miércoles, 29 de febrero de 2012

Cuban Musicians Advocate for More Cuban Music

Popular Cuban musicians, like Juan Formell and Jose Luis Cortes, advocated here to defend and resize the dance genres of the island in the face of the avalanche of foreign rhythms alien to the native idiosyncrasy.

Meeting at Havana's Rum Museum for the recent launching of the book The Kings of the Salsa, by Rafael Lam, prominent musicians like Moises Valle (Yumuri), Miguel Angel Rasalp (Lele), Pedro Calvo, and Eliades Ochoa, agreed on the need of promoting Cuban popular music more.

Cortes and a group of young musicians gave a sort of impromptu song recital, followed by the vocal improvisation of some of the meeting's participants.

Two veteran pianists, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Lazaro Valdes, also performed at the gathering, showing the popular fondness for their music.

It is time to put Cuban music very high, said Lam prior to the concert, and stressed that it was the music which gave the people their identity, unity, and happiness.

Again French Opera Musicians Perform in Cuba

A selection of musicians from the Rouen Opera Orchestra, France, will give a concert in Cuba on March 2 and 3, as part of cultural exchange between the European country and Cuba.

The first concert will be held in the Cuban province of Matanzas, and the second is scheduled at the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Havana, told reporters the Cuban clarinetist, who lives in France, Lester Chio.

Chio, project developer, said he and the musicians invited French Florent Audibert (cello) and Hel ine Bordeaux (violin) will offer a recital that includes a varied repertoire.

Giving details of the program, Chio said that it includes works by Antonin Dvorak, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang A. Mozart and Sergei Prokofiev.

Chio said that with the support of the Cuban Institute of Music and the National Center of Concert Music, all the
members of the Orchestra of the Opéra de Rouen will visit Cuba in 2013.

This time we want to offer a series of concerts linked to educational meetings, Chio added.

miércoles, 15 de febrero de 2012

A Symbolic Street in our City

I was reading what a colleague wrote in a very sympathetic and critical way about the current state of Reina Street in the heart of Havana.

My youth is closely linked to that street, ‘cause every day I walked around, visiting friends, and spent much time with my group of friends in the so called "Yogurt Corner" in the convergence with Escobar Street. Let’s take a look to what my colleague said.

This is not an epoch of kings and queens. Maybe that’s why crud and collapsing buildings are what reigns on this street where, despite it all, one can still find true architectural beauty.

You only have to walk slowly so your eyes reach the points where the columns of the porticos end. That’s where there still remain classical Baroque or Gothic elements.

This is Reina Street, where commerce once flourished in trades of all types.

Today there are still a few shops and some thriving independently owned businesses, though all of them have a faded look. They suffer from both the soot and long-term neglect.

Recently some of them were given a fresh coat of green paint in an effort to remedy what had been left in the hands of time.

It’s a relief to people’s eyes, even though we know the paint won’t last longer than the next good rain. It does little more than hide moisture built up in the walls, the catalyst of the collapse that can occur at any moment in yet another building here.

In any case, going up and down Reina Street is a must if you visit Havana.

lunes, 13 de febrero de 2012

Carlos Varela Cancels His Concert

The famous trovador Cuban singer Carlos Varela canceled a concert that would take place tomorrow 14th February at the Salon El Chévere in Almendares Club here in our capital, due to increased ticket prices without his consent.

"Management of the place decided to breach with this agreement unilaterally (to keep ticket prices as affordable as possible) and offering the tickets to the concert along with an offer of dinner for that day at prices far above the purchasing power of most people who attend these concerts. "

The cancellation was known by an official note from the singer’s office, which specifies that Varela had chosen this place ‘cause of its large capacity of public and the technical conditions.

sábado, 11 de febrero de 2012

Cuban Youth Dedicates Songs to Love

The Cuban youth sang to love during the "All You Need Is Love" concert, which was named after John Lennon''s anthological song and invited everyone to unite in the name of that feeling on Friday.

Several Cuban singer songwriters, led by Raul Torres, made a call to love and friendship in a concert at Havana's Cuba Pavilion that was broadcast live on the Internet and social networks.

The concert belongs to you; you will be the singers, poets, stars, the author of "Candil de Nieve and "Se Fue" told the audience before inviting them to send public messages to their beloved ones.

Inspired lovers sent their phrases of affection and friendship to the stage, while social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube reached beyond Cuban borders to share the songs with people from all over the world.

Several youths interviewed said
that, in addition to enjoying the art of talented musicians, they attended the concert to promote a unifying sentiment among human beings, regardless of their origin, beliefs or political affiliation.

All we need is love,
said a student from the University of Havana, paraphrasing the title of the song, so "love is precisely the best reason to get together at a time when the planet needs it so much".

Before the beginning of the show, some
Twitter posts read Cuban youths celebrate love at #conciertodelamor about to begin, or #conciertodelamor to begin in minutes, as expressions of the expectations on site spread by social networks.

martes, 7 de febrero de 2012

Virgilio Piñera's work in Book Fair

Six works by the renowned Cuban playwright Virgilio Piñera (1912-1979) will be released during the International Book Fair 2012, which will be held here from 9 to 19 February.

The presentation of most titles: "La carne de René", "La isla en peso", "Pequeñas maniobras", "Presiones y diamantes" and "Virgilio Piñera de vuelta y vuelta" will be made by Ediciones Union as part of the Centennial Collection, dedicated to one of the founding fathers of modern Cuban drama.

The publishing house of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba is offering the title "Virgilio Piñera en persona", a text written by the literary critic and researcher Carlos Espinosa during the 1980s, based on testimonials from friends and family, letters, documents and journalistic materials.

The book, published for the first time in 2003, contains scenes from the life and works of one of the living legends of Cuban culture in his time, as said Anton Arrufat, National Literature Prize winner.

Meanwhile, Letras Cubanas will make available to readers his "Cuentos completos". The tribute in the literary event for the centenary of the birth of the Cuban poet and storyteller also includes a panel, under the title "Un poco de Piñera", at the Nicolas Guillen room of the capital's colonial fortress San Carlos de la Cabaña, main headquarters of the Fair.

domingo, 5 de febrero de 2012

Andres Cabas to Perform in Havana

Colombian singer-songwriter Andres Cabas, winner of a Latin Grammy in 2002, is one of the Caribbean artists invited to the 21 International Book Fair Cuba 2012, which begins next week.

Cabas will perform in February 18 in the courtyard of the Plaza San Francisco at the Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabana, on the north shore of the bay of Havana.

Cabas will bring to Cuba for the first time his mix of pop rock with folk elements from his country and native rhythms of the Caribbean coasts as Cumbia, Fandango, the porro and the chamba, among others.

Born in Barranquilla, the 35 year-old singer, successfully debuted in 2001 with songs like "Your Mouth", "My Bombon", "I Never Stop Thinking About You" and "Beautiful."

In September Cabas premiered his new album "Si te dijera" (If I told you), which the collaboration of Argentine musicians Vicentino, Ale Sergi and Andres Calamaro, and Spanish La Mala Rodriguez.

Other artists invited to the International Book Fair will be Barbadian troubadour Myghty Gabby and Puerto Rican singer Danny Rivera.

viernes, 3 de febrero de 2012

Cuban Singer Sara Gonzalez Passed Away

Sara González was one of the most representative voices of the Cuban New Song Movement, who died of cancer at age 60. Her death, announced on Wednesday, raised a wave of grief in cultural sectors and among people, who followed her career step by step and endorsed her songs.

The Cuban newspaper Granma published an article entitled "Sara will always be the voice of victory", which described her as one of the paradigmatic voices of the Cuban New Song Movement over the past 50 years. For its part, the newspaper Juventud Rebelde highlighted her integrity: "Like the heroes she sang for, we must remember her without crying, in the arms, on earth, because her people shall not allow her to die at the end, when she gave her voice, so much passion, so much song," said the article.

Sara underwent a complex surgery late last year and had recovered in recent months. Last December, she was seen, surrounded by friends, in her traditional gathering The Fat Woman's Yard. Founder of the movement that brought together such personalities as Silvio Rodríguez, Noel Nicola and Pablo Milanes, among others, Sara joined the so-called Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC, directed by Leo Brouwer.

Besides composing music for Jose Marti's simple verses, she left her signature forever in songs like "Andes lo que andes", "Un hombre se levanta", "Amor de millones" and "Girón, la Victoria".

At the moment of her death, she was putting the finishing touches on her next album, the third edition of "Songs of Women", featuring several generations of Cuban singers such as Olga Navarro, Mercedes Pedroso, Tanmy Lopez and Yaima Orozco.
Her ashes were on display since early Thursday morning at the Cuban Institute of Music, where relatives and friends paid tribute to her.

miércoles, 1 de febrero de 2012

“Calle 13” to Shoot Documentary in Cuba

Puerto Rican Rene Perez, lead singer of the Calle 13 duet, announced they will film a documentary about their experiences in Cuba, led by fellow countrywoman Lidy Paoli Lopez.

Calle 13 is filming a great documentary about their experiences in Cuba, Perez said in his official Twitter account (@ Calle13Oficial).
After recently arriving in New York, the musician considered Havana, along with the U.S. "City of Skyscrappers" and Valparaiso in Chile, as places of preference for anyone to write.
Pérez, also known as "Residente" (Resident), published pictures of his recent stay in the capital, where he attended, along with Eduardo Cabra aka "Visitante" (Visitor), a concert by Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez at the Fine Arts Museum.
In 2010, in his first visit to the capital, Perez showed his admiration for the Caribbean nation.