sat 31/10/2020

Cuba

Cuba: Castro vs the World, BBC Two - turbulent life and times of El Comandante

During World War Two, President Franklin D Roosevelt described the USA as “the arsenal of democracy”. Only a couple of decades later, Fidel Castro was busily turning Cuba, only 100 miles from the US mainland, into the factory of revolution,...

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theartsdesk Q&A: horn player Sarah Willis

Horn player Sarah Willis joined the Berlin Philharmonic in 2001. She juggles her position with spells of teaching, interviewing soloists and conductors for the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall and hosting an online series of Horn Hangouts...

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Acosta Danza, Sadler's Wells review - a dose of Cuban sun

Second album, second novel, second tour programme – the follow-up is always tricky. But the timing couldn’t be better for Acosta Danza, the Havana-based dance company which made its UK debut in 2017. These 20 young Cubans, handpicked by Carlos...

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The deathless Alicia Alonso, in person

The magnificent, controversial Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso, who asserted that she would live to 200, died yesterday in Havana, aged nearly 99. Legends are always well protected by their own mythology, yet in 2004, when attending the Havana Ballet...

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On Your Feet!, London Coliseum review - Gloria Estefan bio-musical hits familiar notes

This well-meaning biographical jukebox musical about icons Gloria and Emilio Estefan, which did two years on Broadway and a US tour, is good summer scheduling, what with its Latin-pop bangers, infectious dance routines and “Dreams come true”...

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Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez, Ronnie Scott's review - Cuban wizards of piano and percussion

Percussionist Pedrito Martinez is one of those musicians who forces you to re-think what instruments are capable of – while making you wonder if there is actually anything he can’t do. He plays congas, batá drums and bongos with breathtaking...

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CD: Que Vola - Que Vola

Great music is often born of “what if”s. What if we played Beach Boys-style songs lo-fi, loud, at high velocity? What if we played indie guitar with a hint of Congolese rumba? What if we added a string section to late-Sixties pop-rock? What if we...

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CD: Jah Wobble - Dream World

He's known for his myriad collaborations – Public Image Ltd, Primal Scream, The Orb, The Edge, Can, all the way through to recent work with singers PJ Higgins and Hollie Cook – but Jah Wobble really deserves attention in his own right. A cosmic...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Daymé Arocena - Cubafonia

All things considered, there aren’t many criteria by which this album, however cosmopolitan its influences, sensitive and precise its vocals and supple its rhythms, is really the best of the year. I’ve had a few sleepless nights recently over the...

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Blue Planet II, BBC One review - just how fragile?

The eel is dying. Its body flits through a series of complicated knots which become increasingly grotesque torques. Immersed in a pool of brine — concentrated salt water five times denser than seawater — it is succumbing to toxic shock. As biomatter...

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CD: The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome

It’s a been a good year for the Stones as they play into their sixth decade – a free festival audience in Havana in March, preceded by an adulatory South American trek that saw some of the band’s best performances in recent times – down at the...

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Boardwalk Empire, Series 5, Sky Atlantic

Fans of this dense and rewarding odyssey of Prohibition and American gangsterism are doubtless still reeling from the news that its fifth series will be the last, despite the riotous applause which greeted series four. This unwelcome state of...

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