Cuba50 - 40,000 people join the celebrations
More than 40,000 people attended the Cuba50 festival showcase events in June.
Festival goers at London’s Barbican Centre on 27 and 28 June, Gillett Square in Hackney on 27 June, the Hackney Empire on 25 June and Victoria Park on 21 June were privileged to see some of Cuba’s finest acts. Pablo Milanés, Harold López Nussa, Son del Tropico, Yoruba Andabo, Oscar d’Leon, Changüí de Guantánamo, Orquesta Aragón, Kumar, Osvaldo Chacón, Tumbao Tivoli, Omar Puente, London Lucumí Choir and Charanga del Norte were just a few of the artists who performed.
Produced by Cuba50 in association with the Barbican, a real feast of all styles of Cuban music and dance were on offer, with dance classes as well: salsa, son, rumba, jazz, charanga, hiphop, trova and timba - London danced to Cuban rhythms for a whole week.
Special guest at the Barbican was Dr Aleida Guevara who spoke to almost 2000 concert goers each night. Aleida thanked the UK for hosting the celebrations of 50 years of the Cuban Revolution. To huge cheers from the ecstatic crowds, she looked forward to the next 50 years. Aleida spoke of her father Che Guevara and how he saw culture as integral to the development of humankind.
CSC Director Rob Miller, introduced the concerts calling the Cuban people “proud and determined in the face of aggression”.
On the breadth of Cuban talent appearing in the festival he said that “Cuba is overflowing with artistic talent which is nurtured by Cuba from the young to the old”.
Throughout both days the Barbican was decked out in Cuban flags and Cuba50 logos were beamed around the venue. The foyers thronged with thousands of revellers enjoying the free stage music and dance as well as dance classes. There were even workshops with Havana Club on how to make the perfect Cuban cocktail.
The trade unions were well represented and Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary, spoke at one of the special receptions held during the weekend
“I bring greetings to the Cuban people for the 50th anniversary of their Revolution not only on behalf of Unison but on behalf of the whole trade union movement”.
Cuba Solidarity stalls did a roaring trade in 50th anniversary T-shirts, Cuban flags, books and CDs and thousands of specially produced Cuba50 festival programmes with a free CD were sold. Throughout the weekend the Barbican played music from the new CSC anniversary CD ‘Cuba - 50 years of revolutionary rhythms’.
In July, Cuba50 speakers and live music also featured at the Durham Miners Gala and Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival.
Thanks to all our many sponsors and supporters who made these events possible.
Cuba50 is the biggest celebration of 50 years of the Revolution outside Cuba itself, and is an initiative of Cuba Solidarity Campaign with many supporters. It consists of over 200 events large and small across the UK in 2009 from music to visual arts, dance, poetry, discussion, sports, film and performance. Be inspired and celebrate the diversity and inventiveness of Cuban culture at events around the UK throughout this year. There is something for everyone.