The initiative of the Estamos Contigo online concerts, a joint project of the Cuban Ministry of Culture (MinCult), the Cuban Music Institute (ICM) and the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT), which was born in early 2020 as an alternative of healthy and cultured entertainment for the Cuban family from the first days of necessary social distancing due to COVID-19, was an excellent option to disseminate, promote and enhance the best expressions of Cuban music.
These presentations were broadcast on the Cuban Television’s Canal Clave, Radio Progreso and the Ministry of Culture's YouTube channel, and the links were also made available on a hundred Facebook pages, which has made the Cuban archipelago's classical and pop music even more available to the world.
Since its inception to date, the initiative has recorded more than a hundred performances with over three million views in nearly 150 countries, including Internet users in the United States, Cuba and Mexico, who follow this work with great interest thanks to the talent and technical and performing rigor that characterizes Cuban musicians.
The diversity of formats marked these meetings in 2020 with presentations of orchestras, septets, quintets, trios, duos and soloists, as well as a great variety of musical genres such as son, new song, danzón, Latin jazz, salsa, rumba, blues, soul, classical, and world music.
Since the arrival of COVID-19 to the country, this project of online-televised presentations accompanied Cubans during the quarantine and was consolidated as a project with a firm basis to continue promoting the best values of Cuban music in these moments when a new normal is experienced.
"Today, without a doubt, we have grown, fulfilled new challenges, constituted a bigger, united and strong family, persevering in the purpose of bringing our people a new recreational option. With this experience, we have all learned that we can be better", said the president of the Cuban Music Institute (ICM), Indira Fajardo, about the importance of the Estamos Contigo project.
Many possibilities have allowed this work not only to bring the work of performers or groups to the public, but also to bring events such as the Festival del Mar in Cienfuegos, the Romerías de Mayo or the XXX Encuentro de Agrupaciones Soneras de Mayarí, both events in Holguín.
The great talent of Cuban instrumentalists and composers has been reflected throughout these months in these concerts, with a great variety of artists not only from Havana or from the capital, but also from provinces such as Matanzas, Pinar del Río, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Holguín, and Santiago de Cuba, among others.
This effort stands out because of the musicians' efforts to prevent a cultural blackout in Cuba, and also thanks to the cultural communication management that had the support of Rueda Producciones and Lía Videos, among others, to film these concerts, distribute or interlace them through the various platforms of the Ministry of Culture.
During these musical meetings we have enjoyed the talent of singer-songwriter David Blanco, Omara Portuondo and the Failde Orchestra, Eliades Ochoa, Pancho Amat, Alejandro Falcón and Cubadentro, Adrián Berazaín, Luna Manzanares, and Síntesis. Also, Buena Fe, the Septeto Santiaguero, the singers Eduardo Sosa, Marta Campos, Vicente Feliú, Ireno García, and Augusto Blanca.
The participation of iconic orchestras of pop music that make the public dance such as Los Van Van, Adalberto Álvarez y su Son, Elito Revé y su Charangón, la Aragón, Alexander Abreu y Habana D' Primera, Bamboleo, Yumurí y sus Hermanos, Pupy y los que Son Son, and Anacaona, among others.
In addition to high-flying, poetic musical offerings such as those starring Polito Ibañez, Rochy Ameneiro, César López, Waldo Mendoza, and Annie Garcés.
Talented Cuban instrumentalists and composers marked these events, such as the Cuban showman Bobby Carcassés, the young Janio Abreu, Aldo López-Gavilán, Roberto Fonseca, Harold López-Nussa, and Rodrigo García Ameneiro.
Likewise, we were able to enjoy the performances by the Havana Chamber Orchestra under the direction of maestro Daiana García, or the Música Eterna Chamber Orchestra, conducted by maestro Guido López Gavilán, as well as the chamber work performed by the Dúo Ondina, D'Accord, Promúsica, and the Ébanos de La Habana Clarinet Quartet.
A beautiful gift was given during these concerts, the two dedicated to the 125th anniversary of Ernesto Lecuona's birth, which included among other performances the masterful piano performance by Maestro Huberal Herrera, who was recently distinguished with the 2020 National Music Award.
Without a doubt, the Estamos Contigo project has given greater splendor to Cuban culture and shown the musical diversity that characterizes the largest of the Antilles and its most genuine exponents. Therefore, we do not hesitate to affirm that it will be a valid, necessary and essential initiative in this 2021 and that it will continue fruitfully in the coming years for the sake of the nation.
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