Omara Portuondo Sings to Havana

Havana, Jul 7 (Prensa Latina) The diva of the Buena Vista Social Club, Omara Portuondo, will give a concert today on Salud Street to celebrate Havana's 500th anniversary.

The main course of the concert will be her new album 'Omara Siempre' (Omara Always), recorded by Cuba's EGREM company and released in May.

Portuondo, also known as the Bride of Feeling, will show her musical vitality, as even at the age of 87, she continues to sing great melodies and defend the roots of Cuban music.

The album contains 11 tracks by several Cuban and foreign composers, and compiles a well-known repertoire consisting of songs like 'Y Tal Vez' (Perhaps), by Juan Formell; 'Sabanas Blancas' (White Sheets), by Gerardo Alfonso; and 'Yo Vengo a Ofrecer Mi Corazon' (I Come to Offer my Heart), by the Argentinean musician Fito Paez.

Instrumentalists, soloists and well-known groups, such as the rumba band Osain del Monte, pianist Orlando Vistel, Argentinean musician Rodrigo Sosa and singer Beatriz Marquez, who accompanies her in one of the songs, will join Portuondo.

'Omara Siempre' was produced and arranged by Alain Perez, who was proud of collaborating with the artist and learning from her experience that always surprises for her versatility when singing different genres.

Winner of the National Music Award in 2006, Portuondo also won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Tropical Album in 2009 for 'Gracias' (Thanks).

  • Published in Culture

JetBlue adds direct flights from Boston to Cuba

JetBlue is adding direct service from Boston’s Logan International Airport to Cuba.

Starting Nov. 10, 2018, JetBlue will offer direct service between Logan and Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

JetBlue will be the only airline offer nonstop service between New England and Cuba.

JetBlue currently offers service to Cuba from New York, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel leads Havana support group

Havana, June 25 (RHC)-- Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel participated in a meeting of the national leadership group over the weekend, established to support the capital, emphasizing that local residents must participate in the resolution of problems.

Necessary measures were adopted to address shortfalls in production and distribution of soy yogurt, beer, wheat and corn flour, salt, pasta and construction materials.

Addressing another sensitive issue, Díaz-Canel stressed that unscrupulous individuals must not be allowed to take advantage of government programs established to support Cuban families in the repair and construction of homes.

Also announced during the meeting were plans for summer recreational activities in Havana, while a report was presented on progress being made in repairing facilities in the city, as part of preparations for its 500th anniversary next year.

Edited by Ed Newma

  • Published in Cuba

Gilberto Santa Rosa Will Perform in Cuban Capital

Havana, Jun 21 (Prensa Latina) Puerto Rican salsa singer Gilberto Santa Rosa will give a free concert in Havana on July 16 along with prestigious international performers, the event's organizers confirmed to Prensa Latina today.

The open-air performance in the Cuban city will take place on that Monday night in the Havana boardwalk areas to present La Piragua with a luxury show with the Cuban musician Adalberto Alvarez, who will perform for the first time in real time.

Prior to the meeting in Havana, Santa Rosa will participate at the Varadero resort in the Josone Jazz & Son festival, from July 12 to 15.

The Puerto Rican singer joins other of his compatriots, as part of the massive concerts that several artists have performed in Cuba in recent years.

The artistic director of the event will be Cuban salsa singer Isaac Delgado, as well as the sponsorship of the island's Recordings and Music Editions Company.

Genres such as son, timba and jazz will be the highlight of the event, with performances by Septeto Santiaguero, Ernan Lopez-Nussa, Yissy Garcia, and Gente de Zona, the popular urban music duo that will perform on June 26th with the Italian Laura Pausini.

In statements to Prensa Latina, members of the group composed by Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom said this is a unique concert in Havana where Pausini, as a guest, will perform with the Cuban duo one of the best-listened hits of 2018, Nadie ha dicho(nobody said so), which exceeded 25 million views on YouTube.

  • Published in Culture

Exhibition of Japanese Contemporary Art Inaugurated in Havana

An exhibition entitled “Going Away Closer” of Cuban and Japanese artists will be inaugurated on Friday afternoon at the Wilfredo Lam Contemporary Art Center in Havana

The work of young Japanese artists will be exhibited like Takahiro Iwasaki, Natsunosuke Mise, Tadasu Takamine, Futoshi Miyagi, Yuko Mohri, kasutomo Tashiro and Atsuko Mochida.

The four Cuban artists are Glenda Leon, Reynier Lyva, Leandro Feal and Jose Manuel Mesias.

The assembly process lasted two years where Japanese Yumiko Okada and Hiroyuki Hattori and Cuban Abel Gonzalez and Blanca Victoria Lopez worked together.

The key work within the concept is Distance, a representation of the temporary space dimension that exists between both nations, in addition to its different cultures; in a demonstration that included installations, photography, painting and performance; and will be presented in Tokyo next July.

This cooperation process between both countries in the cultural sector will extend to other manifestations like dance.

According to the National Arts Council, this is the moment to offer the Cuban people a reference of contemporary art of other nations in order for the national scene to increase its exchange with other realities. (ACN)

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SUMMARY 2017: Scenic Arts, the Big Show

A year of finished anniversaries, of national celebrations, of big shows. We summarize what happened in the scenic arts in 2017.

On January 22nd, the actress and directress Fátima Patterson was awarded with the National Prize for Theater 2017. Born in Santiago de Cuba in 1951, she is the founder of Macubá, one of the most relevant theater groups. She is also an essential figure within the art of scenic orality. The National Prize for Theater acknowledged her commitment with the development of scenic arts in the eastern region, where Fátima Patterson is an unquestionable beacon.

The choreographer and director of the National Folkloric Group of Cuba, Manolo Micler won the National Prize for Dance 2017. The dancer, professor and choreographer outstand for his career, merits and distinctive creations for the Cuban scene. Director of the National Folkloric Group of Cuba, he has been known for his perseverance, hard work, and creative vocation.

The National Folkloric Group in fact celebrated its 55th anniversary with several presentations in Havana. Another important Cuban company, the Ballet of Camagüey, reached in December its 50th anniversary. A long season had as main scenario the Principal Theater of Camagüey, with the participation of several companies, like that of Rosario Cárdenas, the Contemporary Ballet of Camagüey and the Folkloric Ballet of that city.

The National Ballet of Cuba remembered the centenary of its founding choreographer: Alberto Alonso. This year also turned 60 years old the premiere of the ballet Carmen, the most outstanding work of the national choreography. To celebrate the anniversary, the company ran by Alicia Alonso offered a season of that ballet, where young dancers from the company made their debut.

The Contemporary Dance of Cuba finished this year at the Great Theater of Havana Alicia Alonso one of its greatest shows: Carmina Burana, choreography of George Céspedes, in a show accompanied by the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba and the National Choir. This was unquestionably one of the greatest events of the year.

During the summer, the National Circus celebrated the International Festival Circuba which has become the most significant in the region. Later in the year, some of the participants gave a tour through almost all Cuban provinces which became one of the main options for the summer.

In October 20-29 took place one of the most important encounters in the scenic arts in Cuba: The International Theater Festival of Havana, under the slogan Theater, Society, Resistance. Artists and shows from over a dozen of countries met in the theaters of Havana. Besides the scenic proposals, there was an important theoretical program. The main companies of Cuba offered their most recent plays.

The Aquelarre Humor Festival; Grand Prix Vladimir Malakov, in Holguín; the season Para Bailar en Casa del Trompo, in Santa Clara; Festival of Young Theater; next to the premieres of many of our companies marked an intense itinerary for scenic arts in 2017.

  • Published in Culture

Havana, Same as Always, in its 498 Years

Havana walks in a pilgrimage toward its origins on November 16th, when it celebrates the 498th anniversary of its foundation, while the monumental conservation and restoration work in its eldest side continues.

In many ways the date will be celebrated in the different cultural institutions under the City Historian Office.

On Wednesday November 15th, starting 10 A.M. it will take place the traditional ceremony for the 498 years of the establishment of San Cristóbal de la Habana village in the former Carenas Harbor, right on the eve of its foundation date.

The journey will begin at the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales and will reach the Templete, place that marks the foundational spot of Cuba’s capital. There, the Historian of the City, Doctor Eusebio Leal Spengler, will speak of Havana in its new anniversary.

And on Thursday November 16th, Havana residents and visitors will return to the Templete, to go around the foundational Ceiba tree, as it’s tradition, thus remembering a new anniversary of an event, mysterious until today that should have happened on such a day, but of year 1519.

Museums and cultural institutions of the Havana City Historian Office will also join the celebration, with different proposals.

All though November, from Thursday to Sundays, in the mornings, the Quinta de los Molinos organizes the calls to the winter Routes, traveled through that great garden with just visiting the first Butterfly House of Cuba and other attracting themes of this ecological park.

On the other hand, the Casa de la Obra Pía on Tuesday November 14th, in the afternoon, a Habano Cigar Gathering, organized by the Museum of Tobacco and dedicated to two personalities linked to Havana and cigars: Francesco Minettif and José Casteleiro. While, on Wednesday 15th, also in the afternoon, it will be inaugurated at the Government Palace, the exhibition “Landmarks for the 498th Anniversary of the City.”

The exhibition proposes a journey through the history of Havana using patrimonial pieces on Cuba’s first coinage system, the first coins made in the former village, the medals of the city and the Havana lottery.

According to sources from the Direction of Cultural Administration of the Havana City Historian Office, on November 16th, in the morning, in the Public Library Rubén Martínez Villena will take place the awarding ceremony of the competition “The Giraldilla Wants to Know”. AND for 2:00 p.m., the House of Chinese Arts and Traditions will organize the performance “Painting my City”, with students from the plastic arts workshop from the School for Special Needs Adelaida Piñera.

On November 15th and 16th, starting at 8:00 p.m. will be exhibited on the walls of Real Fuerza Castle Museum, located around the Armas Square, the projection of nearly a hundred pictures of historical postcards of Havana dating 1900-1930. The images have been taken of the book “Havana Revisited. An architectural inheritance”, of the photographer and art historian Cathryn Griffith.

Likewise, several exhibitions are announced, regarding this celebration, in different cultural institutions of the City Historian Office, among them, the House of Africa, the Numismatic Museum and the Museum of Colonial Art.

Since 1982, the historical center of Old Havana and its fortifications were declared by UNESCO, Cultural Patrimony of Humanity. A lot it has been done since then by the City Historian Office, lead by Doctor Eusebio Leal, and other Cuban institutions, for the conservation and restoration of the entire historical and cultural legacy of the city.

This whole monumental work has been developed from a global and multiple vision of restoration. This has allowed to not only to face the whole work from a point of view not only cultural, archaeological, and patrimonial, but also social. And today Cuba shows a viable and sustainable experience, with possible forms of applicability and/or adaptation to different cities of the World Patrimony.

Special attractions in the historical center of Old Havana are the multiple museums; the network of tradition bazaars that reproduce flourishing trade of Havana from the XVIII and XIX centuries; its gallery-workshops where famous plastic contemporary Cuban artists create and exhibit their works; the concert rooms, specialized in coral, chamber and ancient music; the squares that rekindle the vitality of old.

Hence, Havana, the capital of all Cubans, reaches its 498th anniversary, with a city that looks to its past, proud of its present, a city that received the condition of Wonder City of the World.

  • Published in Specials

U.S. and the hearing loss of its diplomats in Havana

Is it true that Cuba-United States relations remain?

That's what repeated statements from “anonymous sources” of the Department of State ascertain and, of course, it’s the firm political will the Cuban government has stated many times, not only to keep them, but to improve them as well beyond the natural discrepancies, stressing the matters of common interest based on mutual respect, sovereignty and self-determination of both parties. But, if one follows the facts of the last months and weeks, and partly the words, by the minute it would seem that the course Washington has given to this issue, if it does not seek to break the relations reestablished on December 17, 2014, at least it seeks to reduce them to a mere formalism, almost nothing.

Let’s approach the latest events of this hypoacoustic saga? On September 29, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced a substantial withdrawal of the staff of its embassy in Havana and said that all relatives would be repatriated. He justified the move by claiming that “attacks” have been perpetrated against officials of the US government in Cuba, which have affected their health. The Cuban government, besides being informed very late by the American side over those alleged “attacks” and health problems of its diplomatic staff in Cuba, has hardly received details of importance as to make a judgment on them.

Days later, on October 3, the US government, in another unjustified action, decided that 15 Cuban embassy officials had to leave the American territory, on the basis of “the reduction of its diplomatic staff in Havana and that Havana hadn’t made the necessary steps to prevent “attacks” against them”. The Cuban Foreign Ministry protested and termed this decision groundless and unacceptable, as well as the pretext that Cuba did not take appropriate measures to prevent those alleged incidents.

Regarding the steps made by Havana, we will talk later, but it’s nonsense to justify the expulsion of the Cuban personnel by the fact that Washington decided to withdraw part of its staff. Previously, on May 23, two Cuban diplomats were ordered to leave Washington "in a sudden, inappropriate and unthinking manner", as was described by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which argued the absence of evidence on what Washington called incidents at that time and starting last Friday it calls attacks. The ongoing investigation agreed between the two countries had hardly progressed due to US reluctance to comply with its part and Cuba could not, therefore, be guilty of anything.

At the meeting held –at Cuba’s request– between Tillerson and Cuban FM Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, the latter warned him not to make quick decisions with unfounded evidences, urged him not to politicize the issue and reiterated the request of effective cooperation of the US authorities to clear up the events and conclude the investigation.

Now, it is necessary to point out that Cuba was not informed by the American side until February 2017

about the alleged incidents against the officials of its diplomatic mission in Havana and their relatives occurred since November 2016, which caused them hearing loss, dizziness and other symptoms. Nevertheless, the Cuban government stepped in immediately and at the suggestion of President Raúl Castro it began an investigation whose seriousness and professionalism have been acknowledged by the three groups of experts from US agencies that the Cuban government has allowed to visit the island. Cuba also created an expert committee composed of doctors, scientists and police chiefs.

As colleague Rosa Miriam Elizalde has asked, have the victims of the strange sonic attack in Cuba been examined by physicians from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center?, Will there exist any report on the case from the National Institute of Health? This is not a useless question, because they might have been examined by doctors chosen at University of Miami by senator and failed presidential candidate Marcos Rubio. As it’s well known, Rubio has found a mine to refloat himself political and financially in the war against Cuba and Venezuela. Everything can happen in that country today.

Twitter:@aguerraguerra

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi TranslationStaff



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