British singer Sting lashed out against world leaders on Saturday calling them "cowards" for failing to resolve the refugee crisis, praising though the role of Greece.
"Thank God for Greece because you have shown the way," said Sting, at an Amnesty International event in Athens ahead of his performance Saturday night.
"You have shown how to treat refugees when other people are building walls. When children are being taken from their mothers and put in cages, you are acting with compassion and generosity and commonsense," he said according to Athens News Agency.
Trump on Wednesday ordered an end to the family separations which have sparked domestic and global outrage but the fate of the more than 2,300 separated children has remained unclear.
"Because our so-called leaders, a sad parade of half-men, cowards, have not got the solutions. Democracy began here in Greece, you are showing us how to be civilised again", Sting added.
Greece, with a population of 11 million, recorded 58,661 asylum applications last year, making it the EU member state with the highest number of asylum seekers per capita, according to official data.
French President Emmanuel Macron came out Saturday in support of financial sanctions against EU countries which refuse to accept migrants.
"We can not have countries that benefit hugely from EU solidarity and claim national self-interest when it comes to the issue of migrants," he said at a press conference in Paris alongside Spain's new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
On the eve of a mini-summit about the divisive migration issue, the two leaders also declared support for the creation of closed reception centres where migrants would be held while their asylum claims are considered.
He carries the island tattooed on one arm, in his voice and in his heart; they call him Cuba because among so many well-earned titles: trumpeter, singer, composer, arranger, director, producer ... he prefers to be defined, simple and deeply, as “a Cuban”.
What a luxury to have in the newsroom of CubaSi, the leader of Habana D' Primera band and one of the most important creators of popular dance music in Cuba.
Habana D' Primera, ten years later, how much has it evolved, how much remains?
"It started as a children’s game –I would say–, "with the idea of accompanying artists who left the studios with important records and did not have a band to defend these productions, and we had the need to create a repertoire of our own in order to be able to live, to be able to keep the band, never with the idea of belonging to the lines of first-level bands, and the result has really been a surprise for everyone”.
“First, because I am a trumpeter, I do not have vocal training, like the singers who study this profession, and second, because, as our times go by, urban music trends and all those things that too reach the island, as they reach everywhere, then, making Cuban music in these times and being able to collude with the youth is a bit difficult, anyway, it seems that the work has been achieved”.
What do you think have been the keys for that success?
“I think the background that I have had through my years of work as a trumpeter helps me. I had the opportunity to work a lot, a lot, a lot ... Seven and a half years that I worked in Paulo FG’s orchestra, when this orchestra was composed of very important musicians –the best musicians of Cuba of that time for me–, honestly, in a time, where there were so many musicians it's a bit strong to say that they were the best, but for me it was an ensemble of very important musicians such as Juan Manuel Ceruto, Emilio Morales, maestro Julio Montalvo with the trombone, Frank Rubio at the bass, Carmelo Adre, my trumpet teacher, anyway ...
“This background, this possibility to work with these music greats and, at the same time, respect for Cuban music, and I say that because I think that Habana D' Primera has ingredients from all the ensembles that preceded us: it has a little from Irakere, from Afrocuba, from NG La Banda, and a lot from Van Van”.
The train of Cuban music, also a locomotive for Habana D' Primera?
“Van Van, Juan Formell, the most important pattern of Alexander Abreu, because he has been a person who has transcended over many generations. I was seven years old and was dancing in Cienfuegos with Van Van; today I am 42 and Van Van remains with an amazing force setting the standard of the music we make. It is no secret that Juan Formell is Alexander Abreu’s main pattern to follow, and I believe that a bit of all these ingredients is the system to be able to have an own stamp, an identity, looking for the way to have an urban poetry that everyone can understand, with lyrics and themes that can reach people, and can be identified, and actually the result has been, until today, outstanding, not only in Cuba, but all over the world as well”.
How important are the lyrics within popular dance music to you?
“It's everything, it's the message. You can have a very strong musical system, you can be a musical genius, but if you do not have a message within what you are displaying, you have nothing, and in Habana D' Primera we have a fairly rigorous work with these things, looking for a way to interact with the popular slang, phrases, although, we know they are not within the system of Spanish as such, but Cubans tell them and, at the same time, making it work in the whole world for those who speak Spanish so, they can understand us, but it has been achieved. We also seek a way for a 14-year-old girl to say "how beautiful that song is", and that a tough guy likes it too; building this bridge is very difficult, anyway, we have achieved it”.
How do you define Habana D' Primera?
«Modesty aside, it is no secret that when Habana D' Primera came out, Cuban music was in a dream stage; I say dream because we never lost these great creators who have done a lot for Cuban music throughout all these years, such as Manolito Simonet, José Luis Cortés, many creators who have made history and continue to make history; but there was a dream stage, because even what I was recording inside the studios as an instrumentalist had low pressure, even, the boys who were studying in the art schools had different leanings, and I think Habana D' Primera has been an engine that has driven this work in a huge way. Today, there are several new ensembles displaying Cuban music strongly, youth that is defending that music, and I believe that Habana D’ Primera has a bit to do with that. I see Habana D’ Primera like an engine that has driven new generations, even great musicians who were living outside Cuba, to return to the island and display their work too, why not”.
And who is Alexander Abreu?
“A Cuban. Alexander Abreu is a fruit of this country, with all the energy that can be described”.
Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff
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.
Renowned Cuban singer Omara Portuondo released her latest album, "Omara Siempre," which showcases a collection of songs with fellow Cuban artists, in Havana Thursday.
The 87-year-old, best known for her work as a singer in the "Buena Vista Social Club," her powerful voice and her magnetic charisma is widely regarded as the grande dame of Cuban music.
Portuondo told Reuters, she hopes that the international recognition she receives for the album, which features local talents such as Aymee Nuviola, Isaac Delgado, and Alain Perez, would give other Cuban artists a chance to shine.
Portuondo, who won a Grammy Award for her album "Gracias," told Reuters her new collection of songs also has a strong sense of Cuba, and she was happy to add it to her catalog of work.
"This doesn't mean that this is the last thing I do, but I feel very satisfied that people accept my way of saying things, of singing, and all that is a great satisfaction because I represent the culture of my country. And so I am Cuban, and I will die being Cuban," she said.
Nearing 90 and still working, Portuondo shows no signs of slowing down with international showcase performances in support of her album scheduled.
"It's a gift from the very large legacy Omara leave us every day. It's something that exists. It's true. Omara is peerless, her feelings, her way of speaking, interpreting."
Past February 28th, Elena Burke would turn 90 years old. She was (is) one of the greatest Cuban singers of all times, key character of feeling. We approach that huge career…
Those were the years of splendor of feeling, that expression that fed from our deepest musical traditions and also (to a certain degree) of jazz, the music of blacks. The feeling was not just a genre; it was an attitude towards life, a feeling. Among all the singers who defended this genre (who really felt it), a group of stars, creatures of Havana nights, among all those singers who sang and told as if singing were saying and vice versa, among all of them one shone above the rest: Elena Burke.
Many people consider Elena to be the most complete and autochthonous singers of the Cuban song. There is no way of deciding those hierarchies in art; it’s not healthy to do so either. The truth is that Elena was unique. A warm voice, of deep resonances, a singular scenic presence (she went on stage—says a friend of mine who saw her sing in night clubs in the 60’s—and everything else ceased to exist, you could not help but look at her), a very eloquent sensuality when saying…
Elena discovered unsuspected twists to the songs she performed, and not just from the musical point of view (her variations were delicious, she gave them interesting melodic lines, always coherent with the spirit of the song); also in the intentions, in the interpretation. She multiplied the senses, she went beyond the lyrics, she suggested without the need of being explicit.
Good taste, natural good taste that was not attached to the Cuban spice. Funny, she was indeed, vulgar never—I heard her say once in a radio show. It had to do, of course, with her training, by the hand of rigorous teachers; but mainly, with the respect to the public.
She could be hilarious, but also harrowingly dramatic. Her transitions could be sudden and overwhelming. With a unique economy of expressions, moving just the necessary, she was able to recreate an atmosphere.
Mrs. Feeling, no better nickname for her. She sang songs written by the greatest authors in our panorama. Everyone admired her. She had tons of followers; she still has them, 15 years after her death. That voice is saved.
Los Angeles, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) After the announcement in Hollywood of the candidates or nominees in the different categories of actors and movie pictures, the US Recording Academy (formerly the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences or NARAS) mentioned the names of the aspirants to win the Oscar Awards in the musical aspects.
Among the aspirants, one of the names is the one of US female rhythm and blues (R&B), soul and hip-hop performer Mary J. Blige, for the Oscar for Best Original Song, nominated here Tuesday with the song called 'Mighty River', for the film called 'Mudbound'.
Mary J. Blige is accompanied in the competition for the Oscar by US songwriter Sufjan Stevens, with a song called 'Call Me by Your Name' for the movie soundtarck for the film with the same name, and rap singer Common, singing together with Diane Warren with a song called 'Stand Up for Something' composed for the film 'Marshall'.
In the same category as Best Original Song, Kristen Anderson López and Robert López were nominated for their song 'Remember Me', for the animated film 'Coco'; as well as Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who aspire to the win with 'This Is Me', from the feature film 'The Greatest Showman'.
In the category of Best Soundtrack, there is the guitarist of the group Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood, for his orchestrated work for the film 'The Invisible Thread'.
Greeenwood competes against very famous international musicians in this category, such as Hans Zimmer, Alexandre Desplat, John Williams and Carter Burwell.
The 90th edition of the Oscars will be at March 4, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
When is the year's best-selling album not the year's best-selling album? When it's by Taylor Swift.
The star outsold every other artist in the US last year - shifting 1.9 million copies of her fifth record, Reputation, in just seven weeks.
But her decision to withhold it from streaming services until December damaged its chances in the chart of 2017's most popular albums.
That's because 1,500 streams now count as the equivalent of one album sale.
Swift accumulated 280,000 "streaming equivalent albums" in the four weeks Reputation was available on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and other services. But that wasn't enough to put her ahead of Kendrick Lamar and Ed Sheeran.
Sheeran's chart behemoth ÷ (Divide) was the year's most popular album overall, according to Nielsen Music, which compiles the US charts for Billboard magazine.
The star accumulated 2,764,000 "equivalent album units" - a measure which combines pure sales, streaming equivalent albums and track equivalent albums (where 10 individual downloads count as one album).
I met him at PM Record recently and without further ado, with his entire spontaneity he agreed to talk with Cubasi about his projects.
But music was not his first issue: “I’ve just had a baby, it’s my most important project now, he’s called Orun del Río and nicknamed Maceo, and then I am so happy, focused on that”.
After confessing he was a happy father, he commented: “I remain with Interactivo (band), everyone knows it, I’ve just made nine themes very enthusiastic and with much love, really, as if it were a disc of mine for Clave Channel. Recently, I made a job for Eyeife Festival with Suylen Milanés, they are a sort of prayers we use in Ifa, sung on electronic music, they’re sixteen magical prayers.
Also about “Ifa”, the material in which he works with Suylen, he added: “the mere fact of praying them, wherever that vibration reaches, is like blessing that place, I think it is a way of harmonizing any place, based on our African roots and the roots of the world as well, because in the end, life began in Africa.
In his versatility, Francis is not afraid to get involved in any project, as long as it fulfills a truth proven for him: “We are Cubans, whatever the genre we use and our bases are African and we should not forget that at all, if the basis of that is not in a place, we cannot be there either, I, at least, won’t be….”
There are no limits of genres for this creator, it’s just music: “I love music, I think you can name music anyway, but I do that inherently, I cannot stop doing that, I do not know how to stop doing it…
And in such diversity, what is the connecting thread: “Cuba, it seems a short answer, but that’s it".
Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff