HAVANA TIMES, February 20 — Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes announced yesterday that he will play two benefit concerts this coming July in Dublin to help boost cultural exchange between Cuba and Ireland. Chucho is fresh off his highly acclaimed performance at Havana’s Jazz Plaza 2009, where he presented his new band Akokan Ire.
Chucho spoke Thursday with visiting Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin at the Cuban Ministry of Culture’s national musical instrument repair shop located in Central Havana. The workshop receives support from an Irish NGO called “Una Corda” (One chord) that carries out actions towards the repair and tuning of pianos at Cuban art schools.
Foreign Minister Martin praised the initiative and said he looked forward to Valdes’ trip to the Irish capital. Chucho will be presenting his new band to the Irish public.
In May 2006 an Irish piano tuner, Ciaran Ryan, visited Cuba as part of an international piano tuner’s brigade. The trip proved to be the beginning of a new Irish-Cuba connection, wrote Bernie Dwyer in December about the project.
To read Dwyer’s full story on the Una Corda project and the increasing cultural exchange between Ireland and Cuba on the project click on: Irish-Cuba Connection over Pianos
For the story and photos of Chucho Valdes’ new band Akokan Ire see:Chucho Valdes Presents New Band