Cuba

Mozart And 'The Peanut Vendor' In Havana

Jun 22, 2017

Last month, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein was in Cuba preparing for her current North American tour with an orchestra of young musicians from Havana. She fondly recalls one very hot rehearsal.

The time was right to revisit the Buena Vista Social Club. The blockbuster 1997 album and 1999 documentary, chronicling the recording sessions of an ad-hoc group of remarkable Cuban musicians, set off a global wave of appreciation for Son cubano music in the late '90s. The principal players, many of whom had begun their musical careers before the Communist revolution and had been retired for years before making the album, became overnight celebrities.

A UTSA quartet that went to Cuba to perform made a connection that went beyond performing. For the students and their professor, Matthew Dunne, music became the universal language.

The students spent a week in Havana, Cienfuegos and Pinar Del Rio, playing concerts in each. Besides their formal appearances, the group also played in several schools. Before performing for students though, the students would perform for them.

"A pretty emotional moment for me was seeing the kids play.”

From Texas Standard:

In the past year, Texas has seen a surge of Cuban immigrants crossing the border, hoping to take part in what’s known as the U.S. “wet foot/dry foot” policy – worried the policy would soon disappear with the government’s normalization of ties with Cuba.

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