William Vivanco was born on October 6. 1975 in Santiago de Cuba and is a popular music star, composer and musician. Vivanco learned to play guitar by frequenting the Jazz Club in Santiago de Cuba called Casa de la Trova located on the city’s bustling Calle Heredia. As he says, he started “stealing chords” from back then. He later made ends meet as a street busker, offering melodies in the streets of his city. He also performed with a professional children’s choir. He trained his voice, learning the techniques that would enable him to develop his distinctively percussive vocal style. He also played day-long romerias and, additionally spent time at the Festival of Singers of the Americas in Guantanamo.
“Bu-lu-la-la-la, la-la-bu …” When William Vivanco walks the streets of Havana, that’s what people sing, his emblematic chorus of the song “Cimarron”, the song (and especially video) that made him a star.
“I wrote Cimarrón using funny little onomatopoeic sounds, ‘bu-lu-la-la’, and those sorts of things which became, at the time, a kind of a big joke,” said Vivanco. The joke turned into a smash hit, even if it seems at odds with the more serious undertone of the songs lyrics about slavery and personal freedoms. The word ” Cimarrón” (literally translated, “one who lives in the tops of the mountains”) refers to African slaves who escaped from their Spanish masters and hid in the mountains. The song is also the story of the quest for personal freedoms of Vivanco himself.
Vivanco first went to Havana when he was 23 years old. The Bis Music label spotted him at the Santa Clara song festival and, in 2002, offered him the possibility to make his first solo album called Lo Tengo To’ Pensa’o a mix of Brazilian rhythms, pop and reggae. His song and the accompanying video clip “Cimarrón” became extremely popular in Cuba.
In 2006, Vivanco recorded his second solo album, La Isla Milagrosa (the Miraculous Island), produced by Descemer Bueno and Roberto Carcassés. More recently, Vivanco has started to distance himself from his funkier, poppier tunes in favor of music that is more “Santiaguera” (from Santiago), more Cuban, more rhythmic – more traditional.
In 2003 Vivanco performed in France at Les Transmusicales de Rennes festival in northern France, then in 2004 at the Paléo Festival Nyon in Switzerland. He later performed at the Cuban night of Les Nuits de Fourvière de Lyon, and in August 2005 he performed at the Vence festival Les Nuits du Sud in France.
2002: William Vivanco – Lo Tengo To’ Pensa’o
2006: William Vivanco – La Isla Milagrosa
2009: William Vivanco – El Mundo Está Cambia’o
Official Website http://www.williamvivanco.com
The first edition of Havana World Music ( HWM ) was held in February 2014. Cuba’s first ever music festival featuring international artists is already being planned for the 2015 edition. The festival takes place at the old baseball field José Antonio Echevarría (old Vedado tennis Club), between the Pier and the downtown main street called Calzada .
The whole event was conceived under a nonprofit scenario, led by young Cuban singer and composer Eme Alfonso, the 1st Havana World Music Festival took place in February 2014 and sought to open a window from Cuba onto the world and from the world onto Cuba.
“The focus of HWM is to give the Cuban people the chance to become acquainted with the musical diversity of Cuba and the world, as well as to encourage exchanges among international and Cuban bands. This can be very beneficial to the musicians, producers and musical promoters in Cuba.” Eme Alfonso.
The festival focuses on different genres and styles that work from the roots but aim to reach a wide audience. Therefore, alternative music, which merges popular genres like rock, reggae, salsa or electronic music, is predominant in Havana World Music. The HWM program is rounded off by folk groups that participated in Eme Alfonso’s Para Mestizar Project, a documentary music video that shows the cultural heritage of Cuba.
Young Cuban singer and composer Eme Alfonso had the idea of merging sonic identities of various regions of the planet at HWM, a project with novel features which was extremely successful, bringing thousands of Cubans and international tourists to the stadium. Eme Alfonso says his concept for the event came from from a video clip made by the controversial Cuban singer Pedro Luis Ferrer, whose work has always been linked to social and political changes in Cuba.
This initial edition featured keynote presentations by groups like Déjà Vu ( Cuba ) and based on the pop -reggae ; Eme Alfonso; Janfree (Spain); William Vivanco (Cuba); La Máquina del Caribe (Colombia); Proyecto Para Mestizar, DJoy de Cuba; Pauza; Van Van; Síntesis; X Alfonso; Fuel Fandango (Spain); Auntie Flo (UK).
HWM was attended by thousands of young viewers the Superior Institute of Art (ISA) and other schools of art from Cuba’s education system.
The festival was sponsored in part by the British Embassy in Havana.
Admission fee was set at 25 pesos CUP which was a limiting factor for many young families. The 2015 event is hoping to be free entrance if enough sponsorship can be acquired.
Havanatur is pleased to announce CubaDisco 2014. Each year Cubadisco is dedicated to a country and a musical genre and also pays tribute to artists and personalities with a distinguished creative work within the Cuban Music industry. Specialized conferences, expositions, colloquiums, concerts and CD launching take place during the event, as well as a wide musical program at different theaters and salons of Havana, with the participation of many Cuban and foreign groups and singers. The shows at CubaDisco 2014 are spectacular and worthier visiting. Most concerts are free during the event which in 2014 will take place between 17 and 25 of may. Havanatur offers special rates for visitors to CubaDisco.
In 1964 all the record labels in Cuba were merged together under the name of Recordings and Musical Editions Enterprise (EGREM), which maintained a monopoly for almost 25 years in Cuban music. Towards the end of the 80s, other Recording Labels were formed, including ARTEX S.A, RTV Comercial and the studios P.M Record of Pablo Milanés and Ojalá of Silvio Rodríguez. A further three Cuban record labels were also established: Art Color, Caribe Productions and Magic Music. All these labels now represent the numerous Cuban musicians who have now become stars in their own country and worldwide and will be present at CubaDisco 2014.
Vista CubaDisco 2014 with Havanatur!
Cuban Reggaeton Stars
Cuban Reggaeton is an urban form of music which started in Havana in the late 90´s which has its roots in Latin and Caribbean music. Its sound originates from the Reggae en Español from central America and countries like Colombia and Panama. The genre was invented, shaped and made known in Puerto Rico in the early 1990´s where it got its name. Popular songs have been:
La mordidita by Candyman y la Familia
Chupa chupa by El Médico (banned in Cuba)
Tu eres bella by Topaz Sound
La nica by Klan Destino
Pídeme (Topaz sound remix) by Cubanito
Vamos pa la disco by Control Cubano
Bayubybaye by Candyman y la Familia
Brujeria by El Médico
Caramelo by Candyman y la Familia
Come on by Michel & el Médico
Pídeme un deseo by Control Cubano
Carmencita by El Médico
Pa la tinta by Klan Destino
Será que no me quiere by Candyman y la Familia
Te amaré by Michel
Letra Goddess by Topaz Sound
Most of its current artists are also from Cuba and Puerto Rico. After its mainstream exposure in 2004 on the Cubaton, it has multiplied to North American, European, Asian and African audiences.
Cuban Reggaeton mixes Jamaican musical influences of dancehall, and Trinidadian soca with sounds from Latin America, such as salsa, bomba, electronic and Latin hip hop. Vocals include rapping and singing some songs are quite vulgar and were recently banned in Cuba because of the demeaning nature of lyrics towards women. Lyrics tend to be derived from hip hop and current news events and street slang. Like hip hop, Cuban reggaeton has caused some controversy, albeit less, due to alleged sexual exploitation of women.
“Cuban reggaeton has caused some controversy”
While it takes influences from hip hop and Jamaican dancehall, reggaeton is not exactly the Hispanic or Latin American version of either whereas Latin hip hop is more like hip hop recorded by artists of Latino descent.
Cuban Reggaeton is very popular among the 14 to 20 year younger Cubans and is played extensively at 15th (Los quinces) birthday parties and disco events in Havana and around Cuba.
Cuban Reggaeton was recently banned from public radio due to the lyrics of certain songs and the sexual undertones such as the aforementioned Cuban Reggaeton song chupa chupa which is about oral sex
Cuban Reggaeton Songs
Los Van Van
Los Van Van is a Cuban band led by bassist Juan Formell, and is the most recognized post-revolution Cuban bands. Formell is one of the most important figures in contemporary Cuban music.
In 2011, they collaborated with Carlinhos Brown to record the song “Soy Loco por Tí, América” for the Red Hot Organization’s most recent charitable album “Red Hot+Rio 2.” The album is a follow-up to the 1996 “Red Hot + Rio.” Proceeds from the sales will be donated to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS/HIV and related health and social issues.
In 1967, Formell became musical director of Elio Reve’s charanga orchestra. The sound of Orquesta Revé at that time was a unique blend of Cuban son and late 60s rock. Formell reformed the group into Changui ’68, and then founded his own group, Los Van Van, on December 4, 1969.
Juan Formell was convinced that he could capture the imagination of Cuba’s younger generation by infusing Revé’s arrangements with elements of North American rock and roll, creating an odd new style that he called changüí 68. Early the next year, almost exactly a decade after Revé’s band had jumped ship to form [Orquesta] Ritmo Oriental, . . . Formell incited the most famous of the Revé mutinies and absconded with the majority of the musicians to form a group which has stayed at the true leading edge of its country’s music longer than any other . . . at first Formell relied heavily on the songs and stylistic tendencies of his previous work with Revé. The harmonies, never before heard in Cuban music, were clearly borrowed from North American pop—in some cases rather corny North American pop . . . their sudden commercial popularity shattered the formulaic limitations on harmony to which Cuban popular music had faithfully adhered for so long . . . rhythmically, the 1969 group made the transition from changüí 68 to the first incarnation of a style which Formell called songo (Moore 2011)
The original personnel of Los Van Van were: Juan Formell (leader, bass guitar, vocals); Orlando Canto (flute); Raúl “El Yulo” Cárdenas (congas); Blas Egües (drum kit); Luis Marsilli (cello); José Luis Martínez (electric guitar, vocals); Julio Noroña (güiro); Pupy Pedroso (keyboard); Miguel Angel “Lele” Rasalps (vocals); William Sánchez (electric guitar), and Gerardo Miró, Jesús Linare, Fernando Leyva, and Iván Rocha (violins).
José Luis “Changuito” Quintana replaced Egües in 1970. Changuito greatly expanded the parameters of songo, and introduced a revolutionary conga and timbales technique, by incorporating snare drum rudiments. Changuito is the most influential Cuban percussionist of the latter twentieth century.
“Los Van Van technique on conga”
Changuito’s rhythmic contributions coincided with Formell’s maturation as a songwriter and LVV launched into a six year period which alone would have been sufficient to establish them as one of Cuba’s most important bands. LVV’s recordings from 1970-1976 are the definite starting point for anyone seeking to learn about the enigmatic genre of songo (Moore 2011).
In 1974 Los Van Van released their landmark record Tránsito (LD-3421) [Los Van Van v. II]. Also that year, vocalist Pedro Calvo left Orquesta Ritmo Oriental to join Los Van Van. Calvo fronted the band for two decades. Los Van Van v. V (Areíto LD-378) (1979) premiered compositions by Pedro Calvo, José Luis “El Tosco” Cortés, and Pupy Pedroso, who would go on to become the group’s second most prolific composer after Formell.
On El baile del buey cansao (Areíto LD-4045) [Los Van Van v. VII] (1982), Changuito added timbales, which he altered with drum kit. With their 1984 release of Anda ven y muévete (Areíto LD-4164) [Los Van Van v. IX], Van Van began getting unprecedented international attention. The title track borrows heavily from Lionel Ritchie’s hit “All Night Long.” Salsa singer Rubén Blades later covered “Muévete.”
Los Van Van Group History
Nightlife in Cuba 101
For those of you looking for the best Nightlife in Cuba and music then we have a few suggestions for you! We´ve scoured the best and worst of Nightlife in Cuba to bring you this list
Cuba nightlife is a sizzling proposition. A country with this much passion and rhythm is hard to find anywhere else, and when you set the stage with inspiring Cuban music, what you have is nightlife bliss. If you’ve been taking Salsa dancing lessons and want to put your moves to the test, Cuba has got you more than covered. Don’t know how to dance Salsa yet? Venture out to one to any number of dance clubs Cuba offers, and you are bound to find a teacher. Clubs, bars and jazz lounges are just some of the Cuba nightlife options, and if you are lucky, you will be invited by a local to experience a private Cuba house party. Talk about a story to tell when you get back.
Individual handpicked places for Nightlife in Cuba
“Nightlife in Cuba is simply astounding!! Rock on”
For Nightlife in Cuba and fantastic music, whether it be Cuban salsa music, Reggaeton, Jazz or Rumba Nightlife in Cuba is electrifying and will enchant you during every visit
Nightlife in Cuba 101
Sponsored by Car Rental Cuba
Paulito FG is known as a great musician, an all round artist who has build up his career with profound intelligence, incontestable amount of talent and artistic devotion in each performance.
Paulo Alfonso Fernandez Gallo, was born in HavanaCuba, at the age of 19, Paulito FG started clarinet classes in the conservatorium Ignacio Cervantes. The exceptional sound of his voice impressed those around him and won him a reference to Benny More music records producers, beginning, thus, his career as a professional singer.
He participated in 1986 with Adalberto Alvarez y su Son in the Varadero International Festival.
2 years later, he was already the lead singer of the group Dan Den, (lead by Juan Carlos Alfonso) where two of his themes “El Humo o la Vida” and “Siempre hay un Ojo que te Ve” shot him to stardom.
He released in 1991,with Opus 13 (under maestro Joaquin Betancourt) a first album containing mostly songs written by him.
A year after, he went on a highly praised Mexico Tour and at his return created his own group called Paulito FG y su Élite which debuted on april 19 at Neptuno Hotel, La Habana
The new 1993 band’s first album “Tu no Me Calculas” is released in Havana and Tokio at the same time, resulting in a smashing success.
He signed a deal with Magic Music record company In 1994 based in Barcelona and records his second album “Sofocándote” which remained lodged at the top of the national charts for a record 22 consecutive weeks.
Paulito FG s third album ” El bueno soy yo ” received unparalleled success, which won him an EGREM Awards as Best Dance Music and Popular categories of the year.
He released his fourth album with Fania Records In 1997, ” Con la Conciencia Tranquila “. again, many of his songs remain atop the Cuban and international charts.
The next year, he released an homage album dedicated to Puerto Rican salsero Tito Puente where he includes boleros and guarachas from the 60′s.
Another greatly acclaimed album is released 2000, the disc ” Una Vez Mas por Amor “.
The seventh album ” Te deseo Suerte “, an overwhelming success both nationally and internationally, was released in 2002.
Paulito FG since 1992 has been taking his music to worldwide stages of 20 countries with chart-topping songs in New York, Miami and Bogota, reported by Latin Beat magazine.
The songs have been performed by important salsa stars such as, Jhonny Rivera and Isidro Infante. In Cuba, based on public polls, Paulito remained the most popular singer from 1992 until to today.
Now, his mature work can be illustrious by well-studied melodic lines, unconventional rhythmic passages, a restrained rock energy, and lyrics that are faithful chronicles of our times, yet refuse to yield to simplistic formulas or vulgarity.
Paulito FG conveys the articulateness of Cuba´s streets, the lively popular poetry, and reality. His victorious fusion of music genres such as rock, balada, jazz and son amounts to a great blend of original lyrics.
Paulito FG he’s a music artist, to his public, the most well-liked of current times and to him, an unalterable movie fan and a Jazz loyal fan. Above all things, Paulo is highly respectful of his public and an unconditional music lover”.
Chucho has won 4 Grammy awards: in 1978 for the album Live at Newport by Irakere; in 1998 for his contribution to the CD Havana by his band Crisol (formed in 1997), with two songs Mr. Bruce and Mambo para Roy written by Chucho in 2003 for his album Live at the Village Vanguard; and in 2011 for his album Chucho Steps. Chucho Valdes by his Piano
On 16 October 2006, Chucho Valdes was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations
Renowned the world over as a musical giant, the six and a half foot tall Chucho Valdes physical stature apes his musical accomplishment. The Afro-Cuban musician has been the recipient of five Grammy Award nominations and two Grammys. His fascinating blend of African, South American, Cuban, and Spanish musical traditions seemed to rate a category of music all its own, and was just beginning to garner wide recognition in the United States in the late 1990s. In 1996 Valdes played on Roy Hargrove’s widely acclaimed album Crisol, and numerous U.S. concert dates and a North American record contract followed.
Music of Cuba
The music of Cuba, including the instruments and the dances, is mostly of European (Spanish) and African origin. Most forms of the present day are creolized fusions and mixtures of these two sources. Almost nothing remains of the original Indian traditions.
The Caribbean island of Cuba has developed a wide range of creolized musical styles, based on its cultural origins in Europe and Africa. Since the 19th century its music has been hugely popular and influential throughout the world. It has been perhaps the most popular form of world music since the introduction of recording technology.
Large numbers of African slaves and European (mostly Spanish) immigrants came to Cuba and brought their own forms of music to the island. European dances and folk musics included zapateo, fandango, paso doble and retambico. Later, northern European forms like minuet, gavotte, mazurka, contradanza, and the waltz appeared among urban whites. There was also an immigration of Chinese indentured laborers later in the 19th century.
Fernando Ortiz, the first great Cuban folklorist, described Cuba’s musical innovations as arising from the interplay (‘transculturation’) between African slaves settled on large sugar plantations and Spaniards or Canary Islanders who grew tobacco on small farms. The African slaves and their descendants made many percussion instruments and preserved rhythms they had known in their homeland. The most important instruments were the drums, of which there were originally about fifty different types; today only the bongos, congas and batá drums are regularly seen (the timbales are descended from kettle drums in Spanish military bands). Also important are the claves, two short hardwood batons, and the cajón, a wooden box, originally made from crates. Claves are still used often, and cajons (cajones) were used widely during periods when the drum was banned. In addition, there are other percussion instruments in use for African-origin religious ceremonies. Chinese immigrants contributed the corneta china (Chinese cornet), a Chinese reed instrument still played in the comparsas, or carnival groups, of Santiago de Cuba.
The great instrumental contribution of the Spanish was their guitar, but even more important was the tradition of European musical notation and techniques of musical composition. Hernando de la Parra’s archives give some of our earliest available information on Cuban music. He reported instruments including the clarinet, violin and vihuela. There were few professional musicians at the time, and fewer still of their songs survive. One of the earliest is Ma Teodora, by a freed slave, Teodora Gines of Santiago de Cuba, who was famous for her compositions. The piece is said to be similar to ecclesiastic European forms and 16th century folk songs.
Cuban music has its principal roots in Spain and West Africa, but over time has been influenced by diverse genres from different countries. Important among these are France (and its colonies in the Americas), and the United States.
Cuban music has been immensely influential in other countries. It contributed not only to the development of jazz and salsa, but also to the Argentinian tango, Ghanaian high-life, West African Afrobeat, Dominican Bachata and Merengue, Colombian Cumbia and Spanish Nuevo flamenco.
The African beliefs and practices certainly influenced Cuba’s music. Polyrhythmic percussion is an inherent part of African music, as melody is part of European music. Also, in African tradition, percussion is always joined to song and dance, and to a particular social setting. The result of the meeting of European and African cultures is that most Cuban popular music is creolized. This creolization of Cuban life has been happening for a long time, and by the 20th century, elements of African belief, music and dance were well integrated into popular and folk forms.