Cynthia de la Cantera

Cynthia de la Cantera

Leonardo Padura. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

In the Mix: Mantilla, Leonardo Padura’s Circle and Cycle

Leonardo Padura Fuentes, probably the contemporary Cuban novelist most read outside Cuba, 2012 National Prize for Literature and Princess of Asturias Letters Award in 2015, recommends those places where not only has he lived his life, but also from where his novel’s characters come from. Leonardo Padura prepares coffee in a small expresso coffee pot, sweetens it later in a large cup and directly drinks from it. He is standing, in the kitchen in his home. He watches the street through the window over the sink, the former Camino Real del Sur. The street of his entire life. Leonardo Padura is the journalist, the writer, the one who gave life to Mario Conde, that character that grows and matures with him. But right now he is also someone who has never changed where he lives. He says to me, sitting and resting a bit his wrists on the kitchen table: “Of all the places in Havana, my point of departure, of return, of perspective, of creation, of dreams, of my own personality…is here in Mantilla.”                       Alicia Fuentes was 15 years old in 1943. At the time Mantilla was a...

World Music put downs roots in Havana

Return to the root. It is an idea, practically THE idea that persists in the discourse of Havana World Music (HWM). The root as base, as the first element, as raw material for world music. Root that, moreover, remains hidden, like the music. "What I see today is a lack of diversity, not only in Cuban music. The songs and singers look alike and everyone wants to sing  alike"says Eme Alfonso, artistic director of the event. "When I hear that I feel empty, I feel I do not know where people come". "We are in a globalized world, where they impose upon you timbres, manners, customs," says Carlos Alfonso, also artistic director. "And yet there is a lot of music in the world that is not marketed, which it is not disseminated." Two reasons, one bet. By the identity and ancestral and folk culture, but from contemporary expressions and ways to do: "The concept of world music is very comprehensive, and we want to focus more on one that works from local, but with global languages," adds Raquel Avila, director of communications. The fusion of the old and new worlds, old and new ways of understanding these worlds, is key...

Official Gazette: permits to invest

As part of the restructuring of financial processes in the country, the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba, issued on the morning of January 23 by the Ministry of Justice establishes a legal "springboard” in terms of permits and licenses required for the development of the investment work on the island. The Council of Ministers has undertaken primarily to define the types of investments: construction and installation (building, civil engineering, commemorative buildings and works of art of great magnitude) and not constructive (research and development, software, intellectual property rights and financial). Also, there are explicit forms of contracts, documentation of investors, technical project documentation as well as the roles and functions of the subjects participating in the investment. Based in Articles 77.2 and 77.3 of Decree No. 327/2014 of the Council of Ministers, Ministries have announced separately in their respective resolutions, the specific licenses investors will require. Application procedures for permits to investments are equally applicable to "state and non-state legal persons, corporations with 100% Cuban capital, joint ventures, parties to international economic association contracts and totally foreign capital companies ". The differences lie primarily on projects in some way linked to foreign capital, which are subject to the...

Fonseca for one night

Fonseca for one night

To Roberto Fonseca you do not only have to hear him play, you need to see him. When he finished the first song at the concert on Saturday, celebrating 30 years of the Jazz Plaza Festival, a theme composed of bass, saxophone, keyboard and drums solos, a song that you feel like telling you "you're in Havana, men "," you are in Havana, bro "and he confidently answer yes when he promises to be just him that night ... after the first ten minutes of the two hours that would follow later, the audience at the Mella Theater felt the need to stand. "I've never seen anything like it. Seeing people like that, musicians enjoying playing so quiet, I would say, though I am very spiritual, it's a blessing, "said Fonseca. "Because that out there, with the piano and the public, is my space, is the time where I can transport me away". His first guest: Bobby Carcasés, who is largely owed for the Festival. Bobby confessed to being primarily a blues man, "because it has a perfect structure, ideal shape to improvise, and because it is the true origin of jazz, created by the black slaves brought from Africa...

Arturo O’Farril

A bridge between Cuba and the United States: Latin jazz

The presence of Arturo O'Farrill has already become recurring in the scenarios of Jazz Plaza Festival. From the first time he traveled to Cuba he has had the dream to connect himself more and more and more-he insists in putting it that way- with the land of his father. Because what matters is not where you were born, but from where you come. Born in Mexico and grew up in the United States, O'Farrill speaks in Spanish with the classic gringo accent. Coexistence of multiple items at once, Latino, Hispanic, African and American to merge into music: Latin jazz. "I feel that there is a too strong, too intense love between Cuba and the United States. A passion that has not to do only with politics or ideology-that is secondary, but with the simple fact that people to love each other. For example, I live there, but when I'm here I feel I am in my land, with my people . "When Dizzie Gillespie met the great conga player Chano Pozo, a conversation about the roots they had in common was established between them, despite their different nationalities to the extent that Dizzie once said: "I do not speak Spanish...

Jojazz

JoJazz, the opportunity

JoJazz, contest devised for presenting novel figures of Cuban jazz, returns as prelude to the Jazz Plaza Festival. On this occasion, and from November13 to 16, 26 participants will compete in the categories of major performance, minor performance, composition and small format, with a jury chaired by Yassek Manzano and Michel Herrera, and made up by Emilio Martini, Alexis Bosch, Alejandro Falcon, Yissy Garcia, Enrique Pla, among others. According to Yentsy Rangel, musicologist of the event " JoJazz as prize legitimizes the artist, and that is why many young people approach us looking for visibility; as it is a contest that has been legitimized first by the jury that has chaired it, involving figures like Chucho Valdes, and second for the boys who have competed in it, which has already shown to have a very solid work.” For the opening night, the JoJazz awards have joined together in a tribute concert to Pablo Milanes, which will open with the interpretation of the hit ¨Yolanda¨ by the violinist William Roblejo: "We have a very well chosen repertoire, and as the same Pablo would say, it's not perfect, but is closer to what we have dreamed. We have variants with quartets, clarinets,...

Jenny Q. Chai

Jenny Q. Chai in search of Havana ghosts

There is a Shanghai Chinese woman living in New York who plays the piano sometimes diabolically, and sometimes in a slow but angelical way. She has gone upstream with her contemporary classical music in a China of ancient traditions. Her performance desire takes objects like baseball gloves and balls and strikes the keys hardly; she strikes what was not made ​​to be struck. She gets uneasy while playing, stands up, grabs the ropes and makes them vibrate on her own hand. But this does not matter if through this act she manages to invent the most sacrilegious sounds that can be collected from a piano. It was through Dr. Solomon Mikowsky, one of the professors who most influenced on her at the Manhattan School of Music, that she learned that there was a Mr. Leo Brouwer, living south , who was the epicenter of a chamber music festival bearing that same name. Perhaps because Dr. Mikowsky is Cuban, and in many of his classes he told incredible stories of the island and his childhood there, maybe because the professor, in an outburst of nostalgia, told the student: "I am sure that Brouwer would love you to go to the festival",...

Singular Sinfonity

They should definitely be crazy to form a symphony orchestra of electric guitars playing classical music: Sinfonity. For the conjunction, one would be expectant, perhaps, of a symphonic rock. But it could not be defined as such, because what comes out of those guitars is the sound of the untamed tamed. "We would have liked to be musicians in a symphony orchestra, so we created our own," said Pablo Luis Salinas, the director, to conclude with the first electric chords the Saturday night at the Mella Theater; Spring chords, opening the Four Seasons, by Antonio Vivaldi. Sinfonity Concert at the Mella Theater in Havana / Photo: Carla Valdés. As the presentation progresses, one finds that the exoticism of the band comes not only from its format, or sound repertoire, but the performance itself: the musicians are seated, lined up in a row. Seated, quiet, classic Renaissance style, not just what one would expect from electric guitarists. And the director, center, seeking the eighteenth century divinity looking at the sky in every solo he plays, keeps losing the style of a rock star. Interspersed between pieces by Vivaldi, and very in tune with Cuba and the VI...

Orquesta de Instrumentos Autóctonos y Nuevas Tecnologías

Map of the Sounds of the Americas

They talk all the time on searching. Just as one. But they never explicitly refer to what, because the feeling of what is lost or forgotten: the origin of human being in an America discovered, besieged, relegated, underlies in any search. A continent that breathes while s leeping, like if waiting to resound. An America of Mallkus, Amarus and Pachamamas; a mystical America. I am told that the sounds have different wealth by location, but the search is always the same. It is a native to native, human to human and impossible to break connection. And they reaffirm: "The search, just like music, does not believe in borders or boundaries, does not know the concept of nationality." "When we were with the Maori in New Zealand, we did a concert for children. Once finished, they began to leave. We did not know what was happening; we thought they had not enjoyed it. After a while, they came back with their grandparents´ instruments, which are not well regarded culturally because they are a colonized nation. They felt they had to show us their instruments, which are also very similar to our wind ones, and sound like trumpets. A priori it seems...

VI Festival de Música de Cámara Leo Brouwer

Leo Brouwer Festival, a 24 hours countdown

Just one day away from the opening of the 6th Leo Brouwer Chamber Music Festival, we can appreciate the Master, baton always in hand, unquiet, deep breath every artist needs before beginning his work, perhaps the most immense and encompassing of all. This time dedicated to the 75th anniversary. This time it has been reported, hopefully not, it will be the last. Choco, Cuban plastic artist, has publicly ordered Brouwer, with all the Cuban idiosyncrasy and confidence of an old friend: "You cannot stop this. I do not know what you're going to do, but you have to take it forward ". Choco is also in charge of providing the start of the event with his exhibition Painting in action on September 26, at six pm, in Cuban Art Factory (FAC by its Spanish acronym). This will be the prelude to ¨Dónde está la vida¨ (Where is life?), concert by Pancho Céspedes at Karl Marx theater, where the Festival will be officially opened. The biggest celebration to be done to Brouwer is the possibility of gathering talents from around the world in what he calls "a perfect marriage of intelligent music", which has become the Festival slogan. Some artist have...

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