Concerts, Movies and Museums Without Leaving Home

Chucho Valdés plays the piano for his Facebook followers after canceling a public performance. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 18 March 2020 — The coronavirus is arriving in Cuba behind Europe and the US, but with ten people now infected the concern begins to grow. The cultural sector is one of the areas most suffering worldwide, with the suspension of collective events. Concerts, premieres, theatrical performances, museums… all the pieces have been falling internationally and have even reached Cuba, which, in the absence of more far-reaching measures, has indeed canceled cultural leisure activities until further notice.

Cuban artists, like their colleagues in dozens of countries, are suffering the consequences of the pandemic directly, but they have learned from others that music, cinema or any other art can go ahead from home to ease the harshness of the measures of isolation, some imposed and others, as on the island, assumed individually as an exercise of responsibility.

The path in Latin America was forged globally by the Colombian Juanes and the Spaniard Alejandro Sanz, who last Sunday offered a concert from Sanz’s home in Madrid, which was broadcast through his YouTube channel.

This Tuesday, the pianist Chucho Valdés did the same on his Facebook page through a live broadcast of a recital, after having to cancel his international appearances.

“We have canceled all the tours we had lined up for the coming spring, and it occurs to me that we may never part ways with technology,” said the artist.

“I am going to dedicate a mini-recital to you with much affection and love, always with the hope that everything will normalize, but the connection with music and many other things will be maintained, especially love and hope that everything will pass, as storms sometimes do,” he added.

With such popular faces starting these kinds of initiatives, many have been inspired to continue them and accede to the global request to stay home as a method to reduce the brutal growth in the number of infections of the coronavirus, far superior to other similar ones that preceded it, like the flu or N1H1.

A group of filmmakers has already launched a project that they have called Cuban Cinema in Quarantine and that offers some of the national classics and many independent films through streaming. The creators will broadcast films that were on the professional video platform Vimeo through their Facebook pages, along with some royalty-free films.

“Let’s help viewers discover our films in this period of seclusion and isolation. No matter the year of production, the length of the footage, the genre or the format. Communicate privately!” The promoters of the page announced.

The titles they have already begun to share include the classic documentary Coffea arabiga, by Nicolás Guillén Landrián; Reflexiones, by Yimit Ramírez and Laura Tariche, which won the award for Best Animation in the 9th edition of the Young Filmmakers Exhinition; Qué remedio? La parranda, , by Daniela Muñoz Barroso, which addresses the theme of the popular Remedios fiesta; El proyecto, by Alejandro Alonso and Tierra roja, by Heidi Hassan. Filmmaker Fausto Canel also shared Desarraigo, his first film.

On Instagram, a group of artists is organizing to launch the Tunturuntu pa’tu casa festival, with the idea of raising awareness of the importance of seclusion to control the spread of Covid-19.

“We want to bring home to each one of you the benefits of music and culture, in these circumstances,” said the statement, shared by actress Alicia Hechavarría. The concerts will be performed live from the profiles of the artists proposed by the festival participants. “Leave us your comments in the comment section and don’t forget to tag your favorite artist to join this festival,” invite the organizers.

Another who has joined is the writer Ariel Maceo, who will start a reading club with other colleagues through a WhatsApp group. “There I am going to upload audios with my texts and those of other authors that readers ask of me,” the author tells 14ymedio.

To better pass the time of the “retreat at this challenging time,” the artist Reynier (Chino) Leyva Novo has launched the project: Nice to meet you. Don’t touch me. “I am going to design a business card for anyone who wants to for free with the condition that they do not print it. It can only be shared through social networks,” he explains.

Another musician who joined the virtual initiative was the troubadour Ray Fernández who, from his Facebook page, announced: I’m going live from home! Tuntun at home *Uncensored*.

In Italy and Spain, where the propagation figures have been high for days and confinement measures have been imposed for more than a week, this type of initiative has multiplied. Not only among artists but also among cooks who make healthy recipes, athletes who organize online sessions against the sedentary lifestyle of isolation, storytelling for children who aren’t in school… there are beginning to be more online activities than those affected can take on.

But the connectivity limitations of the Island open an uncertain panorama, especially for the elderly, the first group which the authorities around the world are asking to seclude themselves, due to their increased risk of contagion and the lethality of the disease for those over 65. This group risks significant loneliness without contact with loved ones that can facilitated with technology, but technology that is expensive and scarce in Cuba.


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