UNESCO Pays Tribute to Rumba and the Punto Cubano Music

The United Nations for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) venue in Paris, welcomed this Monday homage to rumba and Punto Cubano music. These expressions were declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by this international organization.

Great privilege that of Cuba: two of its most important cultural items join a list endorsed by famed specialists from all over the world.

Easy to say, but if one takes into account the large canvass of arts worldwide, the patrimonial heritage of peoples... you must agree that a relatively small country has contributed dearly to the universal legacy.

Rumba and Punto Cubano music are living arts, paradigms of a resistance culture, with high ethical and aesthetic values. They have also been the voice of the those oppressed. A space of popular creativity.

Doctor Miguel Barnet and journalist Pedro de la Hoz spoke about this in their conferences.

Barnet’s conference was dedicated to the multiple roads of rumba, and that of de la Hoz to the characteristics of the Punto Cubano, with its regional variants.

The fact that UNESCO has acknowledged these two art manifestations it’s cause for joy, but also a responsibility, said the ambassador Dulce Buergo, permanent delegate of Cuba before UNESCO.

For Miguel Barnet their inclusion in this important list speaks of the strength of the Cuban culture, as well as the creative potential of a people.

Barnet’s presence at UNESCO meant a return to the venue of an organization in which he was delegate for several years.

The session this Monday was part of the seventh assembly of the party states of the Convention for the safeguard of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

An important moment was the granting of the official certificate of the inscription of Punto Cubano to the registry of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.

Gladys Collazo, chairlady of the National Council of Cultural Heritage received it from the hands of Tim Curtis, secretary of the Convention.

There is agreement on something: Rumba music and Punto Cubano are just the beginning. Cuba has much more to offer.

"First it was Rumba, after that the Punto Cubano, tomorrow will be Son music, the sprees… Cuba’s heritage is wide, I am very proud of being Cuban, of being part of the people that have given so much to the universal art, and that has used art as a means to face all setbacks it has endured throughout history", said Barnet.

The Award House

From Monday 15 to Thursday 25, Casa de las Americas invites to different proposals as part of the 59th edition of its Prize, the oldest and most permanent literary gathering in our continent.

A special moment will take place on January 24, when Casa de las Americas will be honored with the UNESCO/UNAM Jaime Torres Bodet Award in Social Sciences, Humanities and Art in its second edition.

Dialogues among the public and the members of the jury, launch of magazines and the winning books in 2017, as well as the inauguration of an exhibition make up the collateral program of the Prize.

On Thursday 25, at 7:00 pm, the jury will announce the awarded works in the following categories in contest this year: short-story, theater, essay on artistic-literary theme; as well as works in Brazilian literature, with non-fiction books written in Portuguese.

The jury will also award books in Caribbean literature written in English or Creole.

Moreover, the literary institution has also called to the Women’s Studies Award.

And on Monday 15, it will set up the jury made up by more than twenty prestigious writers and personalities from twelve countries. Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez will deliver the speech of jury’s setting up. Thus, there will begin the tributes to take place this year, the five decades of the first concert that brought together on February 18, 1969 at Casa de las Americas three founding pillars of what was called later the New Trova (Song) Movement: Silvio, Pablo Milanés and Noel Nicola.

Later, the jury will work in the city of Cienfuegos, located on the central-southern coast of the island. On Saturday 20, at 11:00 am, the aforementioned city will house the launch of the winning books of the 2017 Casa de las Americas Award, as well as such magazines as “Casa de las Americas”, “Conjunto” and “Anales del Caribe”.

Then, in the evening, local “A Cuestas” Theater will stage “Zone” piece, by “La Fortaleza” Theater Company.

And on Monday 22, the collateral program of the Prize will kick off at Casa de las Americas headquarters in El Vedado, once the works of the judges have finished in the city of Cienfuegos. From 3:00 pm, the “Manuel Galich” Room will house the works of such panels as:

“Literary creation, editorial circulation and translation in the Caribbean”, with the judges of the Caribbean literature in English and Creole category, as well as “Saved pages or which ones would I take to the desert island”, a dialogue with members of the jury in the short-story genre.

That same Monday, at 6:30 pm, plastic arts will have their space within the program of the Literary Award with the inauguration of the “Digital Art Pioneers in the Art Collection of Our America” exhibit, at the Galería Latinoamericana of the literary institution.

On Tuesday 23, the panels will continue their work, always in the afternoon with two others. The first will be “Out of the canon: the other side of Brazilian literature”, with the judges of the Brazilian Literature Award; and the second “Critical experience”, a dialogue with the judges of the Prize in essay genre of the artistic-literary theme.

Moreover, the program includes the presentation of the winning books of the 2017 Casa de las Americas Prize and the latest edition of Casa de las Americas magazine.

On Wednesday, January 24, at 3:00 pm, the “Theater of the real and the social thing: 2018 Latin America” panel will take place, with the awarding judges in theater genre; and at 6:00 pm, the “Che Guevara” Room will feature the ceremony to hand over the UNESCO/UNAM Jaime Torres Bodet Prize to Casa de las Americas.

That award acknowledges the efforts of a person, group of people or international institution that has contributed to the development of knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in social sciences and humanities.

In the case of the House, it rewards its contribution to a better world, not only through its links with intellectuals of the region, but also for the narrow links it keeps with institutions and organizations, like UNESCO. The renowned Cuban cultural institution had previously been awarded with the UNESCO Simon Bolivar Prize in 2004.

The winners of the 2018 Casa de las Americas Prize will be announced on Thursday, January 25, at 7:00 pm.

With its literary contest, Casa de las Americas begins, like every year, its program in 2018, days for the intercrossing of the literature and the art that are born from the deep rivers of our America.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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UNESCO congratulates Cuba for 59 anniversary of the revolution

The Organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), congratulated Cuba for the 59 anniversary of the victory of the Revolution and expressed the willingness to further strengthen ties with this Caribbean nation.

According to Prensa Latina, UNESCO recognized the traditional active role of Cuba for the promotion of international cooperation in the fields of competence of that entity.

A statement released today by the Permanent Delegation of Havana before that body of the United Nations stressed that in 2017 this country and UNESCO celebrated 70 years of fruitful relationship.

Within that framework had carried out many activities that contributed to recognize and give visibility to the achievements of the revolution in the various sectors of the organization's mandate, indicated the text.

In this regard, points to the tribute to the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, during the tour of the National Ballet of Cuba by France last July.

It also refers to the recognition of the singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, Artist for Peace of UNESCO, on the occasion of the inauguration of his photographic exhibition tour of the Neighborhoods, held in December at the headquarters of the multilateral body.

As another important event adds the celebration of the International Day of Jazz in Havana, as well as the Cuban cultural day which included the exhibition offerings, for the plastic artist Silvia Rivero, and a special presentation of the musician José María Vitier and soprano Barbara Llanes, at UNESCO Headquarters.

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UNESCO Starts Meeting on Cultural Assets Trafficking

The fourth Meeting of State Parties to the 1970 Convention on Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property began today at the UNESCO headquarters in this capital, an issue that is cause for concern in the world.

Opening the event, UNESCO Deputy General-Director for Culture Francesco Bandarin highlighted the increasing interest in the issues related to the 1970 Convention, aimed at prohibiting and preventing illegal imports, exports and transference of cultural assets.

In that reference, he highlighted the activities carried out by that United Nations agency, with a view to training and raising awareness of the problem, and also defended creating synergies between this and other conventions in the cultural sector.

The meeting will be developing until tomorrow and they will deal with subjects as the use of the Convention fund, reviewing the rules and election of nine members of the Subsidiary Committee.

Cuba is participating in these sessions as State Party to the 1970 Convention, with a delegation led by the Cuban permanent ambassador to UNESCO, Dulce Buergo.

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UNESCO Acknowledges High Quality of Cuban Jazz Musicians

Havana, May 1 (Prensa Latina) The celebrations on the International Day of Jazz held in Cuba are an acknowledgement of the high quality of Cuban jazz musicians by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The statement was made by UNESCO General Director Irina Bokova during his visit to Havana, which also coincided with the 70th anniversary of Cuba's membership in that UN agency.

At a meeting with Culture Minister Abel Prieto, the two officials agreed that jazz sends a message of non-aggression and it is a chant to the confluence of cultures and peoples.

Bokova also confirmed that relations between Cuba and UNESCO are developing at the highest level and will continue to strengthen.

During a tour of Old Havana, Bokova lauded the restoration works being carried out by City Historian Eusebio Leal in the historic heart of the Cuban capital.

Leal, in turn, decorated Bokova with a commemorative medal granted by the City Historian's Office when a major restoration work is completed.

UNESCO Condems Syria's Cultural Destruction by Terrorists

Paris, Jan 20 (Prensa Latina) The Unesco Director-General, Irina Bokova, condemned today the destruction caused by the Islamic State of several patrimonial places in the Syrian city of Palmira, which she described as a war crime.

'This destruction is a new war crime and a huge loss for the Syrian people and humanity', said Bokova, after receiving reports and images taken by the UN Operational Satellite Applications Program, confirming the damage.

'This new strike against the cultural heritage, that we knew hours after receiving information about mass executions made in the theater, shows that the cultural cleaning carried out by violent terrorists seeks to destroy human life and historical monuments in order to deprive Syrian people of its past and its future,' regreated Bokova.

A UNESCO statement reads that the images allowed to confirm the damage caused to Tetrapillum and the Roman Theater in Palmira, a place declared Patrimony of Humanity in 1980.

Bokova stressed that 'the Tetrapillum was a architectural symbol of the spirit of encounter and openness of Palmira, and that is also one of the reasons for its destruction. Its location and shape were unique in the ancient architecture and specific symbol of the identity of the city, source of pride and dignity for all Syrians'.

In the statement, UNESCO reiterated the call 'to the entire international comunity to stand together against this cultural cleansing.'

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Cuba's Rumba Listed As World ‘Intangible’ Heritage by UNESCO

Rumba music is historically linked to the slave trade and remains a key element of modern Cuban culture.

UNESCO gave the nod to Cuba's rumba on Wednesday, saying it evokes "grace, sensuality and joy" as it added the genre to the body's prestigious list of "intangible" heritage.

RELATED: Fidel Castro and Silvio Rodriguez: A Revolutionary Friendship

The Cuban delegation to UNESCO's talks in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa dedicated the decision to revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died on Friday aged 90.

Rumba originally rose to prominence in the working-class neighborhoods of northern Cuban cities such as Havana and Matanzas, before growing popular in rural areas of the country where communities of African slave descendants lived in the late 19th century.

“Spreading from the west to the east of the country, it has been a major symbol of a marginal layer of Cuban society and identity, acting as an expression of self-esteem and resistance and a tool for social outreach, helping to enrich the lives of practicing communities,” said UNESCO in a statement.

The organization said the Cuban musical genre is a unique combination of West African culture with Antillean and Spanish flamenco influences.

A rumba show performed live usually includes polyrhythmic percussion or handclapping, elaborate dancing and specific body movement, resulting in a festive atmosphere.

“The dances and chants evoke a sense of grace, sensuality and joy that aims to connect people, regardless of their social and economic background, gender or ethnicity,” add UNESCO.

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Head of UNESCO Signs Condolences Book After Fidel's Death

Paris, Nov 28 (Prensa Latina) UNESCO's Director-general Irina Bokova today signed the book of condolences opened at the Cuban embassy in France on the occasion of the death of the historic leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro.

Visibly moved, Bokova paid tribute to Fidel and wrote in Spanish: 'My deepest condolences for the passing of Commander Fidel Castro Ruz, who for more than half a century was a tireless advocate of the disinherited and a promoter of education as a key factor in the cultural, social and human growth of peoples'

After learning about Fidel's death, Bokova sent a letter to Cuban President Raúl Castro in which she referred to the revolutionary leader as a symbol of solidarity at an international level.

'Thanks to the efforts of Fidel Castro Ruz, Cuba is a world example in terms of solidarity and cooperation,' she stressed.

'I want to express to you, on behalf of UNESCO and myself, our deep sadness and deepest condolences,' the letter added.

The Cuban embassy in France today opened a book of condolences that will be available for several days for those who wish to express their thoughts.

Throughout the day hundreds of people have come to the embassy to write messages, including ambassadors, intellectuals, members of solidarity groups and numerous citizens.

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