YOUNG AND ARTIST: Annie Garcés, the Voice of a Dancing Troubadour

For Annie Garcés, one of the new voices seeking a successful position in the Cuban musical landscape, the world of rhythms and strung chords reached her since she was a little girl, when she didn't even dream of shining on stage.

Those first childhood performances in Cantandole al Sol festivals, in the Isle of Youth where she was born, made her discover a talent that later would polish the musical academies, until she graduated as flautist in Havana.

After a few early approximations and the approach to different Cuban interpreters, she was convinced that the Trova was her destiny, and she made that genre in the wide horizon that she seeks to reach with a style of her own with modern and daring proposals.

Annie wants to be a youngster of her time attempting to revolutionize a genre that represents for some people a cliché of the 90’s, when their singers were considered a shadow of the musical elitism.

"The Trova is the genre that gets me crazy: I enjoy singing songs with nice lyrics and an attractive music. Singing other genres that have nothing to do with me would be just a simulation. My proposal right now looks for ties with rhythms like conga and Son music, because I want people to dance and demonstrate, in this way that Trova doesn't have to be something exclusively romantic", she says.

During her years as a student, she had the chance to come closer to the talent and trade of famous Cuban artists who guided her in her task, like Pepe Ordaz, Pancho Amat or Eduardo Sosa.

"I took singing lessons at school, but the true singer is made singing, and those people helped a lot. You can be born with the natural conditions to sing; but you must have an 'angel' and an appropriate repertoire that goes with you. There are people who sing very well, but they don't know how to get to the public; and the important thing is to discover that as you go", says Annie.

Right now she is promoting the launching of her first licensed DVD, Sublime Soul, directed by Yadniel Padrón that constitutes a selection of Cuban trova, that includes La Bayamesa as well as songs of Adrián Berazaín.

"The production of this material was very difficult because it needed a large infrastructure. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much. I start singing La Bayamesa, a Capella; but I also included songs like Perla Marina of Sindo Garay; Pasión y Prejuicio, of Noel Nicola; No te empeñes más, of Marta Valdés, among others.

"The objective is to give the public an elegant trova. Sometimes the image people have on the troubadour is him seated holding a guitar. In this case we wanted everything to be very flashy: the minstrels ware blazers and the stage of Covarrubias Room at the National Theater was decorated with original vintage lamps. It’s a mixture of trova with classic music that constitutes my academic training.

"I believe I can make the difference like this because I bid trova with symphonic genres that I show differently, through a renewed image. That is a way of approaching people to a music that maybe had never interested them", highlights Annie.

At present the singer is also preparing her first CD with brand new songs, with the purpose of making the public recognize her through new songs.

According to the artist, trova movement is healthy in Cuba right now. This reality has been confirmed in several national events, despite the idea that the popular taste grows towards commercial styles.

"New generations of minstrels are few in Havana: there are people doing excellent jobs, but attaining an effective transmission is always very complicated.

"However, advertising is a personal task for each artist. There are a lot of people who could not afford to pay the resources to reach higher goals, and yet they make their best effort to do their work more visible. You cannot simply wait for a record house to call you, or make a video clip of five thousand dollars if you can make one with a shorter budget", she says.

Following this line of thoughts, the singer emphasizes that beyond the institutional support, it’s important that the youths are insistent to achieve their purposes, because in all times that sector of the population has been regarded with distrust and suspicion for lacking experience.

"But trust is earned with the quality in the job. If you are given a 'no' for an answer I show my talent and try to change that attitude. I understand is nothing easy and many doors are close on your face, but you must also be very responsible and demonstrate a serious work", ended saying Annie.

Celebs and Social Networking

Until very recently, celebs could only express their opinions when their field of performance called the attention of the so-called traditional media.

Whenever there was a concert, an exhibition or a scientific discovery, journalists went there not only to cover the event, but also to get one or two statements from the celeb on some topic out of his reach, almost always on politics, which of course was in line with the editorial policy of the interviewer’s outlet.

Today, with the appearance of social networking it is no longer quite like that and celebs do not have to wait for journalists to look for them, because Facebook, Instagram, blogs, twitter and Youtube are there. A good example of what I am referring to is that of US President Donald Trump, who, constantly hounded by traditional media that according to him only produces fake news, has made Twitter social networking his favorite outlet to communicate with the world.

By the way, his mistakes on and out of Twitter are anthological, because the fame that his post grants him as a “new emperor” does not allow him to lead the world with the same Mafia methods that a hotel chain is managed with.

Although, everybody knows about baseball, celebs should talk about what they really know, if they’re politicians about politics, if they’re painters about painting, if they’re musicians about music and about tourism if they’re hotel owners. But apparently, such logic seems very complicated for some especially in these days of intrigues in social networks.

Besides Trump, there are some around a bit egocentric, who do not find it enough with the fame they earned from their talent in certain field and decide to venture into journalism.  What in Cervantes’s language could be called professional intrusiveness.

Italian semiologist and novelist Umberto Eco: "Social networks give the right of expression to legions of imbeciles, who beforehand only talked in the bar after a glass of wine, without disturbing the community. They were quickly silenced, but now they have the same right of expression as a Noble Prize laureate. It’s the invasion of the imbeciles.”

Although it sounds easy, journalism is a science that has its rules and one of the most important is that of responsibility. A celebrity who has not yet lost his mind should think very carefully before issuing or amplifying judgments about which he does not really have the slightest idea, at least, as long as the opposite is not proven.

That personality should be aware that a wrong opinion of him can influence thousands or millions of those fans who blindly believe that fame alone allows the celeb to approach any issue.

But that is not the worst thing of the matter. The worst thing is that social networks have become a breeding ground for new celebrities. Any nice guy who does not have the slightest idea of what he is saying can collect a legion of followers in the networks just for having a pretty face.

So now in the networks there are experts in all kind of subjects. If Archimedes lived in these times he would have said: "Give me a cell phone and I will move the world".

The formula of reggaeton is an indisputable example. With a computerized rhythm, a good anthology of obscene words and a synthesized voice, anyone can become another star throwing nonsense right and left in the networks.

But all is not lost. Luckily the applications of social networks yet do not allow to perform surgeries via the Internet because in these technological times surely novice surgeons will not be left out. Hopefully, nobody comes up with the idea because you can be sure that the killing would be indiscriminate ...

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

MERCOSUR will Discuss Cultural Agenda in Paraguay

Asuncion, Jun 6 (Prensa Latina) Ministers and authorities of Culture of the countries of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) will meet from today in this capital to discuss and exchange ideas and projects in favor of cultural development in the region.

The organizers have scheduled for today and tomorrow the 46th Meeting of the Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC), while the main conclave of the meeting, the 43rd Meeting of Ministers and Authorities of Culture, will take place on Friday 8.

This MERCOSUR entity promotes the cultural rights of citizens, generating policies that promote social inclusion through actions which allow cultural enrichment.

It also promotes cooperation at the regional level, carrying out joint projects and programs in the different sectors, promoting the spread of knowledge of the values and traditions of the States Parties, as well as the dissemination of the artistic and cultural expressions of the bloc.

Paraguay received the Pro Tempore Presidency (PPT) of Mercosur Cultural during the 42nd Meeting of Ministers of Culture of the regional bloc, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the end of 2017.

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Symphonic Concert Opens Arts Festival in Cuba

A concert by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University of the Arts of Cuba will inaugurate the 9th Arts Festival, an event by the high studies house to take place from June 11 to 17, according to the organizers.

The performance will be held at 21:00 local time and will be hosted by the capital's Mella Theater, where the Brazilian singer Fabiana Cozza will appear on stage as a special guest.

The festival, considered one of the most important events organized by this artistic school, will gather more than 600 local and foreign participants, said in a press conference the rector of the center, Alexis Seijo.

Aimed at establishing a permanent dialogue between the artistic expressions and promoting the work of young creators, the festival proposes an intense program for this edition that includes all art expressions placed in different parts of the city.

Students from universities in Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and the United States will be present at the event, which includes stage presentations, exhibitions, audiovisual projections, competitions, lectures, master classes, work demonstrations and workshops.

The Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center, the Hubert de Blanck Theater, the Villena Hall of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, Plaza 31 and 2, and the Cuba Pavilion are among the main venues of the festival.

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Cuban President Recognizes Art as a Means to Forge Respect

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel highlighted the power of art and culture to forge relationships of respect when exchanging with artists who participated in recent events in Peru and the United States.

According to the president, during the People's Summit held last April in Peru it was demonstrated that there is a force capable of uniting Cubans: the identity; and it is time to defend it because in the world some try to fracture it in order to manipulate the history.

Artistic directors such as Elito Revé and Pepe Ordaz told how they performed in Lima, in the context of the celebration of the Summit, to defend their people there through music.

The Cuban president said that the presentations in Peru and the Festival Artes de Cuba that takes place since May 8 at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, prove that art is an irreplaceable space for communication between peoples. In the meeting with artists, held on Wednesday at the cultural center La Plaza, Diaz-Canel considered that the events put to the test the effectiveness of the Cuban system of artistic education and valued the role of art as a bridge builder, his contribution to mutual respect and peace, despite the differences.

The dancer, director, and choreographer Irene Rodríguez celebrated the excellent reception of the American public that awarded the artists with extensive standing ovations, while the singer and composer Zule Guerra highlighted the shared spirituality, good energy and great joy around the festival.

To her surprise, many people sang with them Feeling themes and Latin American Boleros.

The best way for the American people to know who Cubans are is to enjoy our art, said Lele Rosales, singer of the iconic orchestra Los Van Van.

The prejudices fell to the floor, the musicians believed that they were going to play in a very serious event, and when they saw people standing ready to move to the beat of the rhythm, the show overflowed with joy, because Cubans are like that, the artist said.

The members of the Miguel Faílde Orchestra assured that at the Kennedy Center Danzón was danced and they praised a group of casineros (dancers of the casino-style) existing in Washington and composed of people from different countries.

The event combines the different arts and visual arts was represented by works of Roberto Diago, Manuel Mendive, and Roberto Fabelo, contemporary dance by the company Malpaso, the theater by plays directed by Carlos Díaz and Carlos Celdrán, among other artists and events.

Artes of Cuba festival in the US capital will conclude on June 3 with presentations from the National Ballet of the Caribbean country, led by the legendary Alicia Alonso.

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Annie Garcés and the gift unsolved for everyone

Almost a year ago Annie Garcés sang in the National Theater of Cuba. That Sunday afternoon she did a travel by some ballad’s songs: she invited young singers and others very experienced ones, defenders of her same musical cause.

“She did it well, but she could do it better”, some people expressed while going out of the hot Avellaneda hall. “She is a very gifted girl and with a good future in the music”, the analysis of the concert, which was recorded in DVD format, concluded like that.

Some Saturdays ago, Annie Garcés sang in honor to women in the hall of the Building of Cuban Art Museum. That concert demonstrated, unlike what happened in the National Theater of Cuba, that the Annie Garcés’ confidence in her talent will make her to go forward in the Cuban music, and whenever it would be like that, the audience would be able to follow her wherever she sings.

Annie Garcés and the gift unsolved for everyone

People who attended to Annie’s concert in Bellas Artes enjoyed of a young woman with a control of the scene, with more confidence in what she said singing, with no stiffness in the wardrobe, whichmade her freer and less preoccupied of the poses at this time.

Annie Garcés danced a little in the Bellas Artes’ concert. She extended the hands, put them up, captured the sensitivities themselves and transmited them to the audience; she was seen enjoying more, she felt more motivated, less nervous, with no a lot of ornaments that maybe in the National Theater made her more beautiful and less expressive.

Annie will have the sincere applause of her audience while her shows have the sensibility and the simplicity of the paper butterflies placed in the walls as it happened in the Bellas Artes Museum’s concert and while her live repertoire has some song that moves her of her comfort zone and the audience realizes that.
If we make an analysis of the audience who attended to Annie’s concert in Bellas Artes we could have as a possible result that more than the half people which were there were older than thirty five or forty years of age. This conclusion, a priori, guesses that the artist has the support of a population group which according to the age, they have consumed music of artists from different epochs, and they can compare and determinate the best and the not so good things; however they follow the artist and fill the chairs of the theaters.

Annie Garcés and the gift unsolved for everyone

Then, the musical repertoire of Annie has to be analyzed, and probably could exist the possibility of her songs being singing also by the youngest which maybe recognize her talent, but they have lack of motivation for consuming her work.

We need a disc that compiles Annie Garcés’ music, a disc which the artist’s followers can have, and the directors of radio and television programs, in charge of spreading the work of our musicians, could use it for promoting the voice of this girl who sings so nice like the sound of a flute.

When that disc be finished, and we want it could be soon, surely there will be another concert in some theater of Cuba, and that achievement will be a gift for all.

By: Yoel Almaguer de Armas

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Preparations in full swing for Cuban Art Festival at Kennedy Center

Washington, April 6 (RHC) The John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts in the U.S capital is looking forward to opening its doors to those who want to embrace the Cuban culture, says Gilda Almeida, director of International Programming of that prestigious institution

In an interview with Prensa Latina news agency, Almeida said that preparations for the “Artes de Cuba” Festival the center will host from May 8 through June 8 are well underway.

“It is a lot of work, but there are many people making great efforts to make sure the festival is a success, and preparations are perfect”, Almeida said.

The artistic delegation, of some 200 members, will include some of the greatest ambassadors of Cuban Culture, including popular and classic musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors and theaters companies

Omara Portuondo, Pablo Milanes, Los Van Van, and the Cuban National Ballet are expected to participate in the Festival.

The Kennedy Center official said that the event is very important for her institution.

Almeida added that the Cuban culture is extraordinary, and that several trips were made to the island to select the participants in the Festival, and she expressed confidence in the excellence of the announced program.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
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Cuban Culture Minister Highlights Recovery of the Sector after Irma

Havana, Dec 27 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Minister of Culture, Abel Prieto, stressed today that despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, the country managed to reopen damaged art schools and save patrimonial objects.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Prieto recalled that the atmospheric phenomenon, the most powerful one formed in the Atlantic Ocean basin, caused damages to some 300 institutions of the sector located in provinces of the north coast.

It caused a lot of damage, in Havana the House of the Americas suffered the effects of the penetrations of the sea, luckily the training that people have in preserving the patrimonial objects, the equipment, allowed that the losses in that field were minimal; however, it was a hard blow to the institutional system, he lamented.

When making a balance of the recovery labors Prieto assured that in addition to restoring the schools, Cuba reactivated the cultural life in the damaged areas.

This meteor, which hit the archipelago in September, left 10 dead and caused havoc in homes, educational centers, hotel facilities, roads, among other sequels.

The response of the artists was very important, as in other occasions they created brigades to travel to the ravaged sites where there were affected people in shelters, people who had lost everything; they carried a message of solidarity, of spirituality and affection that is contained in art, the culture minister emphasized.

Despite Irma's lashes, he said, 2017 was full of successful events such as the Havana Film Festival, the International Handicraft Fair, Cubadisco, the Caribbean Festival, the Book Fair (celebrated at the beginning of the year) and the Romerías de Mayo.

About the prospects for 2018, the minister said that one of the challenges will be to guarantee the cultural life with rationality in the use of resources.

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