M Alfonso, Havana World Music artistic director, talks about the festival, the project ¨Para Mestizar¨ and the concert she is preparing. Havana World Music Festival will take place at the baseball field of José Antonio Echeverría recreational center ( 12th Street, between / 5th and Calzada, Vedado), on February 7 and 8, between 6 pm and 1 am.
How did the idea of Havana World Music emerge and what is the artistic proposal of this space?
Havana World Music grew out of another project called ¨Para Mestizar¨ on cultural diversity in Cuba, from the first settlers to their descendants and how they reflect today their cultural heritage. With that project, despite the experiences lived and exchange with various manifestations, we were concerned about it would only reach the public through an audiovisual. That’s when the idea to reflect all this by establishing a direct dialogue through live music was born, what better than doing a festival in Havana. This proposal was discussed among a group of motivated friends who currently make up the team of this event, without whom this embodiment would not have been possible; Raquel Avila, communication, Erlend Skutlaberg and Ismael Sayyad as coordinators and I as artistic director, later we were supported by Joseph Ros as filmmaker and many others. The artistic proposal is inspired by the original idea. Havana as a window to the world is a wonderful cultural power, Havana World Music provides and receives a range of artists whom through the rescue of their identity have achieved an own seal.
Let us talk about you now. How do you think the fact of being Cuban influence on the creation of your own music?
It is more complicated than what it seems. Sometimes I don’t know if with the entire commercial trend existing today I should compose songs befitting a young international audience. At the same time incorporating elements of Cuban music also gives you a place in the world, that’s essential. So I concluded that merging all this is much more attractive, I mean transmitting Cuban identity and at the same time the freshness of more contemporary and current genres.
How do you swoop into this project?
At first it was a kind of personal search of my origins. After a long conversation with Pedro Luis Ferrer on theories of our cultural backgrounds, a fabulous lyrics made by the same composer was born there. It was so original that I thought of making a video portraying all that diversity. Then the story got complicated because when investigating on the matter we found more than what we were looking for. So that little idea evolved and grew up to what it is today. Thanks to Ismael Sayyad , co-director and coordinator, a simple song became a beautiful project that was sponsored by UNESCO Regional Office in Cuba and the Cuban Institute of Music.
Several of these bands will perform in Havana World Music, how does it work combining more traditional groupings with more contemporary proposals of diverse styles such as rock or reggae?
It is the first time that something like this will be done, the team finds interesting and innovative to play with different genres, this will give a good dynamic to the program. Thanks to the presence of very famous bands in this edition of Havana World Music we’ll have the opportunity to reach a large number of people and we believe that by display ing these less known groups, we help to their dissemination.
Surprises are not revealed but, can you put us forward something you are preparing for your concert in Havana World Music?
I am going to invite musicians that usually played with me in Havana, and a brass section that without revealing the names will be wonderful to have them in the band. Within this festival I’m another musician, my idea is also to enjoy the other concerts and collaborate with most of the guests to plant new and future projects for the next editions.
– Any message to the public of Havana World Music?
It will be a festival to remember, the team has worked very hard so it looks like it will be a success.
Taken from Havana World Music