Michel Hernández

Michel Hernández

Pablo and Varela, two voices, two generations.

Pablo Milanés: “I can’t be away from Cuba for a long time because nostalgia invades me”

Pablo Milanés arrived on dot at noon at the PM Records studio with his wife, Nancy, to continue the pre-rehearsals of two concerts this Friday and Saturday with Carlos Varela at the Flamingo Theater Bar, Miami. Carlos was waiting for him in his usual black clothes and with a guitar from which he plucks some chords. The meeting seems like a party. Carlitos, as Pablo calls him, makes a few jokes to his friend, who starts to laugh like a child. They hug each other, talk a little about the topics they will review and lock themselves in the studio for almost an hour. The singer-songwriters are separated from the sound table by a glass pane. From the room you can hear Pablo’s and Varela’s songs played indistinctly by both musicians. Those of us who listen to "Como los Peces" in Pablo's voice and "El breve espacio en que no estás" by Carlos Varela, know that what is happening there is something memorable. They are two musicians who have defined the spirit of several generations, each of their songs carries a strong symbolic charge that represents us and continue to stand as testimony of their lives, ours and that of...

Francisco el Hombre. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Havana World Music, a festival that should not die

The Havana World Music Festival has brought to Havana bands and artists with a rigorous proposal far removed from the commercial patterns of the industry and the massive entertainment circuit. This event has been an oasis in the middle of a cultural panorama where artists are hardly promoted with a work based on alternative concepts and discourses, which could expand the perspective on the most diverse paths of creation among many Cubans. The festival has managed to gradually consolidate itself and show that it can almost be inserted in the international circuit of events of this nature and place Cuba on the tour program of many bands of international caliber, something that spectators and local music lovers have been demanding for decades. In this edition, the program included a series of bands that performed shows full of adrenaline, combined with high-sounding and original sound mixes. Brazilians Francisco el Hombre and the veteran Californian band Ozomatli climbed to the top of that list, with a couple of concerts that crowned Havana nights. The Brazilians were a flood of energy. It seemed that from one moment to another they were going to explode on stage. In the middle of their show they...

Tomás Piard.

Cuban filmmaker Tomás Piard dies at 71

Tomas Piard was a filmmaker who made no concessions. He got behind the cameras as if it were a method to survive and a way to bring to the limit what can be understood as freedom of expression in the cinematographic sphere. Influenced by the aesthetics of surrealism, Piard belonged to that class of filmmakers who could be considered a maker of "cult" movies. His work was especially for those who face cinema to try to decipher the most hidden mysteries of life and enjoy the harshness and spiritual conflicts that this process can entail, that exchange between the filmmaker and the spectators, between his way of interpreting the most hermetic aspects of life and reality. Piard was a filmmaker who lived according to his own rules, with his own time and based on that he exercised a profession he began in the 1970s and which he assumed, as we said, as a profession of faith. He was witness to the most tremendous and complex eras of Cuban cinema and from his uniqueness he knew how to find the formulas to direct films that helped expand the conceptual themes and artistic horizons of national cinema. In his creative record we...

Spanish Andy y Lucas duo.

Andy y Lucas duo will debut in Cuba with “Nueva Vida”

The Spanish Andy y Lucas duo, which reached high levels of popularity during the past decade, will perform in Havana as part of the festival A bridge to Havana 2019, from April 22 to 29. Well known for songs like “Son de amores,” which climbed to first place on the list of Latin music hits produced by the U.S. magazine Billboard, and "Tanto la quería” and "En tú ventana," the duo will be one of the groups with the greatest drive of the festival’s program. Organized by singer and director of the Karamba group Jorge Luis Robaina, the event’s participants will include, among others, Nassiry Lugo, the vocalist of Moneda Dura, who returned to Cuba with his band after seven years of absence. The Cadiz musicians sold close to 600,000 copies of their album titled Andy y Lucas and soon released records like Andy y Lucas en su salsa and Desde mi barrio. Already at the time the duo was considered a breath of fresh air on the Spanish scene with their rhythms straddling flamenco, pop and rap and they began "invading" the U.S. market with remarkable success. https://youtu.be/n-zHCwxtpec The group was able to surpass the forecasts that considered them another...

Omara Portuondo. Photo by Gabriel Guerra Bianchini

Omara Portuondo: “The Woman I Am”

  The life of Omara Portuondo tells part of the history of Cuban music. She captured the intensity of Havana nights during their reign in the birth of the feeling with the D’Aida Quartet, she turned the famous Tropicana Cabaret into her own paradise before a public that could not take their eyes off of her when she interpreted those songs full of glamor and hopeless loves, and she installed herself in the front row of the revival of traditional music with the Buena Vista Social Club. At 86, Omara has a ritual that accompanies her like a religion. Every morning she looks at the seaside drive from her apartment and she takes the sun if “the agenda allows it.” “On the other hand, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I always try to take care of my health,” commented to OnCuba the so-called Bride of the feeling, a title she earned during her long seasons in clubs, cabarets and any place that allowed her to sing those songs that have become live chronicles of bohemian Havana. Omara, living legend, does not feel the stabs of nostalgia. She has lost close friends, she has had to reinvent herself several...

Chucho Valdés. Photo: Taken from the official website of the artist.

A Night for the Jazz Revolution

Legends of the American and Cuban music will join in concert on April 30 at the Great Theater of Havana to commemorate the International Jazz Day, organized by Thelonius Monk Institute, the Cuban Institute of Music and UNESCO. The Cuban capital will be the main stage of a celebration hosted in previous years by cities such as Osaka, Paris and Washington. The poster for this 2017 – which other musicians could join in the next few days - is headed by the giants Herbie Hancock and Chucho Valdés, and integrated by other jazz greats such as Antonio Sánchez, Marcus Miller, Richard Bona and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Herbie Hancock is one of the most prominent jazz musicians in the United States. His innovative style and continued interest in experimentation led him to pursue a revolution in American jazz in the 1960s, with revamping languages ​​with which he embraced the freedom of jazz and sharpened his creative talent alongside giants like Miles Davis, that pioneer who gave meaning to the term of “fusion“ and united the languages ​​of jazz and rock. Herbie Hancock. Foto: www.mehysocks.com Over the years, this pianist and composer has expanded the American sonorous universe by collaborating with exponents of...

The Trovuntititis turns 15

The Trovuntitis is one of the groups of larger size, recognition and quality in the panorama of contemporary Cuban music. But these attributes didn’t come from heaven. The truth is that these young musicians, based in the city of Santa Clara, have stayed in the tracks on the so-called “smart song” with high creative proposals in which poetry and music come together in a natural way.

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