Havana (Latin Press) Every October 20 in Cuba, intellectuals and creators of the diverse artistic manifestations celebrate the Day of the Culture of the island, to commemorate the first time that the National Anthem was sung.
The historic event took place in 1868, to incite the fight of those Cubans who wanted to fight for the independence of the Homeland. The author of that original piece of the romantic song was Pedro Figueredo, in the city of Bayamo, located in the eastern province of Granma.
The beginning of the fight for the independence of Cuba, on October 10, 1868, motivated the request for a hymn that would be like The Marseillaise of the Cuban Revolutionaries, according to several historians.
The request for a musical composition and lyrics was received by the lawyer, poet and revolutionary known as Perucho Figueredo, who died in August 1870 shot by Spanish troops, but with his forehead up, singing La Bayamesa, as the song that became the National Anthem was initially called.
There is still a manuscript of Perucho’s handwritten piece, which in recent years has been disseminated in books, markers, sweaters and other options, to make it known to more Cubans.
The Cuban Culture Day is used to highlight elements of identity and Cubanness and, in 2020, will be dedicated to four personalities: Alicia Alonso – Cuba’s most universal artist – on the 100th anniversary of her birth and to Buena Vista Social Club diva Omara Portuondo on her 90th birthday.
Portuondo, distinguished in 2019 with the Musical Excellence Award granted by the Latin Recording Academy, the so-called ‘girlfriend of feeling’ is one of Cuba’s most successful and beloved vocalists. Her discography includes some thirty titles and she has recorded with notable musicians from her country and abroad.
While Alonso, who died last year, was a member of the original cast of the American Ballet Theatre in the United States, she founded on her island the first professional ballet company and a unique school in Latin America with many endorsements around the world.
Two other personalities highlighted this year will be the National Prize of Plastic Arts (1997) Alfredo Sosabravo, who also reached nine decades lived, and Elpidio Valdés, a cartoon created 50 years ago by cartoonist Juan Padrón.
The illustration of the character was born to be published as a comic book; but its popularity led it to television and cinema, not only to the delight of children but of all the generations that are grateful to him for the amusing dissemination of the Cuban history.
Colonel Elpidio leads, in the broadest spectrum of this word, an army of mambises, as the fighters for Cuba’s independence were called in the 19th century.
Even his brave horse Palmiche became a cult character for the fans of the series whose actors mark the Cuban popular speech with nice and original phrases.
Cuban culture in the face of Covid-19
Cuban culture this year will be marked -as all nations- by the consequences of the Covid-19 expansion in the planet, which forced to stop airports and film shoots; as well as the programming of theaters, cinemas, galleries, museums, festivals, record presentations and other events.
Faced with an unprecedented and complex panorama, the creators sought solutions to continue offering their talent and many of the proposals were moved to the virtual space provided by the Internet.
Even the Internet brought concerts, audiovisual premieres, some festivals and plastic arts exhibitions like never before.
Crises are also productive for artistic creation, as more than one historian has pointed out over the centuries, and not a few artists -from various branches- have demonstrated.
The Ministry of Culture, in coordination with several institutions, makes an effort to provide entertainment with quality native pieces, transmitted through virtual platforms; but -at the same time- linked to the radio and television of the Caribbean island.
The Cuban Culture Day aims to preserve and strengthen the historical memory and cultural life of the country, in addition to developing projects that contribute to the formation of values in the people.
Regarding the national commemoration, the Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales (Egrem) -a leader in the management of Cuban music- will promote the celebration throughout the country by means of trova clubs, trade fairs and presentations of artists from its catalog.
The record label plans to launch an audiovisual presentation that will pay posthumous tribute to the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, a year after her physical departure, with arrangements and music by Cuban maestro Frank Fernández.
Also, Cuba’s biggest record company will present these days the album tribute to the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso.
(Taken from PL)