Louis Head, co founder of Cuba -US Cultural Exchange, sent this out today in appreciation of all those who signed letters of support pushing to lift the obscene travel restrictions between Cuba and the United States.
“Hi – First, this not so personal letter is being sent to let you know, if you did not already, that the greatest rumba ensemble in the world Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, direct from Matanzas, Cuba, will be here in New Mexico this coming Monday, April 18 in Albuquerque, and Tuesday, April 19 in Santa Fe. More detail on that below.
But then also I want to remind all of you receiving this that you played a significant role in making this happen by joining thousands of artists, arts presenters, writers, cultural entrepreneurs and cultural workers throughout the country in demanding – first of Bush, and then in no less compromising terms of Obama – that Cuban cultural workers, artists, intellectuals and others be allowed to enter the United States to share with their counterparts and the public here. It was an effort far ahead of the curve of the Obama Administration, and it worked. The first Cuban artists since 2003 were allowed into the U.S. during the summer of 2009. Negotiating the terrain necessary to procure visas remains onerous, but this and related efforts have also resulted in the return to the policies of the Clinton Administration to allow some travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba.
Maybe it is cliché to quote Frederick Douglass that “power concedes nothing without a demand.” Perhaps though, given everything we have witnessed since January 2009 – and also as we approach the 150th Anniversary of the abolition of chattel slavery, to which Douglass dedicated his life – it is apt to reflect on that thought. We should also realize that, opportunities to simply see such talent from Cuba can be taken away in the blink of an eye again, as happened in 2003 under the previous administration. Let’s not lose sight of this.
I meanwhile hope that everyone can make it to one of the appearances, or to the Wednesday evening workshop in Albuquerque, as we welcome Los Muñequitos de Matanzas to New Mexico for the first time.
We should thank those presenters in New Mexico that have taken on the still risky venture of presenting works by Cuban artists and cultural workers during the past year. Let’s all support them.
I especially want to thank Outpost Productions, the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Lensic Performing Arts Center, along with our good friends at MAPP International Productions in New York, for bringing Los Muñequitos to us next week.
Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
Monday, April 18, 7pm
National Hispanic Cultural Center, ABQ
Tuesday, April 19, 7pm
The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe
Celebrating the Latino/a Imaginary project with 516 ARTS
presented in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Lensic Performing Arts Center, and Instituto Cervantes.
Direct from Cuba, the Grammy-nominated 16-person ensemble, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, is hailed as the “reigning regents of rumba.” Founded in 1952, the group spans three generations — an extended family whose complex Afro Cuban drumming, captivating vocals and spectacular dancing transport audiences to the streets and soul of Matanzas, Cuba. Los Muñequitos keeps alive 500 years of traditional drumming, chanting and dance of the African Diaspora intrinsic to Cuba’s living legacy, while continuing to be innovative. Originally their emphasis was on rumba in all its variants, but in 1989 they began to include ritual, religious music, and stories. Los Muñequitos de Matanzas returns to the U.S to perform Tambor de Fuego, featuring tributes to legendary members, plus new pieces created specifically for this tour.
April 18, NHCC: $30/$25/$20. $5 discount Members & Students (No Member Passes)
Available in advance, by phone or in person, at the Outpost Performance Space (268-0044); NHCC Box Office (724-4771); or on the web at www.nhccm.org
(There will be additional fees for NHCC Box Office and Internet Sales)
April 19, Lensic: $40/$30/$25/$20. $5 discount Members & Students (No Member Passes) Available in advance, by phone or in person, at the Outpost Performance Space (268-0044);
Lensic Box Office 505-988-1234; or on the web at www.TicketsSantaFe.org
Los Muñequitos will also give a Workshop for Musicians and Dancers, Wednesday, April 20 at the NHCC Education Building, 6pm,
$10 admission (participants or audience). Advance registration or Inquiries at Outpost, 268-0044.