Cuba has been all over the news lately. We as a nation are still trying to understand how to go about our situation with our not-quite-neighbor.
People are naturally curious and this curiosity is spilling over to Cuba. We want to see, hear and taste their cultural, and it's well within reason to expect they hope for the same.
If there was ever a place to experience a culture, it's New York City.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Representative Charles Rangel announced that NYC will be holding the first-ever Harlem/Havana Music & Cultural Festival.
Harlem/Havana will bring world-renowned Cuban musicians, visual artists, dancers, film, chefs and educators to the U.S. as part of Harlem Week running from August 15th through the 21st.
The event is expected to be annual, but with an interesting twist.
Next February, cultural representatives from Harlem will take a trip to Havana to share aspects of Harlem's culture with Havana natives.
"The value of cultural exchange is undeniable - and the rich artistic traditions of Harlem and Havana make this an incredible opportunity for both learning and entertainment," said Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin.
"I thank Lloyd Williams, Governor Cuomo and Congressmen Rangel and Meeks for their leadership and vision to make this unique program a reality."
"This new cultural collaboration reinforces the unique and storied history of Harlem and Havana. Through this new program, we look forward to showcasing the vibrant music, dance, culture and culinary offerings these two iconic places share and further strengthening this incredible bond," said Fred Dixon, president & CEO of NYC & Company, New York City's official destination marketing organization.
This event has been a long time coming, and the significance cannot be overstated.
“Harlem and Havana have been home to some of this world’s top artistic icons who have brought memorable music and art to the world” said Lloyd Williams, President of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.
“This festival and a new relationship between these two iconic cities can only prove beneficial to the world.”
Among the selected artists are César López and the Habana Ensemble, a super group featuring some of Cuba’s top musicians, Luis Pacheco, one of the leading pianists of the new generation of jazz in Cuba, and Edward Roca Salazar, also known as Choco, deemed by The New York Times as one of Cuba’s “most distinguished printmakers."
It's great to see Harlem, a spot with so much history and passion, get the shine in this cultural exchange.
On the other hand (and not to undermine any of the significance), but per usual, New York City's at the front of impactful cultural change. Just another day in the life. #NBD[Feature Image Courtesy CBS New York]