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Kennedy Center Hosts Cuban Artists

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Friday May 11, 2018

From NBC

Despite cooler U.S.-Cuba relations, Kennedy Center hosts largest celebration of Cuban artists
By: Marisa Arbona-Ruiz

Despite the Trump administration’s changes regarding U.S.-Cuba policy and news of fewer U.S. visitors traveling to Cuba this year, the largest, most ambitious gathering of Cuban artists is taking place in the nation’s capital. The Kennedy Center is hosting over 400 Cuban and Cuban-American artists as part of the Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World, encompassing Cuban music, dance, fashion, theatre, film and visual arts, taking place from May 8th through the 20th.

“It’s unprecedented for this many Cuban artists to be gathered for a two-week festival, in this country — and I understand from the Cubans, anywhere else in world,” said Alicia Adams, vice president of International Programming and Festival Curator for the Kennedy Center.

On the festival’s first day on Tuesday, the legendary Omara Portuondo, 87, known to fans around the world as the “Diva” of the musical group Buena Vista Social Club, performed to a cheering and sold-out audience. “It brings me such joy and pride to share my feelings, in the music and in the humanity here,” Portuondo said after her performance.

Sharing the stage with Omara Portuondo in a stream of performances were Cubadisco award-winning pianist Rolando Luna, the Havana Lyceum Orchestra, jazz composer and pianist Aldo López-Gavilán, acclaimed composer and musician Yosvany Terry, pianist Jorge Luis Pacheco, the renowned Orquesta Miguel Faílde and GRAMMY nominated Aymée Nuviola whose dynamic and rousing performance brought the audience to their feet, before teaming up in a beautiful duet with Portuondo.

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