "Se me hizo fácil," de Agustín Lara.

In April 2009, Buika and Valdés got together in Abdala studios in Havana, convened by Spanish guitarist and producer Javier Limon, to pay tribute to the legendary singer Chavela Vargas on her 90th birthday.

Blessed by their African ancestors, the pianist and the singer, who since her recording debut in 2005 has revolutionized song and jazz in Spain, contributed the emotion, the heartbreak of unrequited love, and the aroma of rum, of the Chavela spirit.

The authors selected were another motivation: Rosario Sansores and Carlos Brito, José Alfredo Jiménez, Juan Zaizar, Álvaro Carrillo, Agustín Lara, Armando Tejada Gómez y César Isella, Mario Clavel and Enrique Fábregat.

Valdes wrote arrangements in which flamenco, ranchera, bolero and cha cha cha brought together earthy roots, and with his piano reaffirmed once again his class of universal artist.

To top it all off, Cuban visual artist Eduardo Roca (Choco) provided a painting for the album art, making El ultimo trago an unforgettable gift.

Chucho Valdés was born in Havana on October 9, 1941 and won his first Grammy in 1979 for the album "Irakere," the name of the band he founded in 1973 and led until it split up. Together with his father Bebo, Valdes won the Latin Grammy for Jazz in 2009 for the album "Juntos para siempre”.

Havana Ballet Festival to Feature World-Class Dancers, Companies

Some World-famous ballet dancers and companies from 18 countries are expected at the 22nd Havana Ballet Festival, which will celebrate the 90th birthday of Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso.

From October 28 to November 7, our capital will host a fiesta of ballet, with visitors like the American Ballet Theater, which is returning to Cuba after 40 years, and figures such as Russians Vladimir Vasiliev and Vladimir Malakhov from the Berlin Opera, and Spaniard Tamara Rojo.

This is a great festival, unlike any other in the world and which has been growing; it is almost a record, Alonso said.

The 2010 festival will be marked by something very special: The Year of Alicia Alonso, which the Culture Ministry is to declare as a tribute for her 90th birthday.

About 30 performances are scheduled, 12 of them world premiers, such as El Amor Brujo by Spaniard dancer Antonio Rios (El Pipa); Le papillon, by Canadian Peter Quanzm, and El perfume, by Belgian Luc Bouy.

Invitees include the New York City Ballet, the Royal Ballet of London, the English National Ballet, the Ballet of the Opera of Berlín, the Colon Ballet Theater of Argentina, and the Opera of Dresden, Germany.

For its return to Cuba, the American Ballet Theater will dedicate two shows to Alonso, who was a first figure with that company.

Soloists such as José Manuel Carreño, Herman Cornejo and Paloma Herrera will also honor her with their performances.

This festival is not only one of the oldest in the world but an important event in Cuban culture.

Since its foundation, Cuba has been visited by 53 companies and personalities from 61 countries, with 880 performances and 219 world premieres.

viernes, 17 de septiembre de 2010

A Conservation of World Patrimony Workshop Takes Place in Havana

The Caribbean sub-regional workshop of the Convention of World Patrimony was taking place in Havana until September 17th, with participating delegates from 12 countries. The workshop, sponsored by UNESCO, the U.N. Organization for Education, Science, and Culture, had the objective to enable the state World Patrimony Convention departments to contribute to the efficient application on the national level.

At the inauguration of the event, Jerman Van Jof, director of the Regional Office of Culture for Latin America and the UNESCO,, referred to the development of the Action Plan for the protection of World Patrimony sites in the region. He stated that among those principles are the development of the identification, protection, and integration of the exceptional legacies of the Caribbean.

A Documentary on Japanese Immigrants in Cuba

The documentary "El sol rojo en el poniente" (The Red Sun in the West), filmed by Marina Ochoa, was premiered at Havana's 23 y 12 movie theater.

This interesting film analyzes the Japanese immigration in Cuba based on representatives of the descendants of those men and women who came to the island looking to improve their lives.

“The Red Sun in the West” reveals the problems Japanese workers had to face, as cheap labor on the sugar plantations, at first, and then in the cities, during a very complex time in Cuban history.

The film was produced by independent firm ARO and the Japan Foundation, in collaboration with the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC). This new documentary was chosen to participate in the first Movie-Migrant Festival in Argentina.

miércoles, 15 de septiembre de 2010

Havana Hosts First Environmental Festival

Since last Monday to Sunday this week, Havana is hosting its first environmental festival, featuring musicians, painters and comedians.

The festival has its headquarters in the municipality of Santa Fe, home to well-known actor and painter Jorge Perugorria, a participant in the project, and opens on the anniversary of the death of Antonio Núñez Jiménez, a prominent Cuban archaeologist and environmentalist.

The events include a concert at Vladimir Ilich Lenin High School with popular groups, such as Buena Fe, Los 4, Baby Lores, and Gente de Zona. Comedians and painters are jointing in with activities to raise awareness about the environmental problems humanity faces, such as climate change.

In addition to Jorge Perugoría, painters Nelson Dominguez and Zayda del Rio exhibit a collection of 17 hand-decorated guayaberas, traditional Cuban dress shirts, with an environmentalist message.

Children and young people took part on Tuesday in the Save the World campaign, a project whose initial stage consists of cleaning up a 17-km area of the Santa Fe coastline.

Cuba’s Saratoga Hotel Ranks among Top-100 in the Americas

The specialized British magazine Condé Nast Traveller UK included again the Saratoga Hotel, located in Old Havana, as one of the best 100 in its kind in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Executives from the British magazine released its traditional Readers’ Travel Awards, where the Saratoga ranked 16, among the over 7,000 in the region that were evaluated by the readers, using different criteria, which includes region, design, facilities, food, services, location and rooms.

This is the fourth time the Cuban hotel has been included in this exclusive list, and last year placed 10th in the same category.

Tourism industry experts, journalists and professionals have shown their admiration for the Saratoga, and included it among the top 60 hotels in the world in the 2006 The Hot List.

Also, the Saratoga won the Best for Ambience & Design in the 2008 Gold List gathered by the Condé Nast Traveller UK, one of the leading magazines for this sector in the world.

It is a five-star hotel with over 90 rooms, including seven suites, and a wide range of services aimed at providing comfort to its guests.