Cuban Cultural Exchange

Looney Red Head

     While taking dancing lessons at the Dance Spectrum studio in Sunnyvale, California, I had met a redhead named Angie, an interior decorator who wasted no time coming on to me. She was not a pale-face, but had a golden tan, and wore a lotion that gave her a noticeable sheen. With the tattoo and bracelet on her left leg, she took it to the max. Being in a state of loneliness, I became her sugar daddy; in turn she became my Mary Jane. She was loony and I was daffy. What a pair we made.
     After a few weeks, I had invited her over to my travel trailer one afternoon, to have her check out the theater I was purchasing in Vallejo. I planned to use her decorating skills for the place. My intention was to have the building renovated for live Latin musical performances. A representative of the building’s real estate owner had allowed me to borrow the blue prints, which I had taken to an architecture firm in San Francisco. I had manifested so much charisma, that I had convinced the architects to develop the plans for a manipulative spot light, stage lighting and a runway aisle. After returning and checking out the drawing, I never returned again. I then realized how easy it was to become a polished confidence man—a skill mastered by seasoned cult leaders.

Cultural Exchange

     Due to my passion for Cuban music, I had masterminded a proposal to hire musicians from Cuba to perform at the new club. In parallel, I planned to have my own salsa band of local musicians wearing the traditional ’40s style ruffled sleeve shirts like shown in The Mambo Kings movie below.

     The objective was to establish a cross cultural exchange by having American musicians perform concerts in Cuba, and Cuban musicians perform concerts in America. Thus, improving international relationships between the states and Cuba, and eventually cause a rebellion in the Castro regime. In fact, Ry Cooder and his son had accomplished this cultural exchange later in the mid ‘90s. They were influential in bringing the Buena Vista Social Club to perform a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
     So even though my original plan failed, other musicians had already been working at implementing this cultural exchange by fleeing Cuba. Examples are trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and saxophonist Carlos Averhoff, both from the group Irakere (Yoruba for jungle); both of them had obtained diplomatic asylum in the U.S. that same year (1990). Other Cuban musicians have also emigrated to Spain and France to obtain freedom of musical expression.
     More recently other groups have participated in the exchange, such as: Orquesta de Camera Concierto Sur of Cienfuegos of Cuba, Cuban salsa stars Los Van Van, and even the classical National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba have participated.
     To sum up, music is an international language that should be allowed to span cultures, religions and international borders without political hindrances. An introspection of my childhood passion for the Cuban people can be read in my poem titled: A Cuban Lament.  (Click Here) to view on separate page.

The following is a video of the Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall featuring the late Ibrahim Ferrer, loaded by pidzej78 on Jun 29, 2007 (2:10 mins):

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2 comments on “Cuban Cultural Exchange

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