I'm partaking in a humanitarian trip to Cuba for educational studies and music advocacy, particularly for young adults in music.
Odd as it may sound, modern day American music owes a whole lot to Cuba. Cuba's rich history of rhythms and styles bridged a gap between European and African musical traditions and created a whole new sound that eventually traveled up the pipeline to the US, digging in its heels in New Orleans. From there, it morphed into blues and jazz, and later, rock and roll. However, because of the political situation, the ties between the Cuban and American artistic communities are severed. Cuban musicians are not allowed to tour the United States, and vice versa, meaning both countries lose out on access to a rich heritage and potentially richer future. Who loses out the most here? The musicians, particularly the young ones, who don't have the resources to change their situation. Why does that matter? If there is no one to preserve the history and then expand upon it and incorporate other cultures to create new styles, there is no future of music.
I will be traveling to Cuba over the winter with a humanitarian-based arts organization to lend a hand and providing aid to underprivileged musicians. While there, I will be interviewing people in the music community about how we can foster more open relationships between the artistic communities in the US and Cuba. The information will also be used to create an educational curriculum for American exchange students from my alma mater who want to learn about the culture hands-on. Additionally, I will be working on several journalism projects focusing on music advocacy and helping artists (particularly young ones) to expand their opportunities and find a voice outside of Cuba. Think something a little like Buena Vista Social Club, but for children and young adults.
The money raised here will be used to help provide the people and the tools (specifically the educational and advocacy costs-providing guitar strings and reeds for instruments, and music instruction books, for example). It's a little tricky, because due to the nature of Cuban-American ties, people cannot directly contribute to Cuba (the US government considers that giving the money directly to the regime, which is really not far off), so you have to contribute through other channels (like donating money to volunteer organizations who purchase the goods and literally hand-deliver them). It's a little confusing, but I'm happy to send more details on the situation. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
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Oct 27, 2009 - Dec 20, 2009
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Two free downloads of any of my songs. You pick the songs, and I send 'em your way.
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A copy of my CD, Back to LA, plus a free download of any of my songs (including any of the new acoustic recordings)
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A framed photograph of your choice chosen from any taken from the trip
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For those of you feeling REALLY generous, this gift is a custom acoustic song written and recorded just for you! You pick the style and the subject matter, and I will write and record a song for you.