From Cuba: A Cantata of Solidarity and Hope for Chile

Source:  ICAP

Date December 20 2019

A call for solidarity with the Chilean people and to condemn repression was the aim of a cantata held by Cuban and Chilean singer-songwriters.

The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) hosted the event, in which Cuban artists Raul Torres, Juan Carlos Perez and Angel Quintero, and Chilean singer-songwriter Carlos Orlando Aire Moreno, known as ‘Tato Aire’, took part.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Aire Moreno noted the need for an event like this and highlighted the immediate response from Cuban singer-songwriters to accompany him to support Chile and strongly condemn the repression unleashed by the Sebastian Piñera government.

‘One of the things that I like to highlight most is the attitude of young people, a very brave attitude, and I believe it has been like never before. I have never seen youths like these. I remember that when I was young, we used to do these things, but the violence we are seeing now has surpassed the dimension of repression,’ he added.

Aire Moreno condemned the human rights violations ‘by those who questioned Venezuela and Cuba and today are the first violators and the greatest assassins.’

During the cantata, participants recalled that the protests began in Chile two months ago, after being detonated by an increase in subway fares, and they multiplied with thousands of people demanding salary and pension raises, improved health care and public education and a radical change of the existing neoliberal model. (PL Service

South Africa: Playing the Guitar During Brain Surgery

Source:  Cubasi
December 24 2018

 

South African jazz artist Musa Manzini has played his music all over the world, but one performance stands out – strumming his guitar while surgeons operated on his brain.

A video of the multi-instrumentalist and university lecturer taken during the six-hour surgery for a brain tumor, shows him lying on his back in the operating theater, surrounded by scrubbed-up medical staff, plucking the strings of his guitar.

This allowed doctors in the South African city of Durban to observe which areas of his brain Manzini used to play music, allowing them to preserve those areas and also restore some movement to his fingers, which were affected by the tumor.

“I felt very awkward and uncomfortable,” Manzini told Reuters a week after the operation. “Being in between general anesthesia and awake and hearing the sounds of a blow torch inside your brain…it’s very difficult to concentrate.”

Doctors opted to keep Manzini awake in order to assess which areas of his brain were functioning as the surgery went on, helping to reduce the risk of neurological damage.

“It was a success in that the biggest risk was paralysis. I’m not paralyzed, and I still have control of my limbs and thus in good spirits and recovering nicely,” he said.

Once fully recovered, Manzini intends to take to the stage again, he said.

New ‘Fidel’ Musical Celebrates Cuban Revolution in London

Source:  TeleSUR
November 15 2017

Late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who is being immortalised in a new London musical. | Photo: Reuters

“With just a few hundred soldiers and limited means, they took on Batista’s army of thousands with its tanks, aircraft and backing from the United States.”

The Cuban Revolution will be brought to London audiences in musical form this week when “Fidel,” a new stage show celebrating the life of the revolutionary in song, premiers at the Actor’s Church.

RELATED:  Cuban Experts Holding Webinar on Alleged ‘Sonic Attacks’

The musical depicts Fidel Castro’s life in the years leading up to and during the Cuban revolution of 1953-59. It was written by University of Southampton Professor Denise Baden, who was inspired by what she called the “David and Goliath story” of the Cuban Revolution during a research trip to the socialist country.

“I can’t believe it’s not on stage already as a massive musical,” Baden said.

Baden hopes to depict – entirely through song – how Cuba overcame “impossible” odds against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista to fight for independence and sovereignty.

“With just a few hundred soldiers and limited means, they took on Batista’s army of thousands – with its tanks, aircraft and backing from the United States… and won,” reads the play’s official billing.

“Their secret was bravery, dedication, and the support of the Cuban people, who desperately longed for justice and an independent Cuba.”

The musical score was composed entirely by students from schools across the United Kingdom through a nationwide songwriting competition, in an attempt to mirror “Cuban values” of “education and inclusion,” according to the show’s website.

One actor, from Latin America, pointed to the stark difference in how the Cuban leader is commonly viewed in the South and the vilifying propaganda so prominent in the U.S. and Europe.

RELATED:  Puerto Rico Independence Leader Oscar Lopez Gets Cuba Solidarity Order

“Back home he’s not seen in the same way they see him here,” he said. “He is quite vilified in the U.S. He’s like this evil dictator who, whatever. Back home the whole left side of politics still kind of view him as a hero.”

Actress Gabriela Garcia, who plays revolutionary Celia Sanchez, said she is deeply inspired by the role of women in the Cuban revolution, and hopes to depict that to London audiences through her character.

“For me, women like her in the Revolution or most of the time get forgotten. So everything, all the stories you hear, is about Fidel or Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, but actually, when you really start digging in deep and read about all these revolutionary women, there were so many. Especially in the Cuban Revolution,”

Fidel Castro is admired by leftist and anti-imperialist movements around the world for his role in building a sovereign Cuba, staving off the United States, and assisting worldwide revolutionary movements. He died last year at the age of 90.

Keida’s Reggae message: Peace, unity and love

Source: KING2LA kingstontola.com

Progression is a process. It’s every artist’s pursuit. From painter to poet, the end game for every creative is the manifestation of the truest form of themselves. This pursuit is lofty, yet it is the driving force that pushes artists to continue their movement forward.

keida live1.jpgKeida performing live alongside Kranium at the 32nd annual Reggae on the River.

Makeida Beckford, known by her stage name Keida, has blossomed before the reggae world’s eyes. Originally from Bull Bay, Jamaica, Keida burst on the scene with her hit “Jamaica Boy” in 2009. This single instantly gained popularity and remained a favorite with DJs all over the world. She then released singles throughout the next few years, showing her versatility on tracks such as “We are the West Indies,” a song that complimented a campaign to revitalize cricket on the islands. Yet, this song was significant, as it showcased Keida’s crossover potential and proved that, no matter the vibes, Keida adapts and manages to keep her signature sound intact.

Her most recent release, Ebb and Flowis her best and most complete work to date. It’s rare to listen to an album and feel as though you are picking up something “real” from an artist; songs that let the listener in on something personal through struggle, understanding and feeling. These things come across in Keida’s album and still have the world craving the artist’s vibes. Check out “Mad World” below to hear the singjay’s ebb and flow:

We were excited to explore these themes and more with Keida when we sat down with her for a recent interview:

KINGSTONTOLA: Your sound and style are unique in today’s music coming out of the Caribbean. Who are your biggest influences both musically and socially?

KEIDA: As an artist, both vocally and visually, I draw influence from many different aspects of life and people’s experiences, but when it comes to influential artists, I have been largely impacted by artists like Sade Adu, Roberta Flack, Tracy Chapman, Sister Nancy, Bob Marley and … I could go on forever. Socially, I look up to people like Russell Bell (a great mathematician and youth advocate), Emperor Haile Selassie I, and, of course, my parents, Jamaican fine artists Owen Beckford and Michele Gauntlett.

KNG2LA: Your message of peace and unity are central themes to your music. How do you stay grounded in that thought process?

keida 2.jpgKEIDA: Well, I was taught to speak things into being, so I try to use my music to focus on the positive, even by sometimes highlighting the negative, as a means to bring awareness to some of the things we can and need to change. For question two, you need to capitalize on what’s happening globally. With the current global affairs, I’m constantly reminded of the need for a message of peace and unity. World events and, in particular, civil wars, terrorist activity and hate crimes, inspire me to continue spreading this message of love and unity in the face of divisiveness.

KNG2LA: Your songs draw on several influences: roots reggae, calypso and R&B. How does the writing process begin and how are styles chosen?  Does your writing dictate the sound?

KEIDA: Each writing session is a little different. Some songs can be born out of reasoning with self or another person and just having a concept that resonates with me, while other times, the song may be influenced by the feel and sound of the riddim. I usually start off by listening to the riddim and just writing what it makes me feel. The way I deliver the lyrics all depends on the message I’m bringing across.

KNG2LA: Are there any causes that you are currently championing?  Are there any social causes that you would like to get the word out about?

KEIDA: I’m an ambassador for R.E.A.P., an in-school, environmental program encouraging kids to learn about the impact they have on their environment. I would also like to continue to use my voice to champion a message of love and unity, instead of tyranny and terrorism, as I did in my recent song “One Love.”

When we interviewed Keida, the singer was about to embark on her tour stop to the 32nd annual Reggae on the River festival in northern California, our home away from home. Keida blew the crowd away with two special guest performances during the festival. She ignited the crowd as she joined Jesse Royal and his band onstage. The chemistry and vibes between the two talents was obvious as the crowd grooved along to the duo’s collaboration.

keida 3.jpg

Keida and Jesse Royal exchange the mic and a smile while performing together at Reggae on the River.

While the crowd was taken through a journey of hits by dancehall favorite Kranium, Keida joined him for her second performance and showcased her singjay skills, much to the crowd’s delight. Their performance was one of the best dancehall contributions to the festival.

keida 4.jpg

Keida performing alongside Kranium at the 32nd annual Reggae on the River.

Flexibility and progression, two things that define artistry, also define Keida. Impressive is her movement through musical styles and the stage. We look forward to what she blesses her fans with next!

Listen to one of our favorite singles from Keida’s Ebb and Flow EP titled “One Love” here on KingstonToLA:

Cabalgando con Fidel – A song for Fidel

Riding with Fidel by Various Cuban artists  with subtitles in English and Russian

Published on Nov 28, 2016
by: Raúl Torres
Arreglos: Pancho Amat
Trompeta: Yasek Manzano
Acompañamieto: Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional
Intérpretes: Raulito, Eduardo Sosa, Luna Manzanares y Annie Garcés.
Producciones Abdala
Ministerio de Cultura de Cuba

English translation

Riding with Fidel

by Raul Torres

They say that in the square, these days,
They have been seen riding,
Camilo and Marti.
And in front of the caravan,
Slowly without rider,
A horse for you.

Wounds come back that do not heal,
Of men and women,
That we will not let you go.
Today, our hearts beat outside,
And your people, although they hurt,
They do not want to dismiss you.

Man, the grateful ones accompany you,
How we will yearn your feats,
Not even death believes, that it took you,

Man, we learned to know you forever,
Just as Olofin and Jesus Christ,
There is not a single altar, without a light for you.

Today, I do not want to tell you, Comandante,
Neither “bearded” or “giant”
Everything I know about you.
Today I want to shout you “father of mine”,
Do not let go of my hand,
I still cannot do walk well without you.

Man, the grateful ones accompany you,
How we will yearn your feats,
Not even death believes, that it took you.

Man, we learned to know you forever,
Just as Olofin and Jesus Christ,
There is not a single altar, without a light for you.

Man, the grateful ones accompany you,
How we will yearn your feats,
Not even death believes, that it took you.

Man, we learned to know you forever,
Just as Olofin and Jesus Christ,
There is not a single altar, without a light for you.

They say that in the square, these days,
It no longer fits more steeds,
Arriving from another confine
A desperate crowd
Of heroes with winged backs
That have been quoted here
And in front of the caravan
Slowly without rider
A horse for you.

Spanish

Cabalgando con Fidel
Source:  Granma
Canción compuesta por Raúl Torres
By Raúl Torres | internet@granma.cu

Dicen que en la plaza en estos días
se le ha visto cabalgar
a Camilo y a Martí.
Y delante de la caravana
lentamente sin jinete,
un caballo para ti.

Vuelven las heridas que no sanan
de los hombres y mujeres
que no te dejaremos ir.
Hoy el corazón nos late afuera
y tu pueblo aunque le duela
no te quiere despedir.

Hombre, los agradecidos te acompañan
Cómo anhelaremos tus hazañas.
Ni la muerte cree que se apoderó de ti.

Hombre, aprendimos a saberte eterno.
Así como Olofi y Jesucristo,
no hay un solo altar sin una luz por ti.

Hoy no quiero decirte, Comandante,
ni barbudo, ni gigante
todo lo que sé de ti.
Hoy quiero gritarte «padre mío»,
no te sueltes de mi mano,
aún no sé andar bien sin ti.

Hombre, los agradecidos te acompañan.
Cómo anhelaremos tus hazañas.
Ni la muerte cree que se apoderó de ti.

Hombre, aprendimos a saberte eterno.
Así como Olofi y Jesucristo,
no hay un solo altar sin una luz por ti.

Hombre, los agradecidos te acompañan.
Cómo anhelaremos tus hazañas.
Ni la muerte cree que se apoderó de ti.

Hombre, aprendimos a saberte eterno.
Así como Olofi y Jesucristo.
No hay un solo altar sin una luz por ti.

Dicen que en la plaza esta mañana,
ya no caben más corceles
llegando de otro confín.
Una multitud desesperada
de héroes de espaldas aladas
que se han dado cita aquí.
Y delante de la caravana
lentamente sin jinete,
un caballo para ti.

Published on Nov 28, 2016
Author: Raúl Torres
Arreglos: Pancho Amat
Trompeta: Yasek Manzano
Acompañamieto: Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional
Intérpretes: Raulito, Eduardo Sosa, Luna Manzanares y Annie Garcés.
Producciones Abdala
Ministerio de Cultura de Cuba

U.S. blockade continues to negatively impact Cuban culture

Source:  Granma
September 2 2016

by Amelia Duarte de la Rosa | internacionales@granma.cu

According to a report by the Cuban Ministry of Culture, the hostile blockade policy prevents the island from obtaining materials and supplies vital to arts education.

 

us blockade continues to negatively impact

The hostile blockade policy limits the island’s potential to obtain materials and supplies vital to arts education. Photo: Jose M. Correa

Not long to go before the start of the new school year and everything is ready across all levels of the country’s education system: uniforms, study materials, school equipment, etc. However, for the over 8,000 students set to enter the country’s network of art schools, the situation is different. Even though the key resources have been guaranteed for this year, classroom doors will open under the negative impact of the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the U.S. government on Cuba.

Inability to purchase from the US market

According to a report by the Cuban Ministry of Culture, the hostile blockade policy prevents the island from obtaining materials and supplies vital to arts education.
For example, the country would make a considerable saving if instruments for music students, oil paints and paint brushes for visual artists and shoes and costumes for dancers in training, could be purchased from the U.S. market.

Access to that market could save Cuba a potential $35,000 U.S. dollars for those studying saxophone, $133,000 for those studying piano and another $2,000 on ballet attire (leotards). These are just a few examples of a reality which affects all branches of arts education.

Signing commercial contracts

The Mincult report highlighted the blockade’s negative economic impact on live performances by Cuban musicians in the U.S., which take place in the form of cultural exchanges, with a prohibition on signing commercial contracts. Thus Cuban entities receive no economic benefits, and are further impacted given the inability to sell products in other markets while in the U.S.

The extraterritorial nature of the blockade impedes the promotion, distribution and marketing of Cuban artists and negatively impacts product sale prices.

This year the Cuban Institute of Music (ICM) organized 15 cultural exchanges in the U.S. with 122 artistic performances.

Export potential of five million dollars a year

The report estimates the export potential of Cuban music groups affiliated with the ICM to be as high as five million dollars a year, if blockade restrictions were lifted.
In regards to copyright protection between Cuba and the U.S., management institutions from both countries are still prohibited from signing Contracts of Reciprocal Representation (CRR), which protect artists and their work marketed in both countries.

Accessing technology developed by U.S. company Dolby

The negative impact of the blockade also extends to visual arts, literature, online marketing of cultural products and the Cuban film industry. For example, the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) is prevented from accessing technology developed by U.S. company Dolby.

The report notes, “We find ourselves forced to use said technology for sound processes in our productions, without which it is practically impossible to insert ourselves into the international film market. This obliges us to partner-up with foreign co-producers in order to obtain the necessary licenses, in exchange for which we must cede a part of the potential profits of our films. This represents an annual loss of no less than $200,000 USD.”

Reggae Message: The War is Over, No More War

Oh yes it was happening but now no more, yeah, yeah

It was happening

Tribal war

We no want no more a that

Tribal war

A no that we a defen’,

yeah, yeah

I’ll give Jah praises in the morning

When I hear the people say,

yeah yeah

They start sitting up and licking cup

One by one they take a little sup

Saying that the war is over, is over

We now see ourselves in unity

Celebrating with better collie

Now that the war is over

No more war

 

Tribal war, yeah yeah

We no want no more a that

Tribal war, yeah, yeah, yeah

A no that we a defen’

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, eah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Tribal war

We no want no more a that

Yeah yeah

Tribal war

A no that we a defen’

We now see ourselves in unity

Celebrating with better collie

Now that the war is over

 

Tribal war, yeah, yeah

We no want no more a that

Tribal war, yeah, yeah, yes

A no that we a defen’

They start sitting up and licking cup

One by one they take a little sup

Saying that the war is over,

No more war

We now see ourselves in unity

Celebrating with better collie

Now that the war is over

No more war

They start sitting up and licking cup

One by one they take a little sup

Saying that the war is over, is over

No more war

Tribal war, yeah, yeah

We no want no more a that