john h. mcdowell
- highlights of cuba


Group holding a sign that reads Aqui el conjunto Folklorico Charangon de San Agustin confinando en el futuro porque aqui si hayWhen my friend and former student Raymond Hall (que en paz descanse) suggested that we travel together to a conference in Cuba in the summer of 2000, I was already out the door.  Any Latin Americanist, and especially, any student of music in Latin America, is necessarily as well a Cubanist.  The conference wasn't that hot, so Raymond and I spent a week in July getting to know the people, sights, and sounds of La Habana, Matanzas, and Santiago.  Highlights of the trip?  Cerveza Crystal; hanging out with our friends, Henry and Carlos and their families, in La Habana Vieja; dancing to the orisha in Havana and Matanzas; experiencing Cuba's carnival on the streets of Santiago; and soaking in the wonderful sounds of Sol y Son, a Santiago band.  With my camera and tape recorder in hand, I was able to document a small fragment of the folkloric spectacle that is Cuba today.

I had the opportunity to weave these experiences into a talk I did at the Indiana University Emeriti House in 2012, titled "Music in the Shadow of the Cuban Revolution."



Santiago Street Music



A band playing in a square while a woman dancesA band playing while walking


Scenes of Cuba



A woman in a white dress dancing and smiling An alleyway surrounded by tall buidings


A woman leaning on a red car


Three bronze statues breaking their bonds



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Last Modified Jan 30, 2023