Tour To Havana, Cuba | Festival Shows & Live CD Recording
Tour To Havana, Cuba | Festival Shows & Live CD Recording
The first American group ever invited to Cuba's International Danzón Festival. Shows will be recorded for new CD 'Live from Havana.'
The first American group ever invited to Cuba's International Danzón Festival. Shows will be recorded for new CD 'Live from Havana.' Read more
About this project
Tour To Havana, Cuba | Festival Shows & Live CD Recording
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Charanga Tropical is the first American ensemble ever invited to perform at the prestigious International Danzón Festival in Havana, Cuba. The biannual festival celebrates the musical style of danzón and features the top charanga bands in Cuba. From June 24th to 30th, 2015 Charanga Tropical will perform festival concerts at venues throughout the city. All shows will be professionally recorded. Following the festival a session in a Havana studio will also be recorded. The music will be later edited, mixed and mastered for the CD 'Charanga Tropical - Live from Havana.'
Featuring Musicians: Doug Little, Erika Blanco, Aja Majkrzak, LaTannia Ellerbe, Craig Russo, Mariano Flores, Andrew Gillespie, Joe Strachan, Graydon Peterson, Juan Castro, Franklin Paz Videographers/Photographers: Jacob Little, Walter Horishynk Recording Engineers: Matt Zimmerman (photo by John Whiting), Japhlet Bire Attias
The Danzón Festival is thrilled that an American group will perform this year and we're equally excited about all the interaction we'll have with Cuban musicians, dancers, and other festival participants.
Through Kickstarter, you can part of this new era of American/Cuban relations. Charanga Tropical will be posting regular updates from both the US and Cuba and sharing great 'rewards.' There is even an opportunity for you to travel with Charanga Tropical to Havana and gain exlclusive access to shows and other locales. Read on for full details.
Below, the official letter of invitation for Charanga Tropical to perform at the 2015 International Danzón Festival in Havana. Click image for larger version or to view the English translation.
Founded in 2006, Charanga Tropical is an 11-piece ensemble based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The group performs traditional danzones mixed with a spicy variety of modern salsa. With an instrumentation that dates back to the roots of Cuban music, Charanga Tropical blends the old with the new to create a timeless sound. Music that is rich in harmony and melody, fantastic for listening and superb for dancing.
For the trip we've put together an all-star edition of Charanga featuring Minneapolis members as well as band alumni living in Chicago, New York, Bermuda, and elsewhere. Two expert engineers and two professional photographers are joining us to record our shows and capture the amazing images.
Danzón is the national dance of Cuba. It evolved from contradanza, a musical style which arrived with 19th century French immigrants who introduced new instruments to the island- piano, violin, and flute- which eventually combined with bass and Cuban drums to create an instrumentation known as 'charanga francesa' (French charanga), later known simply as 'charanga.'
The International Danzón Festival showcases charangas performing throughout Havana at theaters, nightclubs, and open air venues. Multiple bands play each show so at every event Charanga Tropical will be sharing the stage with top Cuban groups such as Charanga Rubalcaba and Orquesta Aragón. The festival has featured ensembles and dancers from Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia but never any participant from the United States. Charanga Tropical is the first.
To commemorate the historic participation of an American ensemble, Charanga Tropical's repertoire will include Danzón music by Cuban composers from the 1930's and 40's that was inspired by and even quoted popular themes by American composers such as George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, and Cole Porter. This music recalls how close the countries once were and how a new era of artistic collaboration is upon us.
The longtime United States economic embargo on Cuba remains in effect. Although diplomatic relations between the two countries are normalizing, any transaction, including an American band accepting payment to play a Cuban festival, is not allowed. Involving American corporate donors and nonprofits is similarly illegal or otherwise impossibly difficult.
We are reaching out to you- friends, family, fans, and others- so that this ground breaking tour and recording can happen. With your assistance Charanga Tropical can become the first American band to perform at the Danzón Festival and also the first American charanga ever to record in Havana. This tour and live CD project are symbolic that a new era of exchange and understanding is possible for the United States and Cuba.
Kickstarter is a new way to raise money for creative projects based on an all-or-nothing funding method. If you choose to become a supporter, you make a pledge by selecting the “BACK THIS PROJECT” button. Choose a reward level and then pledge the corresponding amount (or more). You’ll be asked to enter payment information, but you won’t be charged unless we reach our goal.
Once you pledge, you’ll get exclusive updates about our progress. If we meet our goal, you'll be charged the amount you pledged and will receive an email message from Kickstarter notifying you that your payment has been finalized.
We are excited to share with you great thank-you rewards such as postcards form Cuba, signed CDs, original photographs, house concerts, complimentary tickets to shows, meet and greet at our CD release party, and more. Please see all the rewards at the right side of this page.
If you have any questions about any of these rewards, please do not hesitate to contact us via the 'Contact Me' button at the top right of this page or email us directly at: email@example.com
How Funds Will Be Used
100% of funds will go towards completing this project. Those costs include transportation, lodging, meals, CD recording, and artist compensation. Other costs include 5% for Kickstarter, 3% for credit card processing (both required) and 5% for promotion, reward costs, and other miscellaneous expenses. See image below or to review the complete budget click here.
Latin music fans can actually travel to Cuba with Charanga Tropical June 27th to July 4th as part of a unique trip organized by Cuba Tours and Travel. Hear the soul changing music of Havana, learn about the culture, and come to know the warmth of the Cuban people. With Charanga Tropical you'll access the Danzón Festival and experience a side Cuban life that few tourists ever see. For more information, pricing, and itinerary visit www.charangatropical.com/travel-to-cuba.
Since Kickstarter is an “all or nothing” funding method, we need to get the word out as soon as possible and to as many people as we can. Please help us spread the word! Here’s what you can do:
·"Share this project" using the "Share" button near the top of this page.
· Email your family and friends
·"Like" us on Facebook & meet others who've pledge in our Pledge Page
· Follow and retweet @charangatrop #charangacuba
· Blog about Charanga Tropical and our Kickstarter campaign (Click here for press release, press ready photos, etc.)
Supporters / Advocates: The advocates listed below provide crucial expertise and support. That includes fiscal agency for individuals or organizations that require nonprofit 501(c)3 status to make a contribution. For more information, please contact us.
UNEAC (Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba), Twin Cities Musicians Union Local 30-73, American Composers Forum, US Cuba Artists Exchange, Minnesota Cuba Committee, Project Por Amor, Nachito Herrera Foundation, Paraiso Musical, Emetrece Productions, MNOriginal, Wells Piano, and Cuba Tours and Travel
Charanga Tropical on Twin Cities Public Television (more videos in 'Updates')
Charanga Tropical at Varsity Theater Night Club in Minneapolis
Charanga Tropical at SummerDance festival in Chicago's Grant Park
Cuba Linda, orginal Arabic tinged arrangment by Charanga Tropical
Danzón 'Angoa' (excerpt) by Charanga Tropical
Danzón 'Guira de Melena' (excerpt) by Charanga Tropical
Risks and challenges
While touring to Cuba to record a live CD certainly has challenges, we are extremely invested in this project and have planned for its success. The musicians, photographers, and recording engineers are all expert professionals. Transportation and logistics are being handled by Cuba Tours and Travel. The agency has been active in Cuba for decades and coordinated activities for the San Francisco Opera, the American Composers Forum, and many other groups large and small.
We have come this far and know that with just a little help, from a lot of people, that the journey and its music are possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Bandleader Doug Little first met charanga musicians in 2002 while in Cuba for a two month travel study residency sponsored by the Jerome Foundation. In 2005 he attended the Danzón festival while in Havana for another three months of music research. In 2010 and 2013 he returned to Cuba for further study and met with the festival producers, presenting recordings and video of Charanga Tropical. An initial letter of invitation was secured in late 2014, which began the process of clearing many legal and financial hurdles to make this trip a reality. The final official letter of invitation was received March 10th, 2015.
YES, pack your bags! Cuba Tours & Travel is offering a licensed people-to-people tour from June 27th to July 4th. Led by experts, the itinerary includes Charanga Tropical concerts and other shows at the Danzón Festival. For complete list of activities and pricing click "Cuba Tours and Travel" in the "Supporters / Advocates" section above. For the most exclusive experience see pledge EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TOUR TO CUBA.
Unfortunately we do. Our project is a 7-day international tour for 15 individuals (11 musicians, 2 photographers, and 2 recording engineers) that includes travel, lodging, meals, and modest artist compensation. That comes out to $6,400 per person, which also covers the cost of recording and manufacturing our CD "Live from Havana."
Regarding income, Kickstarter will be our sole source. Due to the longstanding United States embargo we cannot accept any payment from any Cuban entity, including the Danzón Festival. The U.S. ban on economic activity has made raising funds from American corporate and nonprofit sources extremely difficult. Additionally, the combination of the embargo and the socialist economy in Cuba have stifled competition in the travel industry resulting in very high flight and hotel costs.
Notably Charanga Tropical does have a nonprofit fiscal agent for individuals or organizations that require a 501(c)3 nonprofit to make a contribution. For complete program budget please see links in the section above "How Funds Will Be Used."
Nothing happens. The project isn't funded and we have to decline the invitation to perform and record in Havana.
"Share" this project and encourage friends, family, and others to pledge. If you know of a specific blogger, journalist, philanthropist, or someone else you think we should contact directly please let us know via the 'contact us' button.
The above section "What Else Can I Do To Support This Project?" has full list of actions you can take.
Although this project previously qualified as a "permitted cultural exchange," new policies announced in December 2014 eliminated thousands of dollars in required lawyers fees for layers of applications. The less cumbersome bureaucracy is very helpful though the challenges related to the economic embargo remain. Your pledge helps promote a new era of openness, understanding and exchange between the United States and Cuba.
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