HAVANA, HAVANA! is a music documentary that explores how changes in Cuba are inspiring a new generation of musicians. The program premieres July 27, 2012, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) as part of the PBS ARTS SUMMER FESTIVAL, a multiplatform event anchored by seven films that highlight art, artists and performances from around the world.
Musicians Raul Paz, Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa and David Torrens each have their own unique stories to tell, but their lives share a common theme. Each of them chose to leave Cuba and make his musical career abroad, and each decided to return home with the goal of reinvigorating the musical life of the country they left behind. Today, they are making music in Cuba again (together and separately), bringing to their songs the sounds and rhythms of other cultures – jazz, electro, hip-hop, soul – and injecting a new spirit into the traditional Cuban music of their childhoods.
The storyline of HAVANA, HAVANA! builds to a much-anticipated concert featuring the country’s “prodigal sons,” brought together by Paz. The film shows Paz, Bueno, Ochoa and Torrens during rehearsal, sharing musical ideas and blending their distinctive styles. Throughout, the musicians’ interviews are intercut with scenes of concert preparations and visits to places where they grew up and first learned to love music. Woven together, their stories create a fugue: each of the musicians was nourished by traditional Cuban music; each was fascinated by music from other cultures; and each left Cuba to find himself as an artist. The film captures the poignancy of their homecoming and the triumph of their concert in Havana, where they play together for the first time for the Cuban people.
“This is the story of great musicians most Americans don’t know,” says David Grubin, multiple Emmy® Award winner and the film’s producer. “As grandchildren of Cuba’s revolution, Paz, Bueno, Ochoa and Torrens faced unexpected bumps on their journeys, but ultimately prove the spirit of the Cuban people is alive and well.”
HAVANA, HAVANA! is produced by David Grubin Productions and Coloma Productions.
The PBS Arts Summer Festival takes viewers on an exploration of nearly 20 cities around the globe, offering an in-depth look at music, theater, art, architecture and cultural history from some of the world’s unique locations. In addition, PBS stations will be able to insert local content highlighting the arts scene in their region. Award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Deavere Smith (“Nurse Jackie,” “The West Wing”) serves as weekly host for the Summer Festival, which begins Friday, June 29, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings).
The full PBS ARTS SUMMER FESTIVAL schedule follows. Details at pbs.org/pressroom.
· MARIACHI HIGH, June 29, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
· ISLAMIC ART: MIRROR OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD, July 6, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
· JOHN LEGUIZAMO’S TALES FROM A GHETTO KLOWN, July 13, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
· HOMECOMING: THE KANSAS CITY SYMPHONY PRESENTS JOYCE DiDONATO, July 20, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
· HAVANA, HAVANA!, July 27, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
· THE BARNES COLLECTION, August 3, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
· GREAT PERFORMANCES “Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration,” August 10, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
Funding for the launch of PBS Arts is provided by Anne Ray Charitable Trust, public television viewers and PBS.
ABOUT DAVID GRUBIN
A director, writer, producer, and cinematographer, David Grubin has produced over 100 films, ranging from history to art, from poetry to science, winning every award in the field of documentary television, including 2 Alfred I. Dupont awards, 3 George Foster Peabody prizes, 5 Writer’s Guild prizes, and 10 Emmys. His biographies for American Experience on PBS – LBJ, FDR, Truman, TR: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided – have set the standard for television biography. His independent feature film, Downtown Express, has been screened at festivals in America and abroad and recently won the Grand Jury Narrative Prize at the Gasparilla Film Festival. A member of the executive committee of the Society of American Historians, Grubin has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, has been a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, and is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Hamilton College. He is member of the Writers Guild and Directors Guild, and is a former chairman of the board of directors of The Film Forum. He teaches documentary filmmaking at Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program.
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