Alejandro Ruiz Chang

Alejandro Ruiz Chang

Nació en Guanabo, pero no le gusta el Sol. Del mar, en cambio, nunca se podrá separar. Por eso sigue aferrado al malecón y haciendo periodismo que es lo que, más menos, mejorcito se le da.

Paul Oakenfold gave an exclusive interview to OnCuba about his upcoming concert in Havana. Photo: ava7.com.

Paul Oakenfold, an electronic music guru in Cuba

British DJ Paul Oakenfold is returning to Cuba after almost two decades since his first visit, in February 1999. At that time, he arrived in Havana to record “1999 Live from Joni’s, Havana, Cuba,” a show that was broadcast on Radio 1 in the United Kingdom. Oakenfold says that since then he “fell in love” with this island. The 55-year-old DJ will perform in the Fábrica de Arte Cubano next December 5, to satisfy his desire to work here because, according to what he affirmed to OnCuba, he loves “the country, the climate, the people, and the music.” Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee Oakenfold has been nominated three times to the Grammy Awards and twice to the World Music Awards and he is one of the most renowned producers and DJs of the British music scene. He has worked in the soundtrack of films like Swordfish, Appleseed, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions and Die Another Day (in which he mixed the principal theme of the James Bond series). In addition, he has created the sound for videogames like that of James Bond titled Golden Eye: Rogue Agent. He also mixed the main theme of the FIFA 2005. https://youtu.be/gWnQE1mD_lQ He has always...

Ares / Photo by Claudio Pelaez Sordo

Trump, the caricature and the artist who looks at Havana

  He is barely known as Arístides Esteban Hernández. If it is said that he is a psychiatrist by profession, he will surely be less known. But everything changes when people speak of Ares, his artistic name. Caricaturist, illustrator and self-taught painter, he has medicine and his specialty as essential tools in his work. From his Centro Habana lookout point Ares contemplates the city. He dreams of cutting right off the building that prevents him, from his tower, to look at the sea. He interprets Havana and in each stroke of the scathing and precise pen is one of the best graphic humorists of our time. His work covers diverse manifestations because he is an inexorable painter, a magician of children’s illustration and a constant maker of books. During his lifetime he has won more than 131 awards. He is the author of 21 books and another 80 bear his stamp as an illustrator, but he doesn’t keep count. He is an assiduous walker who doesn’t waste time and, despite the heat, during his walks he constantly asks questions to find the answers in art. One of them is how to create new permanent sites for Cuban graphic humor. The...

Foto: Matthew Welch

Rufus Wainwright in Havana: Libre!

Rufus Wainwright is in Cuba. The renowned U.S. singer-songwriter of Canadian origin will be touring the city for four days together with his fans, who paid to form part of Wainwright Libre! Rufus in Havana and to enjoy an extensive itinerary that will approach them to Cuban culture through visits to restaurants, galleries, dance lessons, educational workshops, private workshops and much more. The experience also includes a public concert in the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana this Sunday 24 at 5 p.m. together with Cuban Carlos Varela. With nine records to his name and a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Vocal Pop Album in 2009, Rufus established himself as one of the best artists of his generation and for more than 20 years has had a career as a soloist. The Cuban audience will probably recognize the musician for his interpretation of the theme “Hallelujah” in the sound track of the animated cartoon Shrek, but he can also be heard in multi-award-winning films like The Aviator, I Am Sam, Moulin Rouge and Brokeback Mountain. Next Sunday’s show will be Wainwright’s second public performance in Cuba. Last year some were able to hear him in the Fabrica de Arte Cubano,...

La Nueva Cervecera

New Sound Proposals to Old Havana

The Propositions Project, organized by PM Records, cultural institution led by Suylén Milanes, created a new space near the waterfront, alongside the former Wood and Tobacco Warehouse, better known as The New Brewery. Laura Martin, a specialist in art and public relations of the Propositions Office, told OnCuba "This proposal is a cultural platform that aims to enhance the interplay of history with our musical heritage, with live poetry today and all sounds that identify us and are part of our Cuban creation identity” Thus, producers, cultural managers and promoters join forces to create a generic plural scenario focused on a part of contemporary Cuban art that sometimes is not very visible in other areas. In coordination with the Habaguanex group they enhance the The New Brewery and create a space where musicians and audience can dialogue. During the recently concluded August people could enjoy the performances of Tesis de Menta, Luna Manzanares, Sexto Sentido, Rolando Luna, Idania Valdés, William Vivanco, Wichy de Vedado and Habana Compás Dance, among others, but this proposal will go on. Every weekend the adventure continues right after the Havana 9 PM cannon shot to make us part of a unique blend of history, sounds...

Dj Alain Dark en Proelectrónica 2014

Cuban electronic sound

Apolo is the youngest Cuban DJ Producer.At the age of 15 he arrived from Villa Clara province to share his music at the 2014 Proelectronic Festival, and he was exceptionally welcomed by the public and the organizers of the event. This year, for the second time, he was a tremendous success in the contest. Those 15 years don’t seem enough to learn all this young boy knows about this genre. He is foreseen as a great promise for Cuban electronic music. The festival, dedicated to this genre, is organized by PM Records and Oficina Proposiciones, with the purpose of promoting this kind of music and recognizing DJ’s productions and their artistic work. This years’ event was attended by 49 DJs. Its general coordinator, Yoana Grass, noted that “Proelectronic is made up of a small team of barely five people who did their best for creating it. I think we are doing better now and we have better control of work processes. We are immersed in achieving more prominence, not to be limited to concerts only, but to help understand the DJs work and thus accomplish acceptance by the public and institutions”. For some DJs this is their best opportunity to...

Cuban actions against violence towards women

This December 2013, the African and Ibero-American and Masculinity Network (RIAM by its Spanish acronym) and the Todas contracorriente project to prevent violence through art, develop new joint actions within the National Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Julio César González Pagés is a member of the Artists Network of the UNiTE campaign, launched by the Secretary General of the UN to end violence against women and girls, and general coordinator of the RIAM. In April this year he introduced in Cuba the campaign “The brave is not violent " , which promotes non-violence among men, and on Monday , as part of this Cuban day , delivered in the House of ALBA in Havana a workshop to more than 50 artists on this problem, which the society of the island is not free of. The singer Rochy Ameneiro , coordinator of Todas contracorriente, gave a concert along the female trio Strings Wind and the young pianist Rodrigo García , among other musicians from the Caribbean island . In a special way had the presence of the Mexican poet and songwriter Alejandro Filio, who also joined the campaign. Filio, 53, will give today at seven pm a concert...

The world vibrates with Lizt Alfonso

After a tour of 38 cities in the Netherlands and Belgium, Liszt Alfonso Ballet returns to the island. The company made in 2009 a similar tour of the first dance circuit of these two countries, but now returns to these scenarios with new proposals, some also unknown to the Cuban public. The invitation came from the staging in Cuba of Vida, where foreign businessmen in this circuit asked her that starting from the musical she made an eminently dancing show. That how Cuba Vibra! Show was born, a proposal that includes two choreographies: Danzon and Seduction. It is a show which reaffirms the company’s style. Merging and Cuban identity are the backbone of the choreographies, and the art and skill are awesome as is customary with the Lizt Alfonso Ballet. The public reception abroad was impressive, according to the director of the company, “the cheers were huge, very rewarding, the audience seemed knowledgeable about our work and the minute the music started you could hear the applauses “. She recalls the presentation in Amsterdam, the city that welcomed the first the Cuban dancers, in a memorable role for them because it also coincided with the celebrations for the 22 anniversary...

Unpublished book by Cabrera Infante released

“Map drawn by a spy” , unpublished work by Guillermo Cabrera Infante was released this November in Spain . The text was edited by Galaxia Gutenberg / Ballantine Books and surprised by the abundance of information, names and details of all types it contains. The book chronicles the last trip he made to Cuba, after the sudden death of his mother in 1965, from Brussels, where he worked at the embassy in Havana in Belgium. Cabrera Infante returned to the island to attend the funeral and when he tried to leave, he was held for four months without explanation. “Map drawn by a spy " is his most bitter chronic, his farewell to the island and the road to final exile . Guillermo Cabrera Infante was director of Lunes de Revolución and after its closure in 1961 was sent to Brussels as cultural attaché at the Cuban embassy. In the Belgian capital he wrote “Three Trapped Tigers” , one of the key novels of the "boom " in Latin America , Biblioteca Breve Prize winner . Upon learning that mother was very ill, Cabrera Infante went to Havana, but not in time to see her alive. He attended the funeral...

The Cuban Showman to Offer Concert

It is being just a few since Rolando Luna memorable concert at Riviera Cinema and the ICAIC Young Sample in conjunction with PM Records Propositions Office project again their efforts in organizing another show. The purpose is the same: to raise funds for audiovisual projects of young Cuban filmmakers. The event, on November 28th at Riviera Cinema, venue again of this type of concerts, is actually the fifth to be done to help young audiovisual production. This time, Bobby Carcasses will headline this effective proposal for the meeting with the roots of Cuban music and, moreover, it will be reason to celebrate the 2012 National Music Award which holds the Cuba’s Showman. In the words of Bobby, "now it was authorized to dedicate me this concert to celebrate the prize, as I had not been performed other since I then, only one I did in Fine Arts Museum, but that was for my birthday." Bobby will perform with his group Afrojazz, with which he has ventured into sonorities that are based on jazz but delve into the deep Cuban musical origins. "It will be a show where I’ll play some of the Afrojazz´s anthological hits and others from where public...

Cuba owes a party to Celia Cruz

Just when we end the festivities for the Day of Cuban Culture, one of the greatest of this island would be turning 88. Today she receives one of the most widespread tributes on what current technology allows: a doodle of the King of Universal Internet search engines, Google. In Cuba her name is history, culture silenced in many dictionaries. Ursula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad was born on this day in 1925. A name impossible to pronounce, but that culture coined with a simple Celia Cruz. She was known simply as Celia for three generations of exponents of Cuban music. A singer as great as her success, as cool as her music and as tropical as her island A year after the Revoltion Triumph and during a tour of the Sonora Matancera orchestra, Celia "stayed" in the United States to become the voice of the Cuban exile. But she was more than that. She devoted her entire career to transform salsa with Tito Puente and the Fania All Star making her music travel worldwide to become the Queen of Salsa. With her voice she charmed all around here and there. The black had her...

Yissy Garcia: Women Create … music!

The event is scheduled for Saturday October 19 at seven in the evening at the Old Square of Havana's historic center. A singular concert will bring together the public and lovers of good and newest music. Yusa and Garcia Yissy will star the closing of the Ellas Crean Cuba Festival, an unprecedented meeting regarding the announcement of this event dedicated to celebrating female creativity and organized by the Embassy of Spain in Havana, the Ministry of Culture, the Office the Historian of the City, the Cuban Institute of Music, among others. It is the first time that both creators share a musical project and in this case, the program will be outlined between the strings of jazz and world music. A few days before the presentation you can see Yissy very restless, expectant. This young lady, only 26 years, holds several awards at the International Festival of Young Jazz players Jojazz and the International Drum Festival in Havana and this year the First Place in the Battery Category of the first edition of the International Competition of Jazz Master Jam Festival held in Odessa, Ukraine, despite the accolades, the expression of modesty doesn’t fade from her face. And it Yissy...

(Ana ) Lila Downs will be in Cuba!

The news prompted another of the joys to which on large artistic Cuban events we are getting used, but I better start from the beginning. I have a very good friend named Anna, whose level of admiration for the great figures of art (whom for her deserve to be called that way) is very high. She has a high uptake for the "famous” and ecstasy to witness them is effusive and stormy to the extreme. It's amazing to remember her retentive when it comes to names of artists, those that stick to the tip of the tongue and spend hours thinking and associating anyone but the one you need. She always has them on hand. Most impressive is the personal spiritual connection achieved with them, even without knowing them. Her level of identification transcends the barriers of bigotry and her empathy does drag us all, but this time it was not just to remember. The news that Lila Downs was coming to Cuba took another direction from this point. My dear friend discovered that something more than the music joined her to Downs. Her discovery was poignant: the Mexican singer-songwriter not only came to give us their concert during the...

María Elena Molinet died

Cuban art lost one of its most prolific creators. María Elena Molinet, scenic designer, teacher and essayist died in Havana at 94 years of age. She was born in Holguín on September 30, 1919; Maria Elena graduated herself from the Inter American Academy of Commercial Drawing in 1949, and in painting and printmaking from San Alejandro Academy in 1952. María Elena Molinet deserved the National Design, Artistic Teaching and Theatre Awards and she was linked to the movies during the 1970s and appeared in several film productions from the hand of Humberto Solas, Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Manuel Octavio Gómez. We can find her mark in the national cinema in films like Lucia (1968), La primera carga al machete (1969), El siglo de las luces (1976), and Baraguá (1986) where she created a visual aesthetic that defines the Cuban cinema since then. Molinet was also granted with the Alejo Carpentier Medal and National Culture Distinction; was founder of the National School of Arts and taught at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of Havana University, at the Higher Institute of Industrial Design and other institutions linked to the performing and visual arts in Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico and Spain. The grand...

Brouwer: the smart way of merging styles

The maestro Leo Brouwer once again achieved the perfect marriage of intelligent music in much more than just a slogan. Now, for the fifth time, Havana makes space for the Chamber Music Festival that bears his name. This September 28th Havana started this party of tunes. The maestro's festival, which runs until October 13, is a space where they play Classical, Contemporary and Old Music along Jazz, Flamenco, Pop, Fusion, Electronics, Children’s songs and Humor, but you always remember: intelligently. In a kind of master class where musicians and audience were trainees of Brouwer this festival started, without ruling out the laughter by comedian Osvaldo Doimeadiós. Embodying the role of teacher, nothing away from his reality, Brouwer revealed to those present how much they can learn in terms of music and how much Cuban and humorous this can be. Doimeadiós, meanwhile, displayed a histrionics to which we Cubans are accustomed, but this time he also impressed at the piano. Two main lines came together in a show that put together, leaving no visible stitching, humor and music. The Concierto para dedo y orquesta, conducted by Maestro Leo, delighted everyone during two and half hours in the Avellaneda Hall of the...

Buenavista Social Club announces its first national tour of Cuba

The Buena Vista Social Club group, although well known in Cuba, will make for the first time next January a national tour around the island, after a large number of international presentations. As announced by its music director, Jesus "Aguaje" Ramos, they will be on September 2 in Japan and from the 12th, they will tour the US for over a month. This trip to U.S. territory is also intended to introduce a new phonogram containing outstanding songs from previous albums. The Buenavista recently completed a tour of Europe, where they gave more than 20 concerts. Next October they will return there for another tour. Eliades Ochoa said that recent presentations served to validate Cuban music, its strength and expansion throughout the world. Ochoa added that the public sympathizes with these musicians wherever they are from and expressed surprise at the warm welcome by the young people who, even without knowing the language, sing songs along them. The objective of the Buena Vista Social Club is the rescue of traditional Cuban music, a role they have been playing for over 16 years. Currently the group has 13 musicians with the unmistakable voices of Omara Portuondo and Eliades Ochoa. Compay Segundo,...

Salutation to an erotic epiphany

The work of Servando Cabrera Moreno does not cease in its vitality. It bets and wins the distinction of perpetual seduction. Cuba is in his work as the artist in his island; he scrutinizes its history, its people, discover the pleasures inherent in the "hidden" beauty of the rude peasant, of delicate boys, heroes. Moreno Cabrera immortalized coupled torsos, figures that are woven with kisses and hugs. He restlessly explored the human body and made ​​him a sensual landscape. The virile human being, handsome, heroic remains the center of his work in each of its pictorial stages and he returned it to us eroticized returns us without overpious acts or vulgarities. For André Breton, Servando was "the most beautiful feather in the cap of Surrealism". Although no one could encapsulate the work of this versatile artist to a movement or trend only a very strong thread his work has: the human. The artist's sensuality, excellent transparency, free brushstrokes, the precise drawing lines reaches in the erotic cycle that will occupy the entire decade of the 70, the pinnacle of his work. Taboos, conservatism, rejection of change, the "other", and the imposition of half-truths in 1971 prevented Servando from exhibiting his paintings...

Two awards for Pablo in New York

Pablo, the first feature film directed by Yosmani Acosta Martinez, won two awards at the International Film Festival of New York 2013, after five nominations in this event. The awards were in the section Best Director for Acosta, while actor Omar Franco won the laurel for Best Supporting Actor. The film, shot in Camaguey city in 2011, was also nominated in three other categories: foreign film, lead actors and original story. The film is considered a domestic violence complaint from the story of 12-year-old who gives the film its name. Javier Diaz Varona, Pablo, born in Camagüey and then 12 years old, took most of the role of the main character, played briefly in childhood by his brother Jadiel, five years when the film was made. Omar Franco, with a proven track record in Cuban humor, theater, television and film, and one of the few professional performers in the film, assumed the role of Roger, father of the protagonist, a role which was very well received by critics and audiences. The story comes from the hands of its director, working in conjunction with Joel Ortega and Luisa Alejo. The film is considered the first feature film produced in Camaguey and...

Oil hope: Much Ado About Nothing

Guanabo doesn’t seem to be part of the island. The ancient tropical paradise is only reborn during the summer to quench the thirst of sea of Cubans. The rest of the year the Eastern Beaches look like a desert. Guanabo is muted. It is never on the news. These days an event made these lands resurrect from silence. Some national and international news outlets brought to light the oil spill occurred in one of its old wells. After the novelty, OnCuba arrived at the scene. The people crowded into the area, waiting for what happened. Some, unaware that domestic oil production meets between 40 and 50 percent of domestic oil consumption and that the country has to import annually over six million tons of crude oil and derivatives at a cost that, being subject to the price volatility in the global market, tends to grow, saw in the fact the possibility of converting the place in what was once: the old and exploitable Guanabo-Brisas oilfield, possessing a high density, highly profitable oil with a high percent of asphalt and resins. The reality of the Guanabo people was another, a chimera: In 1968 the well that became news recently was closed...

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