In March, two leading Cuban rap groups, Obsesión and Los Paisanos, will be touring the UK.
On Friday 16 March, CSC will be co-hosting the main event in Central London, which will also showcase some of London’s finest Latin musical talent including the renowned London based collective Cultura Londres.
Book tickets (£10, £8) by Credit Card -CSC on 0207 263 6452
For more information on Movimientos and further details of the tour events in March, visit www.movimientos.org.uk.
For details of the London showcase event visit www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk
Article - Sound of the revolution
University lecturer Geoff Baker tells CubaSí about the artists and the hip hop scene in Cuba, past and present…
Rap has been one of the most dynamic sounds emerging from Cuba over the last fifteen years. With the combination of the US blockade and the collapse of the USSR, the island faced new difficulties in the 1990s, and rap provided young Cubans, inspired by politicized US groups like Public Enemy, with a new form of self-expression. What marks Cuba out as unique, though, is the way in which the government has supported rappers by providing performance spaces, sound equipment and, from 1997, funds for an annual hip hop festival. State officials have embraced hip hop as “the new voice of an island that is besieged and assailed by the US empire” and “the sound of the Revolution, expressing the problems and hopes of young rappers.” This musical form, so associated with the US, has become a tool of anti- imperialism and anti-capitalism in the hands of young Cubans. At one stage there were several hundred rap groups in Cuba, airing the problems associated with the Special Period – as well as with the island’s powerful neighbour – that were rarely discussed in other spheres, in a spirit of dialogue with and “constructive criticism” of the revolutionary process. One Havana-based group, Amenaza, went on to worldwide fame when they moved to France under a new name: Orishas.
Obsesión, formed in 1996, are among the founding figures of Cuban rap and remain at the centre of the scene, having organized the Cuban hip hop symposium in Havana for the last two years. They have released two CDs and their work has appeared on many internationally released compilations such as ‘The Cuban Hip Hop All Stars.’ Their tour of the USA in 2003, which culminated in a performance at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem alongside hip hop legends The Roots and Common, was the subject of the documentary ‘La Fabri-k.’ Obsesión have put social projects – including work with prisoners and children – at the centre of their mission and were invited to the World Social Forum in Venezuela in 2006 as panellists and performers.
Los Paisanos formed in 1999 and have been a fixture of the Havana hip hop festival and the city’s underground rap scene since 2000. Songs from their CD ‘Paisanología’ have become favourites among the capital’s rap fans, and Randy Acosta has emerged as one of the most exciting producers at the uncompromising edge of Cuban hip hop. Los Paisanos were invited guests at the Revolution ’06 hip hop festival in Toronto, Canada, alongside Dead Prez and K’Naan.
Obsesión and Los Paisanos will be performing and participating in talks and cultural events organised by Movimientos and supported by Cuba Solidarity campaign.
Dates and locations:
Wednesday 7th March Cambridge
Saturday 10th March Bristol
Monday 12th March Norwich
Wednesday 14th March Brighton
Friday 16th March London, University Of London Union, Mallet St, London W1
Saturday 17th March Nottingham