President Obama’s visit to Cuba is followed by that of some cultural heavyweights: The Rolling Stones are pitching up in Havana to play a free outdoor concert, completing a historic week on the island where rock was once associated with the enemy.
More News and Videos:
http://www.dw.com/en/program/dw-news/s-3232-9798 Video Rating: / 5
From The Rolling Stones To WiFi, Change is Coming to Cuba
The British band was the music of cultural and political protest during the 1960s, while Fidel Castro was eliminating capitalism, nationalizing land and businesses, ending personal freedom and banning rock 'n roll. 50 years later, on that warm night at … Read more on AL.com
Courtesy of Malick Sidibe and Jack Shainman Gallery
Mali's Culture Minister, Ndeye Ramatoulai Diallo, says Sidibe was a national treasure and an important part of their cultural heritage, whose loss the entire country is mourning. Nicknamed "L'Oeil de Bamako" … People loved to come to Sidibe's studio … Read more on WFDD
In Miami, Cuban Culture, No Passport Required
And that culture is bountiful. Cuba brought us the cha-cha, the Cuban son and the mambo (all three musical forms as well as dance styles), literary figures like José Lezama Lima, Dulce María Loynaz and, more recently, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez and Leonardo … Read more on New York Times
Photos: Why Everyone In Mali Wanted To Pose For The Late, Great Sidibe
People loved to come to Sidibe's studio to show off their treasures — from fashionable garb to a beautiful smile. Courtesy of Malick Sidibe and … Admirers praise Sidibe for showing a different face of Africa, recording a moment in Mali's history and … Read more on WUTC
Cuba’s revolutionary regime and the Rolling Stones have one thing in common: unexpected longevity.
The left-wing government has defied expectations by outlasting the Soviet Union, its former backer, by decades. The Rolling Stones, a 54-year-old unruly rock ‘n’ roll act, still wow crowds with impressive vim for septuagenarians.
These two worlds collide in Havana, Cuba’s capital, on Friday, with the British band’s debut there. The show takes place against a backdrop of slowly improving relations between the US and Cuba, former Cold War enemies.
“What strikes me is the longevity of these guys,” Bill Janovitz, author of Rocks Off, a book about the Stones, told Al Jazeera.
“They’re well into their 70s, beyond retirement age for most people. Not only are they still out there, but they’re not taking the easy route. They’re inserting themselves into a worldwide political conversation.”
Sir Mick Jagger, the band’s raucous front man, was a schoolboy in 1953, when Fidel and Raul Castro began a rebellion that eventually deposed the Caribbean Island’s austere US-backed government and launched socialist reforms.
In 1962, when the Stones formed in London, the United States imposed a full trade embargo on Cuba and the world approached nuclear Armageddon as Moscow and Washington rowed over Soviet missiles on the island. Decades of animosity ensued.
This week’s visit of President Barack Obama continued a US-Cuba detente that began 15 months ago and has seen Washington ease restrictions by opening up flights and some trade to an island only 145km off Florida’s coast.
As Obama toured Havana, a crew of 140 Stones employees and some 80 Cubans were setting the stage at the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana sports complex to welcome hundreds of thousands of fans to the show, called the Concert for Amity.
Speaking with reporters, the band’s production manager Dale “Opie” Skjerseth, joked that Obama was their “opening act”.
The gig was a late addition to the group’s Latin American tour, which kicked off last month in Santiago, Chile. Cubans dodge the 0 ticket prices paid elsewhere thanks to free entry, on a first-come, first-served basis.
The band used 61 shipping containers to import an estimated 500 tonnes of equipment, such as the stage, speakers, lights and video screens, Skjerseth said. A Boeing 747 arrived from Mexico last week carrying the last of the gear, he added.
The Stones are not strangers to the Caribbean. They recorded albums in Montserrat, Jagger is understood to own a villa in Mustique and was married to the rights campaigner and former actress Bianca Jagger, from nearby Nicaragua.
Their sound draws on many styles, from rhythm and blues to reggae and soul. Their 1964 cover version of Not Fade Away, which opens with Jagger shaking maracas, features echoes of Afro-Cuban music.
US media outlets present the gig as the first world-renowned rock act to reach an isolated nation of some one million culture-starved Cubans. For Cuba-watcher James Early, this is typical “US-centric arrogance and chauvinism”.
Cubans are erudite and world-class in music, ballet and poetry, Early said.
“I don’t mean to detract from the Rolling Stones, which will be a great attraction for Cuba, but to suggest that somehow this is opening the curtain of universal culture for them is just way beyond the pale,” Early, a former Smithsonian Institution director, told Al Jazeera.
“It’s a very cultured country.”
Though human rights groups have big gripes about Cuba – from political prisoners to web blocking – the communist-run island has not sought to banish the music of foreign bands, including the Stones, since the early days of the revolution.
Former president Fidel Castro turned out to watch the Manic Street Preachers, a Welsh band, at the Teatro Karl Marx in 2001. In 1979, during a previous US-Cuba rapprochement, Kris Kristofferson and Billy Joel played the same venue.
A statue of John Lennon, the former Beatle and peacenik, was unveiled in a Havana park in 2000.
Although the Stones gig may go down in history as the biggest rock concert to be staged in Cuba, Bernardo Navarro, a 39-year-old Cuban-American, does not foresee major convulsions to life for its Spanish-speaking people.
Rolling Stones to play free open air concert in Cuba
… at the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana in Havana on March 25. In a statement, The Rolling Stones said: "We have performed in many special places during our long career, but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we hope, for … Read more on The Independent
Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre offers a taste of Cuban culture
While “Escape” and “Danzones Baleticos” deal directly with matters of Cuban culture and history, Mateo explained that he was inspired by the music of his new work, Cuban composer Juan Pinera's “Trio Cervantino,” to address more widespread experiences. Read more on Metro.us
SCC professor details Cuban culture
City College political science professor Dagne Tedla holds a lecture in PAC 106 discussing the history of Cuba, his own experiences visiting Cuba, and celebrating the opening of travel between the United States and Cuba. Feb. 23, 2016. Emily Peterson … Read more on Sac City Express
Canadian tourism in Cuba: Will American travellers affect the experience?
"The Cubans for some time to come would want to maintain their unique culture and their unique economic culture, which is very distinct." "Everybody's talking about Cuba changing, but how is it going to change and who's going to be in charge of that … Read more on CBC.ca
Decades of communist rule and a U.S. trade embargo have turned Cuba into a nation of mechanics. Classic cars which would be museum pieces in most countries are still going strong. Considered out-of-date at home, old Soviet cars are getting a second wind in Cuba. Video Rating: / 5