My Cuban Adventure Part Four: The Arts and Music


 

Art is everywhere in Cuba. Public art was both abstract and representational. There were metal sculptures, made from scrap metal including old car parts, on the streets and in the park behind the Hotel Ciego de Avila.

We visited a silver shop in the city. The artists were making jewelry and sculptures from old silverware.

One Saturday we went the museum in Ciego de Avila. After touring the museum we were treated to a traditional dance performance with a live band, Rumbavilla. They included us in the dancing, too.

Then we were off to Moron, a nearby city of 60,000 people. We went to the theater there, Moron Teatro. The government gave the building to the troupe, its director, and the stage crew. The theater was built in 1922 but was heavily damaged by a hurricane. In the ensuing years it was used as a venue for boxing and duck races as well as a storage facility for fertilizer. The actors, director, and stage crew cleaned it up and renovated it. They got a box car, cut it in half, and added one side of it to the back of the building for dressing rooms and used the other half for the front lobby and ticket office. They completed the work in five months and now have a full schedule of performances each week including classical, contemporary and children’s plays. The admission price is five CUP’s, about twenty cents.

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There are several troupes of actors from the company that entertain at the beach resorts of the province. Since many of the tourists do not speak Spanish, they put on variety shows. We were treated to such a performance that included mimes. Huge puppets, dances, singers, and acrobats. The theater company is known for their clay-brushed characters. They presented Medea in that form as street theater.

Another amazing part of the theater company is their outreach program. They send a troupe out to isolated areas and stay for ten days, teaching the local people how to put on their own shows.

One night in Ciego de Avila we went to a nightclub called La Trova, named after a branch of Cuban music. We listened and danced to a band called Cuban Roots, Raices Cubana. The painter Miguel Angle Luna who was a fan of la trova so he opened the club and started it as a foundation to preserve the music.

In Havana we went to the Old City where we saw rehabbed buildings.I was struck again by the modern outdoor art like this surrealistic statue of a rooster.

rooster surrealistic statue in Havana

The galleries on the New Quarter had some interesting art, including Zombie art. Here’s a photo of fanciful mail slots.

When we went to the Museum of the Revolution, I saw a newer portrait of Fidel Castro painted by Luis Soltelo.

 

IMG_1659 I’ve included a photo of the rotunda of the building.

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When we passed by at night, Che’s face was lit up on the front of the building.

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We went to the Lucecita Music Consortium founded by Lucecita Benitez. They have a festival every summer, Pina Colada, in Ciego de Avila. The consortium’s mission is to provide training and venues for new talent. They have a show on the internet on the last Friday of every month, although I couldn’t find it.

sculpture at Lucecita

We visited Muraliando, an artists’ consortium in Havana. The government gave the group an old water tower that had been used as a garbage dump for years. The artists cleaned it out and built studio space for themselves and have a program for 250 children. It’s in a run-down area so the artists made murals and sculptures all over the streets.

There we listened to another band, Mambu and Company, who got us up and dancing.

My impressions are that the Cubans respect intellectuals and value their diverse culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to “My Cuban Adventure Part Four: The Arts and Music”

  1. veronica marshall Says:

    Especially like this posting re the arts which seem to live and thrive in all kinds of political circumstances…an indomitable human desire to create and celebrate and recognize life through the arts.

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