Havana Pays Tribute to Guitar

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana.- Every other year, Havana pays tribute to
the guitar, that wonderful and generous instrument which combines harmony and
melody. On Saturday, the latest edition of an event that began in 1982 with a
series of Festival-Contests rooted in Cuban music life, opened in the Cuban
capital. Founded and directed by Leo Brouwer, one of the world’s most important
living guitar composers, the Festival enlists renowned professors and national
and foreign guitarists. Havana guitar lovers take part in the lectures,
colloquiums, exhibits and concerts, which satisfy the most demanding audiences
and musicians. The contestants in the 12th International Leo Brouwer Guitar
Festival-Contest face hard tests, some obligatory and some optional, but all of
great technical complexity. The list of distinguished past participants includes
John Williams, Costas Cotsiolis,
de Lucía
, Jesus Ortega,
Robert Aussel, Alirio Diaz,

Vicente Amigo
, Ichiro Suzuki, Pepe Romero, Eliot
Fisk, Timo Korhonen, Pavel Steidl, Garreth Walter, Clerch, Alvaro Pierri, Eli
Kassner, Shin-Ichi Fukuda, Victor Pellegrini, Paolo Paolini, Eduardo Fernandez
and Guitar Quartet. Talented guitarist Robert Vidal commented: “Leo’s influence
has been like a lighthouse, a center of attention to concentrate in Havana
guitarists from so many countries
.” For his part, virtuoso Costas Cotsiolis
said, “I think the contest and festival, if not the best of the world, is, at
least, one of the most important. Celebrities of famous prestige and artistic
authorities in the guitar are here, Leo Brouwer is here
.” In that same line of
thinking, specialist Juan Helguera stated: “It is a biennial festival that
awakens our support, admiration and sympathy, and shows the moral strength of
the country organizing it
.” The draw took place Saturday, followed by the first
test Sunday. The second and third rounds are set for Tuesday and Wednesday. The
awards ceremony is scheduled for Friday May 14. Many of the past edition’s 36
winners are now world guitar greats.

[Photo: Paco de Lucia].

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.