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Miami’s venerable M Ensemble is a company that sometimes dips into its rich history to mount fresh productions of past shows. For its second production in its versatile new home at the Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, the troupe is revisiting Darren Canady’s “Brothers of the Dust.” Winner of the 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, the ..

“El cuento de Rene,” actor and director Larry Villanueva’s adaptation of Cuban writer Rene Ariza’s short stories into a work of theater, is more than an homage. It’s a statement on oppression. Ariza was sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to send manuscripts abroad. He was banned from creating theater in Cuba and condemned as “counter-revolutionary.” Ariza served five years of h..

Those who attend film festivals aren't looking for the mainstream, Cineplex offerings. That isn't the goal. Amid the indie films, the foreign entries, documentaries, and the world premieres, there's another reason to canvass the program for something you might not see anywhere else. Given the Miami Film Festival is the only major film festival to be produced by a college or university..

{This interview was conducted before the film making team went on to amazing Oscar success.} Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and filmmaker Barry Jenkins are nine miles away from the Liberty City housing projects where they both grew up, but they are worlds away. They are at the picturesque Standard Hotel to talk about the new movie "Moonlight," with a screenplay by Jenkins base..

First things first. Actor-playwright Elena María García does explain the meaning of “¡FUÁCATA!” somewhere deep into the 90-minute running time of Zoetic Stage’s “García Or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe.” The familiar Cuban term, she confides from her perch on Michael McKeever’s Mondrian-evocative set, suggests the sound of a slap. As in, “¡Fuácata! You really stepped in i..

Sales of George Orwell’s chilling dystopian novel “1984” have soared during the early days of the Trump administration, the headlines pouring out of Washington having repositioned a 1949 literary classic as a 21st century cautionary tale. The late Czech president and playwright Václav Havel brought his deeply observed, hard-earned perspective on life under totalitarianism to the stage..

“Carousel,” which contains some of the most gorgeous and memorable songs ever written for a musical, may be a musical you’ve never seen, though it has been around since 1945. The follow-up to “Oklahoma!,” Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s hugely successful debut as a composer-lyricist team, “Carousel” requires a huge cast by today’s standards, an orchestra that can do that gl..

Before women like movie star Melissa McCarthy, Chrissy Metz of NBC’s “This Is Us” and Whitney Thore of TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” became widely embraced personalities, Josefina Lopez wrote a play titled “Real Women Have Curves.” Lopez’s 1994 comedy, made into a 2002 movie that marked America Ferrera’s film debut, is about many things. Its subjects include the fears of undocument..

Stephen Adly Guirgis won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his darkly comic “Between Riverside and Crazy.” Two years later, as GableStage’s sizzling new production so abundantly demonstrates, the play feels completely of the moment – in part because its characters traffic in “alternative facts.” Retired New York cop Walter “Pops” Washington (Leo Finnie) refuses to settle an eight-..

Neo-Impressionist Georges Seurat was an influential visionary whose pointillist work launched a movement before his untimely death in Paris in 1891 at the age of 31. He spent two years painting his masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” in which tiny dots of juxtaposed color viewed at the right distance transform into a host of Parisians relaxing on an island ..

Miami choreographer Augusto Soledade has been a fixture in the local dance world since he arrived here in 2004. His cast has shifted over the years and he continues to challenge himself artis..

In one duet, two dancers use their bodies as counterweights, springing forth from each other’s bodies with explosive power. In another, dancers form a sharp line before torsos undulate and fa..

Teacher, choreographer and activist Dale Andree is known for her ability to merge activism with dance. Andree founded and directs National Water Dance, a site-specific project that joins danc..

In 2016, Philadelphia-based Koresh Dance company crossed their 25-year mark. To celebrate, the company returns to Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts with a 25th anniversary..

From singers like Joan Baez to poets like Maya Angelou to anonymous knitters of pink pussy hats, creative women have played an essential role in this country as agitators and activists. Likew..

When Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) takes the stage this weekend, it will present a program rich in the cultural milieu of Miami. Co-founders Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra i..

It is an awe-inspiring experience to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers perform. They are well trained dancers, athletes and artists. Not often known is that some of the dance..

Back for an 8th season in Miami, the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater packs the house every year. With Liberty City hometown hero Robert Battle in his fifth year, we have many rea..

Awash in sunlight, around 50 women stand in a circle on the rooftop performance space of Casa Gaia in Old Havana, Cuba, as part of a belly-dance festival. Biodanza facilitator Karen Rodríguez..

Global Cuba Fest Endures Beyond Politics

Photo: Danay Suarez
Written by: Neil de la Flor
Article Rating

Despite an end to the “wet foot, dry foot” policy and other changes in the Florida-Cuba dynamic, Global Cuba Fest 2017 will continue to satiate the souls of South Floridians with a month-long music fest and theater performances that promise to slay. The 10th Anniversary of Global Cuba Fest opens with Cuban musicians Dayramir Gonzalez and Danay Suarez, in collaboration with the Miami-based chamber orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble, this weekend at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse.

Born out a decade-long collaboration between the Miami Light Project and FUNDarte, Global Cuba Fest seeks out, through cultural exchange initiatives and a ton of research, the best Cuban musicians from around the world.

“It’s a celebration of musicians from the Cuban diaspora, including artists who still live in Cuba and who are making music that is powerful and culturally relevant,” says Beth Boone, artistic and executive director of the Miami Light Project. “These are rising stars who identify as refugees and as immigrants, and are working in the States, Europe and Latin America.”

One of those rising stars is Danay Suarez. Suarez is the voice of a new generation of contemporary Cuban musicians whose sultry vocals conjure up images that transport the listener to the storied streets of la Habana Vieja. Although firmly rooted in a sound that is uniquely Afro-Cuban, Suarez transcends the dominant Cuban tropes of cigars, rumba and Celia Cruz and opens up a new pathway for musical genius to emerge. Think Mary J. Blige, not Gloria Estefan, singing in your ear as you’re walking down the street.

“Yo Aprendi” is a good example of Suarez’s contemporary vibe. She is currently working on her solo album “Palabras Manuales,” which will be released this month. (Check out the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqLhLDbm0d8. )

What makes Global Cuba Fest programming so unique this year is that Suarez’s music will be set to the 27 member orchestral marvel that is the Nu Deco Ensemble. “Nu Deco is like bringing Dom Pérignon to a really cool underground party,” says Boone. “They are so thrilling in every way. Artistically, they are at the top of their game. They are fun to work with. They are the ‘make Miami proud’ kind of organization like Tarrell Alvin McCraney [the playwright behind the Oscar-award-winning film “Moonlight”] is to Miami as an individual artist. Nu Deco Ensemble opens up an entirely different musical experience for the listener.” (Nu Deco Ensemble & Afrobeta: https://vimeo.com/133448120.)

If Nu Deco Ensemble is the Dom Pérignon of the party, then maybe Dayramir Gonzalez is the exuberant bubbly that makes champagne Champagne. Born in Havana, Gonzalez is an Afro-Cuban jazz pianist, composer, arranger and child prodigy whose resonant performances hark back to deep rooted musical traditions, which have won him world acclaim and even a slot on stage at Carnegie Hall. This week he’ll be at The Light Box channeling his deep reverence for musical tradition for three performances during the opening weekend of Global Cuba Fest. (At TEDxhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqBGS8mu0lI.)

If you can’t make the opening of Global Cuba Fest this weekend, it’s ok. The festival runs throughout the month of March. On March 18th, Ernan Lopez Nussa, the Picadillo Band and Carlos Puig Hatem, with special guests Ahmed barroso, Pavel Urkiza and Lillian Garcia, headline the mega Global Cuba Fest concert at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium (MDCA). The festival culminates the weekend of March 24 to 26, also at MDCA, with Argos Teatros’ “10 Million,” a bilingual coming of age performance about growing up in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution.

“I think people’s minds are going to be blown,” says Boone. “These artists represent every fiber of what we aim for at Miami Light Project, which is inclusive, diverse and eclectic by design. The stars have aligned for Global Cuba Fest 2017 this year.”


The 10th Anniversary of Global Cuba Fest opens with Cuban musicians Dayramir Gonzalez and Danay Suarez, with Miami-based chamber orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble Global Cuba Fest, Thursday through Saturday, 8:00 p.m.;The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th Street, Miami; tickets: $35-45 | VIP $90; www.fundarte.us, www.miamilightproject.com.

 


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About The writer

Performance arts writer, teacher, photographer, magician

Neil de la Flor is a writer, teacher, photographer and Executive Director of Reading Queer. His publications include An Elephant's Memory of Blizzards..

About the Writer

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