Online Concerts and Cuba

By Nike

A group that plays Early Music.

HAVANA TIMES – Every day, I hear on the radio or the TV that a Cuban musician gave or is going to give a concert online. I think this is great and I applaud them. Artists have the need to create and share their creations with an audience.

I regularly attend concerts and I follow many Cuban artists. However, I have no way of accessing these online concerts, and I have the impression they are aware that it is pretty much impossible for their audience here on the island to see them or hear them when they perform on digital platforms.

I don’t have a single friend or acquaintance in Cuba who can tell me that they’ve seen or heard an online concert by a Cuban musician.

This forces me to ask who exactly our artists are playing their concerts for. I like that our musicians are being seen by the entire world, but it bothers me that we Cubans can’t enjoy them and that we have to settle for watching these concerts on TV (in the best of cases), which aren’t broadcast all too often.

I have spoken about this with a few people and I’m stunned by how resigned they are in their acceptance of this. Well, I won’t resign and with the opportunity HT gives me here with this space, I’d like to make it clear that I believe it’s disrespectful towards us. Starting with our musicians and the spaces that promote them, it would be better if they didn’t announce concerts we can’t see, knowing that for anyone living abroad it is quite easy.

It’s hard to understand this if you haven’t lived in Cuba. But I do live here, where the same people taking away my right to enjoy my country’s culture firsthand also live.

CMBF (a classical music station), the Felix Varela chair and headquarters of sacred music in Cuba, located in Old Havana and the Estudio 9 program, hosted by Enrique Perez Jaime, took the initiative to broadcast the 2nd edition of the Musica Nova Cuban church music festival – which had musicians and composers perform including the maestro Juan Piñera, Jose Salmentero to name a few – in five of its programs.

For five days, I was able to enjoy music and conferences between 2 and 4 PM, which I was very grateful to the CMBF radio station for as a listener and fan of this music. The station also sent links on WhatsApp so people could access their videos.

I have heard that the Internet holds all the good and evil in the world. I can say the same about books, ever since the press was invented. And just like books, I’d like to say that the Internet is neither good nor bad, but useful and much-needed.

Read more from Nike’s diary here.

One thought on “Online Concerts and Cuba

  • HotHouse in Chicago has presented several major online concerts in the last year featuring some 200 Cuban musicians living in Cuba currently as well as many now residing outside the country. These concerts were co-produced with our Cuban partners, Raul Cuza, The Institut of Cuban Music and the Institut of Cuban Culture. People may see the archived concerts on our You Tube Channel HotHouseGlobal. The Concert for Cuba ( July 2020) was presented jointly with the above-named partners and others, and was viewed by 200,000 people around the world and additionally broadcast on Cuban national television. Total viewership exceeded 10 Million people. The “HotHouse meets Havana”/ Jazz Plaza event in January, similarly had an astounding number of viewers world wide and was also broadcast on Cuban National television. Altogether some 70 Cuban musical ensembles, Cuban doctors, and other prominent cultural voices have been part of this important cultural exchange work. Other events featuring Silvio Rodriguez was produced and streamed in September. The author of this article will now have an opportunity to better understand the work being done in this regard if he was not aware previously

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