Hip hop festival in Cuba reaches its 8th edition

The Urban Potaje Festival, which highlights the values ​​of hip hop culture in the Cuban music scene, will hold its 8th edition from August 13 to 18 in Colón, Matanzas.

On this occasion, the event that takes place in the west of the island will be attended by about 160 national and international artists.

Among the figures that have confirmed their participation are Cuban rappers El Individuo, Karnal, Ciudadano, Company Yo, Doble Negra, Claras, Malcolm Beybe, as well as the DJs: Dj Lino, Dj Hanzel and Dj C4.

Meanwhile, the French Dj Keshkoo and Mc Rotka, and MC Nam, from Mexico, will be arriving, so that in this edition the presence of exponents from different regions of the island and from several parts of the world stands out.

Along with music, graffiti, dance and spoken poetry―distinctive elements of hip hop― will also be represented in Urban Potaje, with Cuban projects such as Graffiti Colón y Arte, Undergraff y Adier Martell, Undergraff from Holguín, as well as Rompiendo el Paso and B Boy es Vida.

The most intense days of the program will be on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18. The competitions of doubles with the best active freestyle on the Island will take place on Saturday, while as a climax, Sunday night in Colón’s Plaza Roja, for the first time in Cuba the National Master Battle Title (BDM GOLD CUBA) will be vied for.

The winner will represent Cuba in Peru in the International Tournament, which will be held in November BDM Deluxe.

The 16 Gold Masters who won their place in the finals, having won in the regional elimination rounds, which have taken place throughout the island after the 7th edition of Urban Potaje, will participate in the BDM GOLD CUBA.

  • Published in Culture

Heading for the Kennedy Center: Reyna and Real, Cuban Hip-Hop

Followers come in waves: Reyna Hernández Sandoval and Yadira Pintado Lazcano, artistically known as La Reyna and La Real, integrate the Cuban delegation to participate in the festival Arts of Cuba.

It’s not actually easy for a woman to make her way in the world of hip-hop. But Reyna Hernández Sandoval and Yadira Pintado Lazcano, La Reyna and La Real are doing it with sheer talent.

The group is officially born in year 2013. Ever since has been winning popularity for their lyrics (of strong social content, stories on the life of many women), and for the singularity of their musical and scenic display.

In an environment where men usually prevail, La Reyna and La Real have made their mark, they are respected and admired... and their music has gone beyond the supposed "nests" of rap.

The most recent sample is their inclusion in the Cuban delegation to participate in the great season Arts of Cuba: from the island to the world which in May will have the famous John F. Kennedy Center for the Scenic Arts, in Washington, United States.

"This is so far the highest point in our career – assures La Reyna – the fact that they thought of us fills us with pride, because that means we are doing things right."

La Real agrees: "Imagine, to sing the United States the place where rap was born. That is like selling ice to an Eskimo. But we will perform a well-identified Cuban hip-hop, with all the grace of Cuban women."

On May 17th, in two shows (7:00 and 9:00 p.m.), the two singers will rap at the Cuban Club, in the gallery of Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center.

“We will see what we do there – says Reyna -, what I can guarantee is that we are really willing to go and show what we women can do in rap."

La Real affirms that they will do their best: "Nobody doubts it: we are going strong!

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

Plenty of Rap to Refresh the Summer in Havana

Summer is here, it not only brings sun, and beach to Cuba, but also cultural proposals for all tastes, Cubasí talked to Rubén Marín, director of the Cuban Agency of Rap to know where rap and hip-hop will be presented in these months…  

"The rap opens the summer in Havana with the event Pa abajo that returns to the corner of 23rd and B streets in Vedado. We are inviting everyone to join us, this will take place within the Summer Readings that will occupy the entire 23rd Street and we will have the chance to do something very beautiful there", he announced.  

Besides, Marín shared a special call to the children who are in holidays these days: "On July 20th and 21st we are organizing the fifth edition of the event Growing in the Hip Hop, where children and adolescents express their art through rap, registering is still open, to all children who dance, rappers, Dj to pay us a visit we will give them the opportunity, because the important issue is to make hip hop grow as well as culture, they are the future."  

Mano Armada group, will offer a concert on July 22nd at the Palacio de la Rumba, about this presentation added Rubén: "this is an experience that repeats for the second time and we are very pleased with the maiden concert we did, don’t miss it, it will start at 9:00 p.m."  

Finally, the Director of the Cuban Rap Agency reminded the followers of this genre the customary space they have every Wednesday at the Strawberry and Chocolate Cultural Center and on Tuesdays at Boulevard 66 located in the municipality of Center Havana, where one can enjoy the main groups included in the Agency’s catalog as well as young representatives from the hip hop movement from Hermanos Saíz Association.

Rapper Talib Kweli Rocks the Mic in Cuba

Cuban Rap Agency reports that local bands Mano Armada, Brebaje Man, Invaxion and Kilometro 969 will share the stage with Kweli.

Hip-Hop rapper, social activist and entrepreneur Talib Kweli is on the eve of making his debut performance in Cuba. The concert will take place at the Rhumba Palace on Friday.

RELATED: 'You'll Never Kill Their Music': The 'Voice of Ferguson' Tef Poe Talks BLM, Feminism in Rap

Cuban Rap Agency reported that local bands Mano Armada, Brebaje Man, Invaxion and Kilometro 969 will share the stage with Talib.

Renowned for uncompromising lyrics that address social and political issues, Kweli's career ascended the hip-hop radar in 1998 when he and fellow hip-hop artist, Mos Def (currently Yasiin Bey), released their debut studio album, Black Star. The title of the album alluded to the Black Star Line, a shipping line established by Pan-Africanist revolutionary Marcus Garvey.

Talib, having called U.S. politics an illusion, refuses to vote. He also speaks out about political prisoners incarcerated in the U.S. such as Mumia Abu Jamal and is an active supporter of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

Cuban hip-hop has as its matriarch, Nehanda Abiodun. A graduate of Columbia University, Abiodun would soon join ranks with the National Black Human Rights Coalition and the Republic of New Afrika. She received political asylum in Cuba in the 1990s after the US government charged her with aiding in the escape of Assata Shakur and a series of other revolutionary actions.

Since living in Cuba Abiodun has frequently spoken to Cuban youth about the social and political vitality of hip-hop music. She stressed that rap music is the “voice of protest” located throughout the world.

RELATED: Iconic Cuban Rumba Group 'Los Muñequitos' Celebrates 65 Years

She added that “once you step out of the U.S., a large part of the global community of hip hoppers are progressive” because it's produced by the Indigenous people of that place.

As a testament to its power of resistance to the forces of imperialism and oppression, hip-hop has also been co-opted in favor of U.S. hegemony.

According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, had secretly attempted and failed to infiltrate Cuba's underground hip-hop movement for over two years.

The Guardian reported that the objective of the operation was “to break the information blockade” and “spark a youth movement against the government.”

But, rest assured, you shouldn't expect a weak, imperialist performance when Kweli rocks the mic Friday night.

  • Published in Culture

New Orishas' Video Makes Impact on Digital Platforms

Havana, Jul 15 (Prensa Latina) Just a few hours after its release, the video ''Cuba Isla Bella'', which marks Orisha's comeback, has already accumulated more than 100,000 views on Youtube. The digital site suenacubano.com reviewed the success of this clip, which was directed by Joshua Morin and Orishas' Yotuel Romero.

The clip 'Cuba Isla Bella', the first single promoted by Orishas after more than seven years, shows images of Havana's neighborhoods, the Cuban people on the streets.

'The song was created by the members of Orishas along with the Panamanian composer Omar Alfanno and the Spanish singer Beatriz Luengo.

According to Yotuel Romero, in this clip we obtained the 'perfect mix between urban music and traditional island'.

Yotuel, Roldan and Ruzzo this year decided to reunite one of the most popular music groups in the history of Cuban hip hop.

Orishas returns to the Isla Bella ( Beautiful Island )

Founded in late 1999, the group won two Latin Grammy Awards and sold nearly one million copies of their albums worldwide.

Now, they are planning a comeback tour throughout United States.

The tour will take them to Florida, Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

  • Published in Now
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