Diverse, Unique and Necessary Festival

Havana World Music festival emerged from the experience in the Para Mestizar project, a journey around Cuba Eme Alfonso made. This Thursday will see the start of a new edition.

By: Jennifer Veliz Gutiérrez

Email: digital@juventudrebelde.cu

2017-03-27 | 11:11:40 EST
Eme AlfonseEme Alfonse Photo: Darío Gabriel Sánchez GarcíaZoom

This Thursday March 23 will see the start of the Havana World Music festival (HWM) in the Almendares park. The project emerged from the experience in the Para mestizar project, a journey around Cuba made by artist Eme Alfonso with the support of the Ministry of Culture and UNESCO. Since then she wanted to show that universe to the national public and to all those coming to Havana, during the days of the event.

-HWM is presented as a unique festival. What characteristics justify that label?

 -I think HWM is the most diverse event existing in Cuba. It brings together a great amount of artists coming from different parts of the world, including artists from countries who had never played in Cuba before. Projects which are only presented in the Festival see the light here, as well as many contacts between Cuban and foreigners. We also have many collateral activities, which enrich the offers for the public.

-What music does HWM seek?

-The name of the festival is an excuse. The World Music label is somewhat a little exclusive since it refers basically to folk or native music from other countries. HWM is a party of music genres which are connected with their roots through other more famous and popular. This is the case of Mexican Dubwiser which produces electronic cumbia. Another participant is Systema Solar, which mixes cumbia and Colombian champeta with hip hop, techno and house music... Fuel  fandango, which combines flamenco with electronic music, has performed in past festivals. This fusion of modernity with the roots is what I am interested in.

-How are the participant groups selected?

-Cuba is the cultural capital of Latin America, that’s why, many feel curiosity about our country because of the importance culture is given. Also, the festival searches for two or three important figures we would like to bring over to perform for our public.

This year the selected ones were Systema Solar, Mexican Dubwiser and Nomadic Massive.

“In the case of Cuban artists, we are interested in groups which search in their roots, which perform more than one genre and have an open style, like David Torrens, Dayme Arocena; Síntesis, which is inspiration for the festival; X Alfonso, David Blanco and the other members of the staff (Ernesto Blanco and Yissy García); Havana D’ Primera, that represents the evolution of the Cuban salsa; La Trovuntivitis...”

-How do you project the festival for the future?

-I would like HWM to be a benchmark, especially for the Cuban public,

who feel it as a place they come to discover and know new stuff; Give people a chance to consider that this is the festival where they can open their minds and enjoy good music.

-What does it mean for you to be the architect of this festival?

-As an artistic director, Para mestizar and HWM marked a watershed in my life and my career. I confess that before these two projects I used to deal with music in a different way, I had really done very little research. Para mestizar gave me the chance to discover the great diversity existing in the island. Then I came up with the festival idea, in combining forces, bringing musicians. Since then I have changed as a musician and as a person, in my compositions, in what I want to do and say. I feel passionate about defending where I come from and about my history.


Translated by ESTI   

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