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Stones Playing Free Concert in Cuba

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#21
bongomania

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bongomania - Interesting. What brought you to Cuba? Where were the free/cheap concerts you attended held? Were those concerts open to the public? What acts did you see?

I went to study drumming, and I was there for six weeks, mostly in the outer end of Oriente Province.  The concerts were held in multiple types of venues: open air stages (both in downtown and in the rural outskirts), cafes, hotels, cultural centers, and music schools that had performance spaces.  The only ones that charged any money at all were the tourist trap cafes and cultural centers, where the entry fee was typically one US dollar and a one drink minimum (also one dollar).  But even in those places, they had windows open to the sidewalk where anyone could watch and listen for free.  Most of the acts I saw were local or regional, not internationally known, but I did see NG La Banda, Los Papines, and El Guayabero.

 

 

 

What a great gesture by giving to those unfortunate souls who have been crippled by a dictator. Bravo!!!!

While Castro is undoubtedly a dictator, the crippling of the country was caused by an economic blockade from outside.

 

re: no one there could afford their regular ticket price!

 

I thought Cuba was a worker's paradise.

I realize you're making a joke, but I saw concerts for free or cheap nearly every day and night I was there.  The arts are supported and widely available to people who have little money.

 

Of course it's complicated, and I don't want to fire up politics here.

 

 

The arts are supported as long as the artists themselves are ideologically correct, or members of the party and/or their extended family.

 

" Complicated " is something many of us here would listen to you explain . It's the " ..of course " bit that intrigues me .

 

I think you understood me.  Yes, there is ideological censorship.  And it's "of course" because Cuba is full of amazing greatness and beauty in addition to many negative and tragic elements, and they are all intertwined.

 

For example I studied a music genre called changui which would probably have died out completely if it weren't for state-sponsored promotion of historic Cuban culture and music.  So it's great that I got to learn some of that style first hand, and hear it performed in the streets in its home region, but that was only the case because it got a stamp of approval from the government.

 

Also there was terrible classism and racism, plus prostitution, at any music venue where they charged admission or a drink minimum.  At Casa de la Cultura I saw a young black boy trying to see over the window edge to watch the show, and I gave him a dollar and invited him in.  The doorman refused him entry, and would not relent until I raised a stink and also bought multiple drinks.  Yet the music was amazing, and went all night, and people outside the windows were clapping and singing along.  Complicated.


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#22
BennyK

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Thanks Bongo .

 

I'm sorry to have adopted such a confrontational tone to my question .


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#23
Scott K Fish

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Thank you, bongomania. I love Cuban music. It is the dream stealing Castro regime that breaks my heart.

 

Years ago, while driving, I was listening to an NPR story about pianist Rubén González. In that story the reporter told how hard it is to find acoustic pianos in Cuba. Most people could not afford to maintain them, and the pianos that were once in common use have all been destroyed by the elements, insects, and lack of money.

 

Best,

skf


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#24
A J

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Maybe it won't be a bad thing and helped to wet the people's appetite to Western culture.  I think Iron Maiden played a couple gigs in East Germany before the wall came down.

 

Personally, I wouldn't want to play in a country where I could be jailed indefinitely at the whim of a dictator.  No thanks.   

 

Wasn't that long ago if you were listening to the Stones in public ( even worse, in private ) it could mean that you explain the dialectic of youranti social behavior in a soundproof office.

 

The rolling stones will be performing to one of the most sophisticated and literate musical audiences in the world ,so this is a diplomatic exercise to show the world ...

 

 

The times I've worked with 3rd World armies, there's really no such thing as "sophisticated."  Everything they do is half-assed and they're 100% content being lousy.  If the Cubans are providing the support and security, I'd be very surprised if it's done right.  

 

If I were a betting man, I'd say that everything will be shipped in, to include generators and "close" unarmed security for the band and crew.  The venue will likely be a mess with limited restroom facilities, no air conditioning, few fire exits, poor crowd control, etc...      


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#25
DrumGerry

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No doubt the band will make a pretty penny from live broadcasting rights.  With all that interest, it's bound to go round the world.  I should think the govt. will spruce up the stadium too, to avoid embarrassing themselves.  However, at this stage of their career, I'd rather go to Cuba to hear the indigenous music than see the Stones.  As much as I love them, the last concert (Hyde Park reunion?) I saw on TV sounded like an out-of-tune jam-band shambling around.


Edited by DrumGerry, 04 March 2016 - 09:07 AM.

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#26
DrumGerry

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PS My Osteopath went to Cuba in the late 90s.  He took an internal plane flight for part of their trip and during it the pilot let him take the controls. Socialist democracy going too far??


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#27
A J

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PS My Osteopath went to Cuba in the late 90s.  He took an internal plane flight for part of their trip and during it the pilot let him take the controls. Socialist democracy going too far??

I used to work for a guy who was a pilot.  When we'd fly places, EVERYBODY in the plane was a pilot.  He'd give you a quick 2-minute instruction while in flight, give you the controls and then proceed to read a book or nodded off.  Sadly, he ran his business the same way he flew his planes and it wasn't long before we were all looking for new jobs.  


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#28
Scott K Fish

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Rolling Stones tell giant crowd "times are changing" at Cuba debut

Source: Reuters - Sat, 26 Mar 2016 03:54 GMT

 

The band's advancing years did not stop the youngsters in the audience enjoying the show, however.

 

"Don't let anybody tell you different, this is the best concert in the history of Cuba," said Cristian, 18, a reggaeton fan who this month saw electronic music act Major Lazer in another free gig.

 

Full Story


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#29
troutstudio

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It's a cool idea and I believe that the Stones would be mostly motivated by generosity; and of course, some historical mojo to be gained there. Good on them.
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