Friday, October 28, 2005

En duda concierto de Scorpions en la Habana

Al parecer, debido a las exigencias de Scorpions o a algun problema organizativo; el programado concierto en la Habana de esta banda puede no realizarse. Despues, cuando tengamos una fuente fidedigna daremos otras informaciones sobre este evento.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

“Be welcome on the island many miles away from home”:Scorpions to Stage Havana Concert

The Scorpions, the famous German rock n’ roll band that dared playing 10 concerts in the former communist USSR in 1988 will be playing in Cuba this week.
The Cold War is now “over,” but Cuba is still surrounded by a mystique and the restrictions of the US blockade, as a kind of forbidden fruit for foreign musicians.
This year many outstanding bands have been led tempted to play in Cuba: the American group Audioslave, the United Kingdom’s Rick Wakeman & The New English Rock Ensemble and Mick Hucknall’s Simply Red, the Australian band Air Supply and Japan’s Miyazawa Sick.
Now it is the Scorpions’ turn. The concert has created great expectations, not only because the group is considered one of the 30 best bands in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, but also due to its enormous popularity among the Cuban audience, specially during the late 1980’s.
Songs like Still Loving You, Rock You Like a Hurricane, Holiday, Winds of Change, Send Me an Angel, Always Somewhere, Is There Anybody There, White dove, You and I, Blackout, among others, are very well-known by Cubans.
The current line-up of the Scorpions includes Rudolf Schenker (guitar and songwriter), Klaus Meine (vocals), Matthias Jabs (lead guitar) from Hanover, Germany, the American James Kottak (drums), and Pawel Maciwoda (bass) from Poland.
The concert in Havana, although not scheduled on the group’s website, is part of their 2005 Tour. During October they have been playing to massive audiences in Latin America, Mexico –Guadalajara, Mexico City, Chihuahua— and previously in Brazil –Porto Alegre and Victoria. After the concert in Cuba, they will head east to play in Quatar, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
The Scorpions’ Latin American fans who have never had the opportunity to see the band live during its golden years –they came to Latin America for the first time in 1994— can now go back in time and enjoy their music of the 1980’s.
Since their foundation in 1970, the Scorpions have never stopped performing. Many famous groups like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi have been the opening bands for the Scorpions.
With 20 albums to date, the Scorpions will be always remembered as the band that together with Led Zeppelin invented the hard-rock ballad.
A noteworthy fact is that the Scorpions have used their fame to support world peace and freedom. In 1994, they committed themselves to helping the United Nations to aid refugees from Rwanda’s civil war. One of their most beautiful and well-known singles, White Dove, was released with all proceeds going to victims. Another example was their performance in Beirut after the civil war in Lebanon had ended.
They were also invited to the 10th anniversary celebration of German reunification, where they played their legendary song Winds of Change accompanied by 166 cellists in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Over 35 years the Scorpions have played around the globe including venues in: Los Angeles, New York, Anchorage, Santiago de Chile, Glasgow, Beirut, Helsinki, Vladivostok, Dnipropetrovs’k, Tokyo, Volgograd, Leningrad, Now Havana is going to join the list of cities to witness the magic from the legendary German rockers.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Self-Portrait: The Unpublished Life of Ernesto Che Guevara

“I am neither Jesus Christ nor a philanthropic man, mom, but the opposite. I am determined to fight for my ideals with all the weapons I have to defeat my enemy. I could never die on a cross with resignation.” Ernesto Che Guevara’s polemic and brave words are still waiting to be discovered.

What do we really know about this Latin American revolutionary? What lies underneath the icon and the legend created by the media? A unique opportunity to explore Ernesto Che Guevara’s life comes now by the
hand of the Australian Ocean Press with the first edition of Self-Portrait.

This singular biography is a compilation made with the cooperation of Guevara’s widow Aleida March, who allowed the publishing house to use amazing materials from the family’s private archives.

Self-Portrait shows Che’s life in Che’s own words. It includes unpublished poetry, literary criticism, analysis of world events and letters to friends,
family and historic figures such as Fidel Castro and other outstanding figures of the Cuban Revolution.

The book is divided into 15 chapters that lead us from his childhood to his days as a revolutionary leader. His early journey through Latin America –the same that inspired Walter Salles’s movie “The Motorcycle Diaries"– is amply represented with great photographs, revealing the not previously known artistic talent of this Argentinean patriot.

Several chapters are dedicated to his work in Cuba: the guerrilla war in the mountains, the construction of socialist society in the early 60’s, his relations
with other revolutionary leaders, intellectuals, and journalists. There are also interesting photographs and texts of his African mission.

Launching in Cuba

The Spanish version of Self-Portrait has just been released in Cuba as a tribute on the anniversary of Che's assassination. During the presentation, his
daughter Aleida Guevara spoke about the necessity of using her father's ideas in the struggle against current world problems.

Aleida invited the newer generation to realize that her father was once just a young boy, just like they are now, with lots of dreams to fulfil and courage
enough to fight for them.

The representative of Ocean Press in Cuba, Javier Salado, said that this book is part of a huge publishing endeavour. The objective is to release 19 titles around the fortieth anniversary of Che’s death, in October 2007.

“Although Ocean Press publishes only Spanish and English versions,” said Salado, “agreements with different publishing companies permit the translation of all the books in the collection. That's why most of them can be found in German, Italian, Japanese, etc, for a total of 17 languages.”

Self-Portrait, now in English, is a true master piece. It is an opportunity to see the world through Che's eyes, to hear stories from his own lips, to see some of his personal mail and discover secrets, opinions, criticism, passion, rage and courage.

There is no death in the final pages of the book. No images of his body lying surrounded by the killers. No burials. No statues or monuments. Self-Portrait
invites us to remember Che Guevara with his big optimistic smile, the smoke of a Cuban cigar, and those deep dark eyes full of energy and hope.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The British rock n' roll invasion to the island goes on... now it is Simply Red.

Simply Red, the important pop rock English band, will visit Cuba by the end of August.
According to the official website of the band, the concerts will take place on Friday 26th, and Saturday 27th, at 8:30 pm in the Great Theater of Havana. The objectives of this journey are to make a DVD about their performance in the island (just like Audioslave and Rick Wakeman have already done last May) and to share the stage with local musicians.

It was known that their director Mick Hucknall, was recently in Havana to prepare the trip. It will coincide with the end of the summer vacation and the popular parties that always accompany the hot farewell of August in Cuba.
Before their arrival to the Caribbean island, Simply Red will present its new LP and a documentary of 10 minutes about Mick Hucknall's recent visit to Cuba. The presentation will be in the Shepherd's Bush Empire of London, on August 19th. This ten-minutes film will be included in the DVD, whose coming out is scheduled for November, 2005.

Mick Hucknall, founder and principal figure of the band, was born on June 8th, 1960 in Manchester. Here, in the early 80's, Hucknall enter the punk movement playing this polemic kind of music, which made lots of fans in the english underground scene during Margaret Tatcher's repressive government.
Hucknall joined the punk band Frantic And The Elevators. They recorded many singles. Among those we can mention the nostalgic ballad "Holding Back The Years", which was later included in the first record of Simply Red.

In 1983, with the effervescence of the New Wave, (a tendency that bets for dancing rhythms) the band fell apart, leaving behind Huckbnall's punk expressions. Then he founded another band together with Sylvan Rycharsond (guitar) y Fritz Mclntyre (keyboards). Tony Bowers, bass, Tim Kellett and Chris Joice (drumms) came soon after, and so the first line-up of a successful band was set up.
In 1985 Simply Red's first record saw the light. Made with Elektra records, it was titled "Picture Book" and it reached the second best position of the English hits, during 30 successive weeks.

The single "Holding Back The Years", included in this first work, was a number one hit in the United States and it gave Simply Red a very good presentation card to the doors of the tough North American musical market.
Another of the popular compositions of the album would be Money's Too Tight to Mention, a version of Valentine Brother's song. In 1987 Simply Red shot its second album, "Men & Women", with a new sonority based on an explicit soul sound, which evidently influenced the harmony of the band. Of this album we remember "The right thing", a song that situated the band on the top the audiences again. Later, the guitarist Richardson left the group and he was replaced by Azíz Ibrahim, who would eventually be also replaced by the current guitarist, the Brazilian Heitor Pereira.

One of the most famous albums of Simply Ret was "A New Flame”, 1989, which went up toward the summit of the lists of successes. To this album belong the two singles "It's only love" and "If you don't know me by now", which reached the second place in the United Kingdom. At the same time, the album won the German prize to the best song "Rhytm&Blues."
Two years later, in 1991, a new album came out: "Stars". It sold 9 million copies that year in Great Britain and it won twelve times Platinum in that country. It was definitively the most popular album of the year. In this moment Shawn Ward joined the band as a bassist and the Japanese Gota Yashiki was added too as the new drummer. About the new members of the band, Hucknall expressed “we seem a force of peace of the United Nations."
Twelve months later, "Blue", was considered by the specialized critics as an overturn toward their origins.

At the end of the 90's, a decade full of worldwide changes, they presented "Love & The Russian Winter", a creation marked by the new contemporary sounds as, for example, the electronic music or dance. The result were songs like "Ain't That a Lot Of Love.
Simply Red welcomed the new century with the launching of "It's only love", an album with the gratest hits of the band.
Four years later, in 2004, Simply Ret promoted "Home". This recent production includes, "Fake", "Sunrise" and, "Home". The versions "Money In My Pocket", "You Make Me Feel Brand New" and the famous "Positively 4th Street" of Bob Dylan are some other songs of the album. From their beginnings until today, Simply Red has sold more than 45 million albums.

After their performance in Cuba, on September 4th the band will be in the Festival of Sopot (Poland), its last presentation before the beginning of its tour. This Tour will start on October 25th in Belfast, Ireland, coinciding with the presentation of its new album “Simplified” preceded by the promotional single “Perfect Love.” The journey includes several cities of the United Kingdom as well as concerts in Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Holland, Luxemburg, France and Italy.

The presentation of Simply Red in Cuba will be added to the growing list of British bands that have chosen the island during the last years to make special performances. For instance Manic Street Preachers, Dub Seized Foundation, Rick Wakeman with New English Rock Ensemble (NERE).