sábado, 26 de febrero de 2011

Successful closure of First Gallego Cuban Festival

With the artistic direction of Elba Torres, the Closing Ceremony of the First Festival of Cuban Gallego Cultural Integration, after his six days in Vilagarcía de Arosa, was held at its seat in the auditorium on Feb. 24, a date of historic significance for Cubans.

With a pleasant driving byElba Torres and the Vilagarcian comedian "Lorenzo", the night was a delight to present nuanced phrases and thoughts that pulled more than once very strong laughter and applause, all very typical from comic Cuban theater, those characteristic of typical characters: el negrito, la mulata y el gallego.

The poem Esta es Cuba, hermano by Anisia Miranda, with a faint background music of Bata drums and bagpipes, was responsible for the opening of the cultural gala with a voice in off, followed by the entrance of the legendary Yoruba orisha Eleggua walking and dancing between the public.

A good reception was that of the presentation of a classical Big Band, comprised of Cuban musicians and members of orchestras in Galicia, under the direction of Julio Cesar Lemus, and the participation of children and youth in Galicia belonging to the Cuban School of Dance Toma Son, who showed what they learned of the rhythm of Guaguanco dance, cha cha cha and baile de casino, displaying the tastiness of the island, as the most genuine Cuban.

Ernesto Rodríguez, a Cuban singer living in Germany, sang two of his pieces, one that will be included on his new album, along with singers Beverly Mojena and Orisbelys Laugart. And Oggun, the black god of war, metals, was the next presentation at night by entering dancing a clear demonstration of dance technique.

The group New Jazz brought its Jazz Fusion. Yuri Hernandez on trumpet and Edgar Fernando Rodriguez interpreted our world famous Guantanamera, with spectacular trumpet solos.

Some Cuban anthology songs like Lo que me queda por vivir; Ay Amor; Longina; Que te pedí; Perdóname conciencia; No me grites; La gloria eres tú; Dos Gradenias; Te quedarás y Lágrimas Negras were the delight of the night with the presence of “feeling singers”: Beverly Mojena, Manuel Collazo, Orisbely Laugart, Gretel and pianist Edgar Fernando Rodriguez, who made their performances as soloists or forming duos and trios.

Oshun, a voluptuous goddess of love and sensuality, full of her peculiar sweetness and bright gold, gave way to another part of the show with Olmert and his dance group Yo soy el Punto Cubano, the soloist Yael German, who played two regué-fusión, or the called Timba with Reggaeton.

The classical pianist, Master Alexander Vargas, played the most hard-nosed of jazz on New Orleans style, while was followed by Olmert group with Son de mi tierra and the singer Frank Velis.

To close the Gala, the Yoruba Orisha Chango came in to the saloon giving way to Alex and his group who seized the stage and the auditorium will with good Cuban music, and casino by all the dancers, who led the night musical climax, which made the audience adds to the show, not wanting to miss this special occasion.

The magnificent performance was permeated by long applause, cheers of Bravo!, and people danced and sang in the same way as people uses to do in the island. The Arousa auditorium became a real piece of Cuba in Galicia.

The organizers of the event with the direction of Leticia Pavón Oñate, thanked for having been able to count on the presence and support of the Consulate of Cuba in Santiago de Compostela in the person of Consul Dick Hernández Falcón, and other members of the diplomatic crue, as well as the unconditional cooperation of the Arousa Ministry of Culture.

The eternal brotherhood between the two peoples of Cuba and Galicia was highlighted once again, hopefully this chance will repeat many times.

(Taken from Trabajadores.cu; with thanks to Ms. Nieves Leonard Pie and Ramón Mtnez Iglesias)

jueves, 24 de febrero de 2011

Folkloric Ballet of Tlaxcala in Havana


The Folkloric Ballet of Tlaxcala performed at the building of the Cuban Friendship Institute. This was third show of the Mexican company in Havana during its current visit to Cuba.

The ballet company was invited to perform in Cuba by the Jose Marti Cultural Society as part of activities marking 120 years of the publication of Marti’s assay Our America.

The group performed dances from Tlaxcala such as the Ball Dance of the Epoch (1894-1911) and the Knives Dance, which is a farmers’ satire of landowner’s parties, currently performed in local carnivals.

Another autochthonous choreography was "Cuadrillas de Tizatlón," also a parody of ball dances in the way of humble and poor farmers, director and choreographer Gregorio Corona Perez said.

The Folkloric Ballet of Tlaxcala was founded by Enrique Dorantes Diaz and Corona Perez and it is made up of about 30 dancers of 10 to 27 years of age. It performed for the first time in 1993.

The company is scheduled to perform at the Casa Alba cultural center and to participate in activities marking 100th anniversary of the first public housing project for workers in Cuba.

martes, 22 de febrero de 2011

International Workshop on Stone Sculpture

Italian, Honduran and Cuban artists participate in the first international workshop on stone sculpture, inaugurated on Monday, in the eastern province of Holguin, for fostering environmental development programs in the city.

Honduran sculptor Fausto Tabora told that this comprehensive project is really interesting because the sculptures convey the concept of a human revolution to promote values such as respect, love, sensitivity, and humanism.

The event, sponsored by the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), is scheduled to end by March 5.

The venue of the meeting is the house of Cuban sculptor Luis Silva, located in El Purial, ten kilometres east of the city of Holguin. Silva noted that this event is an opportunity to boost this kind of plastic art by really committing to it.

The workshop stands out for the confluence of artistic currents like minimalism, modern figurative art, and magic realism which are given shape and life in stones coming from Los Haticos, a rural zone in the municipality of Baguano, in the eastern part of Cuba.

Frei Betto in the International Book Fair Cuba 2011

Brazilian theologian Frei Betto said Monday that we live in a world of globocolonization, which imposes a consumer culture.

"We can confront this phenomenon of Anglo-Saxon origin with the culture of the oppressed, a true globalization which privileges diversity and the capacity to give importance to the value of each community and each person", he said.

Frei Betto attended the closing of the International Book Fair Cuba 2011 at Havana, which will begin next Wednesday to tour the country.

Speaking to journalists, Betto emphasized the need to rescue the ancient traditions of the region, the culture of indigenous communities and their rich oral heritage.

Referring to the Fair, Betto praised the idea of declaring guests of honor to the countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America.

This choice favors the integration process in Latin America, the only continent that is characterized by progressive governments, he added. Betto, who is the author of "Fidel and religion", expressed the wish that the Fair continue to strengthen and be "a sounding board for all the literature produced in Latin America".

domingo, 20 de febrero de 2011

15th Anniversary of Flamenco Company

‘Arabescos’, a choreography by Joel Zamora’s Flamenco Company, will be presented in the eastern Cuban province of Las Tunas as part of the company’s tour around several Cuban provinces, on the occasion of its 15th anniversary.

The company is on stage this week end, at the Tunas Theatre, the main stage of the province, more than 700 kilometers east of from Havana.

The piece had its premiere during the Hispanarte event, in December 2010. It includes the typical martinete, interpreted by Zamora; coplas; sevillanas; and flamenco and Cuban rumba, with musicians and dancers trained in the Company’s Academy.

The syllabus of the academy was created by Zamora himself for teaching flamenco dance. The five-year-long program combines theory and practice, and it has achieved excellent results in academic events.

The company has successfully

performed in theatres throughout Cuba, and has participated in international festivals like La Huella De España, and Danzas en Paisajes Urbanos, with renowned personalities in the field.

Zamora, also known as El Gitano de Cuba, has been on the stage as a flamenco singer and dancer for 30 years. He has combined these aptitudes with literature, which he also uses to approach the Spanish origins of the Cuban culture.

Book Fair Dedicates Weekend to Children

The 20th International Book Fair in Havana was dedicated to children on the weekend with several activities specially organized for them at the main venues of the event in Havana.

The program for the last weekend of the Fair in the Cuban capital includes concerts, sports competitions, contests, raffles of books and workshops to teach children to make kites.

Among presentations scheduled for Saturday was that of “Colección Veintiuno” (Twenty One Collection) by the Gente Nueva publishing house.

This Sunday 20 visitors enjoy a performance of the Bebe Colmenita Children’s Theater Company, the Clave de Sol children band and the Guaracheritos de Regla conga dancers.

Other sub venues of the Fair offer activities for children as well over the weekend.

The International Book Fair Cuba 2011 closes on Sunday in Havana and starts in other provinces of the country where it will run until March 6.

viernes, 18 de febrero de 2011

The Blind Boys of the Neighborhood Play Salsa in Havana

The U.S. group Los ciegos del barrio, literally translated as “The Blind Boys of the Neighborhood”, is an incredible multi-genre Latin music group composed of legally blind musicians who delight this week to the public attending the International Book Fair, playing salsa music in Havana.

The group, comprised of five blind young Latino Americans, had its first performance Wednesday night at the House of ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) in the central district of Vedado, very well received by the public.

"We are The Blind Boys of the Neighborhood, that has meaning. The neighborhood is an area of Manhattan, New York, birthplace of the twins Alvin (director) and Derek Smith (vocal), creators of the group in 1997.

"And that of “blind” I don’t know why," joked Machete (keyboards), introducing the band, which also will perform on Saturday at the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, headquarters of the Book Fair.

For nearly two hours, the people danced and sang to the beat of the group, completing Jaime Diaz (guitar, bass and vocals) and Jimmy Fontanez (percussion).

Los Ciegos Del Barrio is an all blind multi-genre Latin American music band, based out of the New York City Tri-State area. They specialize in bachata, merengue, salsa, cumbia, reggaeton, and rock among others in both English and Spanish. They have recorded several albums and singles since they began.

Los Ciegos Del Barrio actually started in 1997, though the members of the group had been performing together well before then. In 1992, before becoming Los Ciegos Del Barrio, most of the current members (Alvin Suarez on drums, Jimmy Fontanez on Congas, Machete on accordion and Derek Suarez on bass) spent some time playing Latin music in Russia with a non profit organization called "Project Troubador". Project Troubador's founder and Artistic Director Eliot Osborn came across the very talented group of friends during his teaching stint at the New York Institute for the Blind, and has since then helped develop the act.

In 1998 they released their first self-titled demo on cassette tape, and in 2000 released their first full length album "No Lo Dude" which features their first underground hit "Dime Donde Estas", their first song to get radio airplay, and also #1 hit on the former MP3.com website. In 2003 they released "Dominando" which features a bachata version of "I Will Survive." This CD also featured their first Merengue to get radio airplay, "Y Sigues Hablando."

In 2007, Los Ciegos del Barrio's tracks were featured on "Sound in Sight Volume 1", a compilation sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind which features different blind artists from around the US.

Also in December 2009, Los Ciegos released their third album "Por Que? Por Que!" which features the track "Quitate del Medio."

According to local media, " The Blind Boys of the Neighborhood" will be presented on Saturday at the old fort and next Monday at the Pavilion Cuba.

Chucho Valdes Honored by FAO for his New Grammy

The Cuban musician Jesus "Chucho" Valdes received the tribute of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), for his recent Grammy Award in Best Latin Jazz Album.

FAO representative to Havana, Marcio Porto, pointed out that a message sent by that organization emphasizes that it feels proud of having Valdés among its Good Will Ambassadors

During an interview with the French AFP news agency in September, Valdes explained that the name of his new group is a tribute to the Jazz Messengers, led by US drummer Art Blakey, who was his “first influence”.

Valdes won the Grammy in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album, during the 53rd edition of the annual awards of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States, for his production Chucho’s Steps.

This first album with The Afro-Cuban Messengers, Valdes includes, with beautiful style and complexity, the various forms of contemporary jazz,: hard bop, free jazz and modal jazz modal, with an excellent use of percussion. The CD pays tribute to great figures of jazz, like Wynton Marsalis and Joe Zawinul, and to the piece Misa Negra.

Standing out among Chucho’s Steps, composed of 12 pieces, is a danzon that opens with a cha cha cha rhythm, in which the musician combines several genres.

lunes, 14 de febrero de 2011

UN at Havana Book Fair

Book launches and a photo contest are among the activities being carried out by the UN representation in Havana at the 20th International Book Fair. Activities include a lecture on Afro-descendants and another one on youth.

Those events involve several agencies, including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF).

Other participants are the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and FAO.

According to the Cuban Book Institute, more than 2,000 titles by Cuban and foreign authors will be on sale at 16 sites in Havana as part of the book fair.

2011 International Drum Festival in Havana

The 2011 International Drum Festival will run in Havana from March 8 to 13 at the Amadeo Roldán Theatre.

The Festival will be dedicated to drummer Guillermo Barreto and sponsored by the Cuban Music Institute and the Ignacio Piñeiro Center.

People interested can participate in five instruments: drums, pailas, conga drums, bongos and bata drums. Festival and competition organizers are also calling on self-educated drummers to compete in the different categories along with professionals.

Event’s President, drummer, composer and director of the band Klimax, Giraldo Piloto, says that the jury will be made up of prestigious national and international musicians. The winners will be given instruments in each specialty and free enrolment in the on-line Drummer School. A special award will be given to the best performer in the female category, and in the children’s category.

Festival activities will take place in the Palacio de la Rumba, the Occidental Miramar Hotel, and the Mella and Astral Theaters.