Cuban Duo Gente de Zona Announces Launching New Album

Cuban singers Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom, members of urban music duo Gente de Zona, announced the eve their new phonogram will come out on May 24.

Under the title "Otra cosa"  (Something Else), the album features the musical production of Malcom himself, along with Angel Arce, Alejandro Arce and Motiff.

Cuban and foreign guests collaborated in the phonogram's realization, such as Franco de Vita, Mau and Ricky, Gustavo Lima, Kelvis Ochoa, Gilberto Santa Rosa, El Chacal, El Micha, Silvestre Dangond, Farina, Ana Mena, Zion and Lennox, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Pancho Amat.

In statements to local media, Malcom said that the album will reach all digital platforms after two years of preparation, with a varied musical proposal without being far away from the group's style and identity.

According to the singers, Otra Cosa, is also a statement of how their sound is defined worldwide, by the mixture of Cuban and Caribbean rhythms.

The first advance of this album was heard in March under the title "El mentiroso" (Liar), featuring Colombian Dangond.


  • Published in Culture

Available in iTunes New Album by Cuban Singer Isaac Delgado

Recorded in New York and Havana, the new album by Cuban singer Isaac Delgado is now available in the iTunes digital store and will reach the rest of the Internet platforms on May 24.

Under the title of Rain and Fire, the album is composed of 11 songs, mostly under the signature of the binomial Isaac / Jesus Cruz 'Jesusín' and is considered a statement of principles of the artist for the excellence of the compositions, lyrics, arrangements and performance.

According to the official note of the Cuban record label EGREM, (Company of Recordings and Musical Editions), the phonogram included the general production of Delgado, the musical direction of Yusef Díaz and the collaborations of Alexander Abreu, Pedrito Martínez, César López, Samuel Formell, Alain Pérez and Gilberto Santa Rosa.

According to the singer, he explained Rain and Fire is ´a record of love with the aroma of feeling, bolero, son, bossa nova, guaracha and rumba.'

The release of the album will be accompanied by a concert, which will take place on May 25 at El Sauce Cultural Center in this capital, as well as the sale in virtual stores.

Likewise, the video clip of the song El que siempre soñó, recently recorded with Santa Rosa, made by Asiel Babastro and produced by EGREM, TROPIX Media & Entertainment, Cuba Ron and the Provincial Department of Culture, will be released. (PL)

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Cuban National Ballet Schedules Projects with US Companies

New York, May 14 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban National Ballet (BNC) is scheduling on Tuesday new projects and collaborations with prestigious U.S. companies such as American Ballet Theater (ABT) and New York City Ballet (NYCB).

BNC artistic deputy director Viengsay Valdes told Prensa Latina that along with those American ballet groups, a grand gala is being prepared to pay homage to Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso in 2020 in Havana.

During her recent visit to New York City, Valdes met with ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie, and the executive director of that company, Kara Medoff Barnet.

The Cuban prima ballerina attended an ABT performance where a version of a 19th-century piece was presented.

Last weekend, Valdes attended many NYCB performances at David Koch Theater, of Lincoln Center, and went to a performance of the Mark Morris Dance Group, at Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Upon her return to Cuba on Tuesday, Valdes will begin to prepare a season of the BNC with 'new proposals and challenges for our dancers.'

Valdes, recognized as one of the leading figures of the Cuban ballet nowadays, has been guest artist of the Washington Ballet, of United States; the Ballet Concerto de Puerto Rico; the Joburg Ballet of South Africa; Bolshoi Ballet and  Mariinski Ballet, of Russia, among other companies.

Valdes have been chosen among the 100 best dancers in the world in the 2010-2011 season by the prestigious magazine Dance Europe, and has taken her art to stages of the five continents.

Since January 22, she became the artistic deputy director of the company, directed by legendary Alicia Alonso.

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When Washington banned to sell medicines and food to Cuba

Over half a century ago and until today, the US government suspended those transactions with Havana.

It happened on May 14, 1964, and the decision stirred up harsh criticisms even from humanitarian and learned sectors of that country.

Perhaps, the best synthesis of what was then written on that respect came from famous The New York Times newspaper.

It was published the following morning reflecting the concern of important sectors of the US society in the face of the new Cuba policy.

Using an unusually harsh language, The Times voiced alarm at the decision to extend the blockade to medicines and food.

Disclosed by the Associated Press (AP), the text of that editorial also said: “The complexity of U.S. policy towards Cuba has been demonstrated by two facts these days:

The decision to restrict its medicine and food sales to Cuba and its severe reprimand against young exiles who attacked a Cuban port and issued a triumphant statement in Miami”.

The New York Times continued to assert:

“Food and medicines were until today the only goods that could be shipped to Cuba without permission from the Government.

Now, specific licenses will be needed, clearly to reduce shipments.

Then, it pronounced itself: This is not the way to win the cold war against Cuba, nor is it the way to show the world the image of a humanitarian United States as a magnanimous country.

Immediately after, The Times wisely warned:

“United States will win nothing making Cubans starve more, nor will it win friends in Cuba making them suffer for the lack of medicines”.

55 years after that event, life absolutely sides with the very influential newspaper of New York.

Translated Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

My songs express political commitment to just causes

Singer-songwriter Gerardo Alfonso, author of “Sábanas Blancas” and “Son los sueños” talks about his music and solidarity work.

The work of singer-songwriter Gerardo Alfonso, beyond music, has also been to accompany the struggle of solidarity with Cuba organizations in different parts of the world, delivering the message of the Cuban Revolution’s resistance in the face of imperialism, the common enemy of humanity.

Speaking to the artist, he noted that his songs express a political commitment to just causes defended around the world. His music was present in the struggle for the return of Elián González in 2000, kidnapped in Miami; and during the battle for the return of the Five Cuban Heroes incarcerated for more than 15 years in the U.S.

“I have worked with solidarity groups since the 1980s, especially with Latin American movements. In the 90s, I traveled to Italy several times, invited by the Communist Refoundation organization, and I performed concerts in defense of the Cuban Revolution.

“In the following years I participated in different acts and mobilizations against the blockade, in front of the United States Embassy in Berlin. Also to collect donations for Cuba following the occurrence of extreme weather events. I did the same work in Belgium, France. and several Latin American countries. I attended the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and another similar event in Cancun, Mexico. I have been invited on several occasions to the fair organized by newspaper L'Humanité, organ of the French Communist Party.

“My contribution is my singing. I think that art contributes to the struggles against injustice in the world. Songs alone do not change ways of thinking, or circumstances, but help to raise awareness of ideas to improve and win battles in society.”

We just heard you play a song, the lyrics of which could relate to the miserable Helms-Burton Act. How did it come about?

I composed that song in 2018, it’s called “Qué le quiten lo bailado a otro,” and with it I intend to demand my legitimate right and claim that this island belongs to me, as well as to all Cubans. I was inspired by the statements of a grandson of gangster Meyer Lansky.

Today, the U.S. administration, presided by Donald Trump, is encouraging the filing of property claims, many of them acquired in dirty dealings supported by puppet governments before the triumph of the Revolution.

In recent days, claims have been made by alleged owners of the port of Santiago de Cuba. To them, we Cubans say they cannot claim what is the common property of the people.

I was born in Cuba and I grew up in Havana. My family, my friends and my cultural work are from this land and nobody can take that from me.

Art has the quality of captivating people’s sentiments with its discourse. I call it polysemy. When composing a song, I refer to a topic that can be used in another historical moment, other circumstances or with different groups of people, and that is why I think that song has a vitality and validity.

Do you think “Sábanas Blancas” dedicated to Havana, and “Son los sueños” are still considered anthems?

People’s reaction to those songs really moves me. When I arrive at an activity with my guitar or with my group, within 15 minutes, the audience always requests “Sábanas Blancas,” but when I sing the song I look at them, and people nearby also pay attention to me.

One day I sang in Pabellón Cuba, and on nearby 21st Street some workers on scaffolding were painting a building. When I played the first chords and said “Havana…,” those workers stopped their work to listen to me. Iconic melodies spark that behavior.

The song “Son los sueños” was born in November 1996. It resisted all the transformations of history and has survived the times, enjoying a love that the people profess. On October 8, 2017, I was in Santa Cruz Department, Bolivia, precisely where Che was killed. There is a wall there full of slogans and messages written by those who visit.

That day, the Cuban forensic doctor who directed the investigations to identify Che’s remains, Jorge González Pérez, was the speaker at an act. I heard him and felt in that environment that Che was watching us. Then, I asked to sing my song dedicated to that great man. I don’t think I have ever sung it with such emotion as that which overwhelmed me when I was there. I think those are the lasting effects of the song. It has a spirituality that is difficult to describe.

In your songs you state that you are going to die in Cuba. Why?

In the early 90’s I traveled through Italy. It was a moment of great uncertainty for Cubans because a never-before experienced economic crisis ensued. I could have stayed to live in any country, to be more comfortable. But singing at solidarity events reinforced my convictions.

First, because the press and communications messages in capitalist societies lie with respect to Cuba. In addition, they pour scorn on our conquests with words like dictatorship, lack of freedom, or others that are more present in those societies than in ours.

What greater dictatorship than that of consumption? Its limit is in the money you can accumulate in your pocket. There are many goods that make life more comfortable, but not all have access to them. I decided on that artistic tour through Italy that I would live in Cuba, and that it is only here that I want to die.

Are you the man you dreamed of being?

Not yet. There are things that I would have liked to do that I have not yet achieved. I still have a lot to write and say in my songs. But I cannot scorn what life has given me. A song like “Sábanas Blancas” makes any artist proud. It penetrates the sentiment of Cubans, wherever they are and of any age. That’s my great privilege, and for that I feel very happy. Although I am eternally dissatisfied.


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Vassily Ivanchuk wins Capablanca Memorial for an eighth time!

After scoring a clutch victory over Adhiban, Vassily Ivanchuk won his eighth Capablanca Memorial title on Monday night. He had arrived in the final round tied in first with David Antón, but the latter could not convert a rook endgame a pawn up against Carlos Albornoz, thus allowing the Ukrainian to claim clear first. Samuel Sevian also won in round ten and caught up with Antón on 6½ points. | Photo: Abel Rojas / Mi Columna Deportiva

The king of Havana

On March 18th, Vassily Ivanchuk turned 50, and what better way to celebrate than to travel down to Havana to claim his eighth title at the Capablanca Memorial! Since 2005, the Ukrainian ace participated ten times at the traditional tournament. Only in 2014, he had a bad time on the Caribbean island, finishing last after scoring 4 out of 10; in 2017, he got second place (on 5½/10) behind Sasikiran.

It was all victories for Chuky otherwise. All his triumphs in Cuba were achieved in double round robin events, except the one he got in 2007, when the organizers put together a ten-player single round robin — back then, Ivanchuk finished two points ahead of Leinier Dominguez and Vugar Gashimov, after scoring six wins and drawing the rest to end up with an impressive 2877 rating performance.

His '+4' this year netted him 14 rating points, which allowed him to climb 21 places in the live ratings list, leaving him another good performance away from returning to the 2700 club. 

Suspense in the end

After five rounds, Samuel Sevian was sharing first place with the eventual champion, but the youngster from the United States faltered in the very next round, when he was defeated by Carlos Albornoz in the only game that favoured either of the local representatives. Ivanchuk was already the sole leader thanks to his draw with Antón, but he went on to widen the gap with a win over Yuri González in round seven. 

Carlos Albornoz, Samuel Sevian

Albornoz upset Sevian | Photo: Abel Rojas / Mi Columna Deportiva

In round eight, Antón took down Vidal, while Ivanchuk got the better of Albornoz, thus securing a 4 out of 4 against the locals. This resulted in the Ukrainian getting a one-point advantage over the Spaniard with only two rounds to go. But the tides turned in the penultimate day of action...

First, Sevian took down the leader with the white pieces. The players dived into a line of the Sicilian that is not often seen among the elite. White ended up gaining space in the centre before going into a rook endgame with six pawns per side.

Meanwhile, Antón made the most of an early opening advantage against Adhiban. The Indian grandmaster found himself stuck with a bad bishop and, after the time control, decided he needed to give up a piece to get some chance of surviving. 

It was not a good event for Adhiban | Photo: Abel Rojas / Mi Columna Deportiva

So, before the final round, Ivanchuk and Antón were tied on 6 points, while Sevian was lurking a half-point behind. Vassily and David had the white pieces, while Samuel was Black against González. Ivanchuk was a pawn up against Adhiban, but 'The Beast' had a strong passer on the c-file and the pair of bishops; Antón was also a pawn up, but in a rook endgame with 4v3 against Albornoz; while Sevian got a clear advantage during time pressure in an endgame with rook and knight v rook and bishop.

Shortly afterwards, Sevian scored his last full point, while Antón kept trying to convert the rook endgame a pawn up against Albornoz. In the end, the Cuban grandmaster defended precisely and the draw was signed after 79 moves. Ivanchuk was the champion once again!

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Ivanchuk Vassily 7,0 0,0
2 Sevian Samuel 6,5 1,0
3 Anton Guijarro David 6,5 1,0
4 Adhiban B. 3,5 1,5
5 Albornoz Cabrera Carlos Daniel 3,5 0,5
6 Gonzalez Vidal Yuri 3,0 0,0
  • Published in Sports

Cuba makes history with its first Little League champion, takes first step toward making World Series

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT-Cuba has its first Little League Baseball champion.

A team from Havana defeated Pinar-del-Rio, 18-1, to advance to the Caribbean regional tournament in Curacao July 13-20. This is the first year Cuba has had chartered Little Leagues.

Havana won out over 16 teams in the Cuban national tournament that was held following the conclusion of the regular season in that country.

Little League President and DEP Stephen D. Keener tweeted: “Congratulations to the Havana kids and coaches…history made today.

“First Cuban champions to earn a mid-July trip to Curacao for the Caribbean Regional tournament with dreams of Williamsport and the Little League World Series.”

The tournament was held now to give Little League time to make the needed preparations to get the Cubans to Curacao, spokesman Kevin Fountain said.

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Cuba and Ecuador Celebrate Migration Talks Round

The 9th round of Migration Talks between Cuba and Ecuador is being held on Monday in this capital, the Foreign Ministry reported in its website.

The meeting will end Tuesday and is an important moment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in migration matters, in order to guarantee a regular, orderly and safe migration flow between both countries.

During the meeting, it also seeks to make a more effective confrontation to irregular migration and the fight against illegal trafficking of migrants, human trafficking and other related crimes, the report adds.

The Cuban delegation is headed by the Cuban deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Ana Teresita González, while the Ecuadorian side is headed by Deputy Minister of Human Mobility, Santiago Chavez.

  • Published in Cuba
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