/students/kc-connections/festivals/cuba

Artes De Cuba

From the island to the world

¡Hola!

Cuba Map 

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and you can fly from Miami, Florida, to Cuba’s capital Havana in less than an hour (about the same as flying between Washington, D.C., and New York City).

Welcome to ARTES DE CUBA, a one-of-a-kind festival with more than 50 events celebrating the arts and culture of Cuba and where you’ll find music, dance, theater, visual art (such as paintings and sculpture), film, fashion, and even food. It’s your special chance to learn more about this diverse and vibrant Caribbean island. You see... even though Cuba is only 100 miles from Florida… it’s still a world away and full of surprises.

To help you get started exploring, let’s take a quick look at Cuba’s musical style and the two musical performances designed especially for young people.

A Musical Tradition Comes to Life

Do you like Latin jazz? Salsa music? If so, you have innovative musicians in Cuba to thank. But first, some history.

Cuba developed strong and unique music traditions early on, shaped by Spanish colonists and African slaves who arrived in the 1500s. Spanish colonists carried their guitars and other instruments to the island along with European styles of melody, harmony, and composition. The slaves, who came mostly from West Africa, brought with them a love of drums and intricate musical rhythms and patterns. Over time, these traditions blended into a distinctly Afro-Cuban style that would go on to influence music—including salsa and jazz—all around the world.

Although Cuba’s music today varies widely, here are a few typical characteristics to listen for at the festival’s musical performances:

  • complex rhythms and patterns
  • syncopation (stressing a note in an unexpected place between beats or on a weak beat)
  • anticipated bass (a bass tone that comes right before the downbeat)
  • classical guitar or the Cuban tres (a guitar-like instrument with three groups of two strings for a total of six strings)

You’ll likely experience these sounds when you attend performances by the Havana Lyceum Orchestra and Orquesta Miguel Faílde (from Matanzas).

Featured Artists

Havana Lyceum Orchestra
Conducted by José Antonio Méndez Padrón
with Ulises Hernández (piano soloist)
Terrace Theater, May 9, 2018, 11 a.m.

Havana Lyceum Orchestra
Photo courtesy of Havana Lyceum Orchestra

From Cuba’s capital city of Havana comes an award-winning youth orchestra of student and recently graduated musicians. They perform all kinds of classical music, but at the performance, you’ll hear pieces exclusively by Cuban composers. One such composer is Leo Brouwer, a conductor, composer, and guitarist who greatly influenced Cuban guitar technique—which is on display in Brouwer’s Concierto Elegíaco at the performance.

Think about how Brouwer’s music compares with European classical music you may know. How would you describe the differences?

Take a Look & Listen: Hear Brouwer’s Concierto Elegíaco here.

Orquesta Miguel Faílde (from Matanzas)
Led by flutist Ethiel Fernandez Faílde
Millennium Stage, May 11, 2018, 11 a.m.

Orquesta Miguel Faílde
Photo courtesy of Orquesta Miguel Faílde

Ready to dance?

With Orquesta Miguel Faílde, we move from the concert hall to the dance hall. At the performance, this small band led by Ethiel Fernandez Faílde will play traditional and modern versions of Cuban music called danzón—which was created by Ethiel’s grandfather and the band’s namesake back in the late 1800s. Danzón started as a dance for couples and went on to become Cuba’s national music and dance. Later, musicians adapted the sound to create new and even more widely popular genres and dances, such as mambo and cha-cha-chá (known in the United States as cha-cha).

Think about how the complex and sometimes surprising rhythms make you want to move. How would you describe Cuban dance music?

Take a Look & Listen: In this video, watch a couple dancing amid some famous sites around Havana, Cuba, while Orquesta Miguel Faílde performs danzón.

Explore the Festival

WAIT! There’s More!

Please come back with your family and friends to enjoy more of Cuba’s rich art and culture at the festival, which runs May 8–20. Besides the many performances, don’t miss these free activities especially for families:

  • ¡Cuba! Exhibit and Activities. Visit the Kennedy Center's Hall of Nations Gallery throughout the festival for a display and activities on Cuban culture and history. Color your own animal art; learn about Cuba’s geology, birds, snails, and butterflies; play wildlife games; explore maps; gather around tables to play dominos (a favorite Cuban pastime); and discover Cuba’s love of baseball and its many baseball teams.
  • Cuba’s Natural Wonders. Learn about plant and animal life in Cuba’s forests, caves, wetlands, and reefs in this discussion with Dr. Ana Luz Porzecanski. May 12, 2018 at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., or 1:30 p.m. Cubano Club/Terrace Gallery; seating is first-come, first-served.
  • Drum Beat Parade. Really get into the energy and rhythm of Cuba with this parade from the Millennium Stage right through the Grand Foyer of the Kennedy Center. Featuring Orquesta Miguel Faílde, the First Panamanian Marching Band of Maryland, and the Brooklyn United Marching Band. May 12, 2018, 2–3:30 p.m.

Click here for a full schedule of ARTES DE CUBA: From the Island to the World festival events

Credits

Writers

Marcia Friedman

Editors & Producers

Kenny Neal
Producer

Lisa Resnick
Content Editor

The Presenting Underwriter of ARTES DE CUBA
HRH Foundation

Major support is provided by David M. Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by Virginia McGehee Friend, Amalia Perea Mahoney and William Mahoney, The Irene Pollin Audience Development and Community Engagement Initiatives, and the Artes de Cuba Festival Committee.

International Programming at the Kennedy Center is made possible through the generosity of the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts.

© 2018 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Email Print Share

Text:

- +
Email a link to this page
Cancel
Share This Page




Cancel
Cuesheet Performance Guide Archive
https://2700fstreet.tumblr.com/

© 1996-2018 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  

ArtsEdge is an education program of

The Kennedy Center 

with the support of

Department of Education



ARTSEDGE, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee
for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

The contents of this Web site were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not
necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.
Unless otherwise stated, ArtsEdge materials may be copied, modified and otherwise utilized for non-commercial educational purposes
provided that ArtsEdge and any authors listed in the materials are credited and provided that you permit others to use them in the same manner.

Change Background:

Connect with us!    EMAIL US | YouTube | Facebook | iTunes | MORE!

© 1996-2018 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  
    Privacy Policy
| Terms and Conditions

Close

You are now leaving the ArtsEdge website. Thank you for visiting!

If you are not automatically transferred, please click the link below:
http://absoluteshakespeare.com

ArtsEdge and The Kennedy Center are in no way responsible for the content of the destination site, its ongoing availability, links to other site or the legality or accuracy of information on the site or its resources.

Cancel

Close