Archive for the Cuba Category


Posted in Cuba, Cuba Music, video archives on February 14, 2011 by Listen Recovery

Show Poster for Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba 1974 Adadda Drums

CONJUNTO FOLKLORICO NACIONAL DE CUBA was founded in 1962. The Ensemble has always had as main purposes to contribute to the rescue and recovery of our dance and musical roots with the possibility of choosing those manifestations of truely artistic value so as to organize them in accordance with the modern theatretical techniques without betraying its folklore essence.Today after 35 years of being founded the Ensemble has developed an Art style.It is Theater-Folklore with strong aesthetic effectiviness and power on stage.

El Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba has provided more than eight hundred thousand representations through its 93 international tours in Europe, America and Asia, audiences from more than three hundred cities and towns have applauded the profound national art of this dance ensemble. The most prestigious stages in the world, from Paris to Moscow, from Lima to Mexico, New York ,Canada, Madrid, from Florence to Varsovia to Argel, Washington D.C , Angola, Mozambique, Ghana or Zambia have received with acceptance its performance and different audiences have acclaimed in numerous languages the traditional songs and dances created by the Cuban people.

State-of-the-art stages as the Palace of the Berlin Republic or the ancient marbles of the Argel Roman Theater have vibrated with the rhythyms of the drums, songs and dances performed by theConjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba.

International Folklore Festival as the Sarah Bernhardt Theater of Nations from Paris , Cervantino from Guanajuato, Mexico, Carifesta from Guyana and others have happily received the friendly homage the artists of the Ensemble have offered to them and they have also awarded this beautiful behavior with Awards and Diplomas such as:the Golden Barrel and the Silver Necklace given by the International Festival of La Viña in 1975 held in Dijón, France and la Usuta de Oro in the Festi’Danza 1974 y 1984 in Peru, the Billingham Tray ,England and the Golden Temple from Sicily, Italy among others.

Trinidad Torregrosa
Trinidad in front of his canastillero or altar with set of bata drums under construction.

Trinidad Torregosa
Trinidad was one of the first drummers in Havana who was both a drum maker and excellent player.

Fernando Ortiz with Aguedo Moralés, Pablo Roche, Jesús Pérez

Los Primeros Tamboreros Yoruba de Cuba
Trinidad Torregrosa, Pablo Roche, Raúl Diaz, “Pablo” and Giraldo Rodríguez, 1954 (Crédits photo: Fernando Ortiz)

Jesús Pérez

Carlos Lazaro Aldama Pérez – 1959

Isora Pedroso por Eleguá


OMARA PORTUONDO (CUBA): bio & photography. (wikipedia + Listen Recovery research)

Posted in Afro Sounds, Buena Vista Social Club, Cuba, Latin Sounds, Listen Recovery, Omara Portuondo, photography, video archives on October 21, 2009 by Listen Recovery

omara portuondo cover

Early life and career

Omara Portuondo was born one of three sisters; her mother came from a wealthy Spanish family, and had created a scandal by running off with and marrying a black professional baseball player. Omara joined the dance group of the Cabaret Tropicana in 1950, following her elder sister, Haydee. She also danced in the Mulatas de Fuego in the theatre Radiocentro, and in other dance groups. The two sisters also used to sing for family and friends, and in 1947 joined the Loquibambia Swing, a group formed by the blind pianist Frank Emilio Flynn.

From 1952–1953 she sang for the Orquesta Anacaona, and later in 1953 both sisters joined (together with Elena Burke and Moraima Secada) the singing group Cuarteto d’Aida, formed and directed by pianist Aida Diestro.  The group had considerable success, touring the United States, performing with Nat King Cole at the Tropicana, and recording an album for RCA Victor. In 1957 the sisters recorded an album with the quartet.  In 1959 Portuondo recorded a solo album, Magia Negra, involving both jazz and Cuban music. Haydee left the Cuarteto d’Aida in 1961 in order to live in the U.S.A. and Omara continued singing with the quartet until 1967.

In 1967 Portuondo embarked on a solo career, and in the same year represented Cuba at the Sopot Festival in Poland, singing Juanito Marquez’ “Como un Milagro”. Alongside her solo work, in the 1970s she sang with the charanga Orquesta Aragon, and toured with them abroad.

In 1974 she recorded, with guitarist Martin Rojas, an album in which she lauds Salvador Allende and the people of Chile a year after the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. Among other hits from the album, she sang Carlos Puebla’s beautiful “Hasta Siempre Comandante”, which refers to Ché Guevara.

During the 1970s and 1980s Portuondo enjoyed success at home and abroad, with tours, albums (including one of her most lauded recordings in 1984 with Adalberto Alvarez), film roles, and her own television series.

Buena Vista Social Club and since
Portuondo sang (duetting with Ibrahim Ferrer) on the album Buena Vista Social Club in 1996. This led not only to more touring (including playing at Carnegie Hall with the Buena Vista troupe) and her appearance in Wim Wenders’ film The Buena Vista Social Club, but to two further albums for the World Circuit label: Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo (2000) and Flor de Amor (2004). In July 2005 she presented a symphonic concert of her most important repertoire at the Berlin Festival Classic Open Air am Gendarmenmarkt for an audience of 7,000. The entire program was specially orchestrated by Roberto Sánchez Ferrer, a conductor/pianist with whom she had worked during her early years at Havana’s Tropicana Club. Scott Lawton conducted the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg.

In 2007 she is performing the title role to sold out audiences in Lizt Alfonso’s dance musical “Vida”, the story of modern Cuba through the eyes and with the memories of an old woman. In this same year, her performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival was released on DVD. She recorded in 2008 a duets album with Brazilian singer Maria Bethania, named Maria Bethania e Omara Portuondo. In 2008 she recorded the Album Gracias as a tribute to the 60th anniversary of her singing career.

Omara Portuondo






KORDA: Havana, Cuba. (bio by Wikipedia)

Posted in Cuba, Korda, photography, Revolutionary/Revolucionario on September 25, 2009 by Listen Recovery


Korda, whose real name was Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez, was born on 14 September 1928 in Havana, Cuba.  He got his first taste of photography when he took his father’s Kodak 35mm and began taking pictures of his girlfriend.  Korda was the son of a railway worker, and took many jobs before beginning as a photographer’s assistant. “My main aim was to meet women”, he once confessed. He did succeed in his aim. His second wife, Natalia (Norka) Menendez, was a well known Cuban fashion model.  He was a photographer for the Cuban newspaper Revolución in 1960 when he produced on March 5, 1960 the iconic image of Che Guevara, that became a worldwide symbol of revolution and rebellion.

He never received any royalties for the image, because Castro did not recognize the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. In 2000, he sued Smirnoff over the use of the image in advertisement. Commenting on the illicit use of his photograph, the artist said, “As a supporter of the ideals for which Che Guevara died, I am not averse to its reproduction by those who wish to propagate his memory and the cause of social justice throughout the world, but I am categorically against the exploitation of Che’s image for the promotion of products such as alcohol, or for any purpose that denigrates the reputation of Che”.

His out-of-court settlement of US $50,000 was donated to the Cuban healthcare system. He said, “If Che were still alive, he would have done the same”. However, he told a BBC World Service reporter that he did approve of the 1999 Che Jesus adaptation of the image used by the Churches Advertising Network to promote church attendance in the UK.  The truth is that Korda gave the picture for free to Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, an Italian publisher who had published Doctor Zhivago and went on to publish Castro’s diaries. Feltrinelli had the copyright for some time and benefited financially from the picture .

After the revolution, Korda became Fidel Castro’s personal photographer for 10 years, accompanying Castro on trips and in meetings with foreign personalities. During this time he also took pictures of demonstrations, sugar cane harvests and factory scenes.  Other less-known Fidel Castro images by Korda include shots of Castro staring warily at a tiger in a New York zoo, playing golf and fishing with Che Guevara, skiing and hunting in Russia, and with Ernest Hemingway.

Korda’s work also includes pictures of Castro’s rebels riding into Havana after their triumph, and one known as The Quixote of the Lamp Post showing a Cuban wearing a straw hat and sitting on a lamp post against a sea of people during a rally.  From 1968 to 1978 he concentrated on underwater photography until a Japanese exhibition in 1978 stimulated international interest in his work. He appeared briefly in the pre-title sequence of Wim Wenders’ film Buena Vista Social Club in 1999, although he was uncredited.

Korda suffered a fatal heart attack in Paris in 2001 while presenting an exhibition of his work. He is buried in the Colon Cemetery, Havana.