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Pearl Cleage’s play “Flyin’ West,” an M Ensemble production currently on stage at the beautiful new performing arts center in Liberty City, the Sandrell Rivers Theatre, is set in humble Nicodemus, Kansas, the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. Set in 1898, the play focuses on the lives of Sophie (Brandiss ..

Esteban, (http://estebanlapelicula.com/en/) the debut of Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela being premiered at The Miami Light Project tells the story of a 9 year old, living in Havana with his mother, who’s raising him as a single parent, and his perseverance following his dream of becoming a musician. The challenges seem overwhelming. Esteban and his mother struggle to make ends meet (htt..

Desperate times call for desperate measures. For some, that might mean taking a second or third job. Or robbing a bank. Or moving in with family. For Casey, a straight lip-syncing Elvis impersonator in a Panama City bar, desperation means forsaking the King’s rhinestone-studded jumpsuit for leg hair-hiding pantyhose, fake boobs and big-hair wigs, the better to sell himself as a fa..

Writing about “Broken Snow,” the Ben Andron thriller now getting its world premiere at the J’s Cultural Arts Theatre (JCAT) in North Miami Beach, is a proposition almost as tricky as the play itself. The intricately structured 90-minute drama is loaded with surprises, twists and turns, all revealed at precisely the right moment so that the play builds to its shattering conclusion..

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'Death & Harry Houdini' Makes Another Magical Moment at ArshtDennis Watkins knows how to make an entrance. In the House Theatre of Chicago’s “Death & Harry Houdini,” now back at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater five years after it first wowed Miami audiences, Watkins arrives onstage with the help of theater technology unknown in Houdini’s day. Dangling upside dow..

Director Carlos Lechuga’s masterful unspooling of time in his second feature film “Santa y Ándres” constructs a uniquely Cuban mix of tedium and despair, resulting in an emotionally intense experience that sneaks up on the viewer in plain sight. The film opens with the stillness of a landscape painting: the eastern Cuban countryside of 1983 – rugged, lush, and verdant. The statuesque..

Memory – deep-seated, fragile, slippery, mutable – is at the heart of Jordan Harrison’s “Marjorie Prime.” A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2015, the play is a family tragicomedy given a sci-fi makeover; in other words, this thought-provoking theater piece charts its own, fresh path. Now getting its South Florida premiere as the second professional production from the Main Street Players, ..

The stage is a fixed space. It is the axis around which story, conflict, and character revolve. When that fixed space shifts, new possibilities emerge. Starting Wednesday, April 23, a shifting site for theater emerges at Deering Estate, a 444-acre environmental, archeological, and historical preserve along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Palmetto Bay. Four local playwrights have collaborated ..

Nearly two years ago, Miami’s Zoetic Stage took its first trip into the world of Harold Pinter with an intense, superbly acted production of the Nobel laureate’s 1978 hit “Betrayal” in the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Now Zoetic is delving further back into the Pinter canon with a riveting production of “The Caretaker.” This 1960 work is, like “Betrayal,” a three-character ..

With a heightened emphasis on “Noise” as an innovative musical genre, this sixth installment of the Miami Performance Festival International (M/P’17), running June 23 to 25, challenges South..

After 17 years as a principal dancer with the esteemed San Francisco Ballet, dancing every major role and style possible, Lorena Feijoo is retiring from that company to embark on a new journe..

Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick is a storyteller. Her company Alma Dance Theater brings a particularly female inner world to the stage, through lush and sensual choreography. Nick’s..

Pools are ubiquitous in Miami. They dot the landscape like Jackson Pollock drip paintings. Residents swim or idle the hours away by or in the pool – and dancers of Momentum Dance Company also perf..

May’s “Mujeres” series of strong, multi-faceted, women-focused productions, commissioned for Miami Theater Center’s SandBox space, concludes with Spanish-born dancer-choreographer Carlota Pr..

One could say that Bistoury’s 305 & Havana International Improv Fest, which debuts this Saturday at Miami Theater Center, has been in the works for almost 20 years. In 1999 Cuban-born cho..

The process of creating “Shade,” choreographer Augusto Soledade’s latest full-length work, has been one of remembering and reconfiguring memory to discover new ways of talking about identity ..

Upcoming this week, Tigertail presents choreographer Myriam Gourfink and musician Kasper Toeplitz. Hailing from France, the two will be present for a 3-day residency at Subtropics’ South Beac..

From her home base at 6th Street Dance Studio in Little Havana, longtime Miami dance figure Brigid Baker has been slowly crafting a new performance piece. It’s not conceptual or political like con..

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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