Classical Music and Raves in Havana

Irina Pino

Djoy of Cuba and the Havana Symphony Orchestra in the Classica Rave Fiesta.

HAVANA TIMES — Can one dance to classical music? That was the question posed by Maestro Leo Brower, director of the Les Voix Humaines Festival, to promote the Havana Classical Rave performance held at Havana’s Fabrica de Arte Cubano days ago.

This peculiar rave tried to tear down barriers between music genres, in this case those that surround classical music, and to make different pieces danceable. The experiment was aimed at a daring audience, from a totally new perspective: the idea, according to Leo Brower, that one can move one’s body, dance, kiss and hold one’s partner tightly – even make romantic declarations, and thus break traditional limits – while listening what has hitherto been considered solemn, passive music.

In raves, DJs experiment by merging different genres, including pop, disco, rock, electronic and jazz music. This is commonly referred to as “rave music,” and the most widely used genres are jungle, trance, hands, techno, hardcore and house, among others.

For many hours, music and light displays are combined with smoke and shrill sounds.

The audience in the Fabrica de Arte Cubano.

Raves began in England in the 1950s and then became popular in the United States. They often lasted the entire night and into the early morning and were commonly held in outdoor venues, such as stadiums and abandoned warehouses. They were a predominantly working class phenomenon associated with drug use. The electronic music, unchoreographed dances, break dancing and bohemian attitudes gave the young the freedom to exhibit joyful and carefree attitudes. After a hiatus, they reemerged in the 80s, with DJs as hosts.

In my personal opinion, classical music remains far purer if one listens to it reflectively. It’s not a question of divesting it of emotion, but of feeling better inside. This divine music envelops us in a dreamlike state that soothes the soul.

One can also create with it. Painters and writers play it while working. By wedding creativity with classical music, we may begin to look at our work as eternal, and see it shine within ourselves.