Friday, September 27, 2013

Cuban newspaper breaks ground by publishing names of exiled Cuban artists nominated for Grammys

Posted on Thursday, 09.26.13

Cuban newspaper breaks ground by publishing names of exiled Cuban
artists nominated for Grammys

Ending a history in Cuba's state-run news media of ignoring exiled
musicians who criticize the government, the newspaper Trabajadores has
published the full list of Cubans nominated for the Latin Grammys,
including exiles.

The Granma newspaper, official voice of the ruling Communist Party of
Cuba and entrenched redoubt of revolutionary orthodoxy, on Thursday
published only the names of island residents nominated for the prizes,
to be announced Nov. 21 in Las Vegas.

But Trabajadores, run by the state-controlled Confederation of Cuban
Workers, published the names of all the dozen artists on Wednesday,
reflecting both the shifts and the lack of significant changes taking
place under the Raúl Castro government.

"Well how about that! Look how much we have advanced," jazz musician
Paquito D'Rivera joked in a phone interview with El Nuevo Herald. The
10-time Grammy winner said his awards have never been mentioned in Cuban

Trabajadores listed the nominated musicians living in the United States:
D'Rivera, Albita and Arturo Sandoval, who have been vocally critical of
the government, and others less critical to varying degrees: Chuchito
Valdes, Amaury Gutierrez, Jorge Luis Piloto and Leslie Cartaya. It also
listed Alex Cuba, who lives in Canada.

"It's very nice of them to recognize that Cubans outside the country are
also Cubans," said Ileana Mateu, former wife and artistic representative
of Chucho Valdes.

"These musicians were never mentioned before. They were erased from the
map," Mateu said from her home in New Jersey. "People on the street do
remember them and talk about them, but for the government, it's like
they don't exist."

D'Rivera said he believes Castro government officials are seeking a
reconciliation with exiled musicians and noted that an upcoming jazz
festival in Havana has been dedicated to the late pianist Bebo Valdes, a
harsh critic of the communist system.

"I believe in reconciliation among Cubans, but not with them in power,"
he said. "You cannot reconciliate with someone who … who stoned your
house, who separated you from your daughter for nine years."

The difference between the Trabajadores and Granma reports appeared to
reflect the clash of forces pushing both for and against an opening at
the Ministry of Culture, arbiter of all artists and artistic functions
on the island, from concerts to art exhibits.

Ministry officials indefinitely suspended fusion musician Roberto
Carcasses earlier this month for asking for freedom of information and
opinion and direct presidential elections during a concert, but
backtracked a few days later amid a wave of protests.

And last summer, the government quietly ended the blacklist of exiled
musicians banned from radio and TV for decades. Cubans have now heard
Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan on the airwaves but never Willie Chirino,
a vociferous critic of the government.

The island residents nominated for Latin Grammys were the Septeto
Santiaguero; Miriam Ramos with Barbarito Torres, Ernán López-Nussa and
Rolando Luna; and classical music composer Leo Brouwer.

Source: "Cuban newspaper breaks ground by publishing names of exiled
Cuban artists nominated for Grammys - Cuba -" -

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