This is "Tabu," (540k) by Margarita Lecuona, sister of the famous Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona. It's sung by Miguelito Valdez with Machito and his Afro-Cubans, available on a CD from Tumbao Cuban Classics records, called "Cuban Rhythms." You will need QuickTime 4.0 to listen to this and the next audio clip. If you don't have QuickTime 4.0 from Apple, click on the icon below to get to their web page where you can download this program for free. Listen to "Criss Cross," (480k). It's from the movie of the same name from the 40's and is performed by Esy Morales and his Rhumba Band. It starred Burt Lancaster, Yvonne DeCarlo and was the first movie Tony Curtis ever made. He didn't receive screen credit.
Select the image of the beauty above to see a short slideshow, (540k), of various people around Havana. There are dancers, singers, tourist guides, children and just everyday city dwellers. The accompanying music is a clip from the CD "Buena Vista Social Club," called "El Cuarto de Tula." It's available from Nonesuch records. The lead vocals are performed by Eliades Ochoa, Ibrahim Ferrer and Manuel Licea.
Legend has it that the full moon in Cuba is more romantic than anywhere else on earth. Please watch this short video, "Luna Cubana," (660k) sung in Spanish, and decide for yourself.......
This young man gives us his rendition of "Perdon".This audio clip, (360k), was recorded in Havana at a Peña, a kind of musical and poetical gathering. Anyone can attend and sing, dance or perform pretty much anything they want. He used an ancient accompaniment tape and no microphone. Much of the electronic equipment in Cuba is very old and when things break they often stay broken. Select the image to the left to see a brief video, (660k) , of this young singer. These clips are pretty large and may take a while to appear. Selecting the photo below will show you a QuickTime movie of this "Rumbera", (954k). She is one of many who come to perform at this peña. This is a short part of her performance but, I think you'll agree, she knows how to work a room!
Colon Cemetery ,(340k) is Havana's oldest, most historic, and most beautiful burial ground. This slide show will give you a glimpse of the splendor that once was in this relic to the past. Although there are many monuments like these, here you'll see only a few images of the artistic works that adorn the graves of former wealthy residents. Here's also a special visit, with narration en Español, of Cuba's most revered Saint---"La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre," (720k ).This is an immense monument, erected to one of the wealthier "Habañeros" of days gone by. Click on the image below to see this exquisite statue and the story or her discovery.
Click on the title below for a slideshow of some exterior shots of Havana's National Theater. This enormous theater houses several concert halls and is home for the Cuban National Ballet. It's located in the downtown area , near the gateway to Old Havana.
A ti te gusta nadar? (Do you like to swim?). Swimming at this beach in "Miramar," (840k) a suburb of Havana, can be a little difficult. This area of coastline is particularly rocky but it doesn't seem to bother the bathers in this QuickTime video. Take a look, listen to the music and hear the waves as they rush to the shore.
Here's an exotic lullaby for these kids, "Drume Negrita," (577k) by C. Ernesto Grenet. It's sung by the the original "Mr. Babalu", Miguelito Valdes. This song is on the same CD mentioned above, "Cuban Rhythms". The boys below live in Varadero, the beach resort near the city of Matanzas, about a 2 hour drive from Havana.
Here's a slide show with singer Ignacio Villa, better know as "Bola de Nieve." The song is an excerpt from "Corazon," (420k) by Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes. "Despues del Show," (360k) or "After the Show" is audio only as well as those below, which were recorded live and are only excerpts from the complete performances. The guitarist is Maestro Gustavo del Rey and the singer is Wilfredo with "Suerte." (600k) This next singer gives us "Mi Arboleda," (480k), and is also accompanied by Gustavo on the guitar. "La Razón de Vivir," (480k) is an unusual love song about a romance that's ending. The singer is great and even the crashing dishes in the background didn't phase him much. I've recently learned that the brilliant composer, teacher and guitarist Gustavo del Rey, who accompanied the singers above, has died. He will be greatly missed by many in Havana's artistic community. Hopefully his beautiful compositions will continue to be sung by his many students and friends.
Señor Bemba, an energetic 65 year old, sings and dances in this clip from "La Mulata Tomasa," (600k) Pardon the audio on this one. This beautiful Cubana does a nice job on "El Yierberito Moderno," (960k) Unfortunately, the band accompanying her was her biggest enemy. Pardon the pole obstructing the view. I'd like you to have seen the rest of her act but the size of the file is immense so, "asi es la vida." More from her next month!
Click on the pictures below to hear these singers. All are live performances. Please pardon the background noise as some were in bars and nightclubs and you're bound to hear the clicking glasses and the crowds. I don't know the name of the first singer, (300k) but the second is Anna Hiss Abreu, (240k) and the third is Lazaro Avlet, (300k). These files are all in the QuickTime format.
Young musicians in Cuba are trained in many different ways but most have a strong classical background. Here's a short video, (780k), recorded at the Music School of the National Theatre. You'll see two young ladies playing music by Grieg.
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