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We need you for Cuban Welcome at Latin Grammys! 9/8/01

We welcome Cuban Grammy nominees
, 9/6 - coalition

Press Conference for Cuban Grammy Nominees
, 9/6

Cuban News from the Latin Grammys, 9/6

Cuban exiles to protest Latin Grammys in L.A., 9/6

Cuban musicians where they belong, 9/5/01, Granma


The Latin Grammy 2001

As the Latin Grammy was moved from Miami because right wing Cubans in Miami, whose numbers are usually exaggerated, threatened to bomb it, an interesting set of events in LA is taking shape around the presence of the Cuban nominees.

The nominees include jazz pianist Chucho Valdés, pop artist Andres Alen, salsa singer Issac Delgado, singer Omara Portuondo of the Buena Vista Social Club group, country artist Celina Gonzalez,  Lazaro Ros, and salsa band All Stars group, as well as Los Muñequitos de Matanzas. Afro-Cuban music singer Lázaro Ros gets nomination for Yemayá.

It is a great testament to the power of these artists that they managed to split that powerful nest of narcoterrorists that is the CANF (Cuban American National Foundation). More than 20 high ranking members have resigned over CANF leader Menos Mas Jr's campaign to build a kindler gentler organization and host the Grammy in Miami! 

The Ministerio de Cultura in Cuba might consider capitalizing on this development and finally start taking their afrocuban culture seriously, promoting it professionally, with, for example, all the required advanced schedules. Currently, these rarely come out, and when they do, it is at the last minute...

Official Academy Response To Planned Latin GRAMMY Protests, 9/6/01

The Grammy site:

Complete Latin Grammy nominees list

We need you for Cuban Welcome at Latin Grammys! 9/8/01

Subject: We need you for Cuban Welcome at Latin Grammys!
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2001 16:01:10 EDT

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Attention on the Latin Grammys, the Cuban recording artists--26 in all--who will be there as nominees, the organized public welcome for them, and a right-wing protest against them, is getting increased media attention.

On September 6, the Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba-initiated news conference was broacast on KNX, covered by Channels 2 and 52, Associated Press, filmed by CNN and CNN Espanol internationally, and viewed across Cuba on Cuban national television. Agence France Presse sent out a disptach on the media briefing. And articles, of predictable quality, have appeared in the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the Miami Herald. We are doing a live interview on Colombian radio on Monday, and more is in the offing. Please forward this message to any friends, colleagues, or e-lists of which you are a part.

We are working with representatives of the National Lawyers Guild and ACLU to secure a position near the Forum--90th street between Manchester and Prairie. We are assembling at 3pm. Those who can join us for set up are welcome to come early at 2pm, be part of a marshall/security briefing, and otherwise help prepare signs and banners.

Please feel free to express your sentiments in welcoming the Cuban recording artists, in English and/or Spanish (or any other language). Our themes are to welcome them to Los Angeles, to affirm cultural and artistic freedom, and to call for the end of the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

Please bring banners from your group or organization, bring a musical instrument if you play it (we will be supplying appropriate recorded music).

We are not there, in any way, shape, or form, to confront, engage, debate, or otherwise deride the ultra-right Cuban exile organizations which claim they will turn out 400 people to protest the presence of the Cuban recording artists. We want our people to avoid contact with them, period.

Any provocation, any image that smacks of verbal parrying PLAYS INTO THEIR HANDS, and those of the media, who have a prefabricated story of "friends, foes of Castro clash at Latin Grammys." All this takes our eyes off the prize.

We want to travel the same high road of the Cuban artists, whose presence represents cultural and artistic freedom. The real threat to these, and other rights, comes from the U.S. government, not a dwindling band of ultrarightists, who are on life support from Washington be they in Miami or Los Angeles, and serve only as a facade for hostile policies, determined and executed in bipartisan spirit at the highest levels.

We believe no artists should be excluded from attending or performing, or exclude themselves. Cuban two-time Grammy winner Chucho Valdes, and current nominee, told the BBC recently, "WE SHOULD ALL BE IN THIS: THOSE WHO LIVE ON THE ISLAND AND THOSE WHO LIVE OUTSIDE IT, BEACUSE WE MAKE CULTURE AND ART IS A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE."

"We have to fight to support culture," Chucho said.

We want this approach to be the image of a dignified, celebratory welcome, to which all those who support such aims, are ethusiastically invited, in the broad diversity that underscores support for lifting the U.S. economic, travel, and cultural blockade against Cuba. That's why your presence on September 11 is so vitally important, in front a world audience of 800 million viewers--many of them in Latin America. When the media covers this event, we want them to see a spirited, disciplined crowd whose message is clear and unambiguous.

We will disperse at 7pm.

PLEASE NOTE: A VERY SPECIAL MEETING WITH ANDRES GOMEZ, FOUNDER AND NATIONAL COORDINATOR OF THE MIAMI-BASED ANTONIO MACEO BRIGADE, ON THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS IN MIAMI WILL TAKE PLACE WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 7PM AT CARECEN, 2845 W. 7TH BETWEEN VERMONT & HOOVER. Up to 60 vehicles participated today in a caravan from south Miami-Dade county to downtown Miami to defend freedom of expression. Tomorrow, noted Cuban poet Pablo Armand Fernandez headlines a literary festival there. And the fight against witch-hunt government attacks on so-called Cuban spies continues, as five Cuban citizens await up to life sentences on frame-up conspiracy to commit espionage and related convictions. This is a threat to all of us. Please come, dialog with Andres, and learn about how activists are standing up in Miami in defense of the Bill of Rights.

We hope to see you Tuesday at the Grammys and Wednesday with Andres Gomez.

In solidarity,
Paula Solomon
Jon Hillson
For the Coalition
for more information call (310)419-2983, (213)383-9283

We welcome Cuban Grammy nominees, 9/6top

Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 20:33:59 EDT
Subject: We welcome Cuban Grammy nominees--others ready protest

Dear Friends,

Broad news coverage of the initiative by the Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba to organize a broad, ethusiastic, peaceful welcome of Cuban recording artists nominated for Latin Grammys continues with a successful media briefing today.

Yesterday, the LA Times reported on the 3pm-7pm event on September 11 at the Forum. You can read the forwarded article from the Orlando Sun Sentinel, which confirms reports from ultra-right Cuban-American organizations to protest the presence of the Cubans at the ceremony.

Our news conference, at the Conga Room, was covered for national broadcast by CBS Television, Telemundo, CNN, and CNN Espanol; there were reporters there from CBS 2, Associated Press, Prensa Social, NPR's Morning Edition, and KNX, which broadcast a piece today. Tonight, we are on the National Lawyers Guild show on KPFK (90.7 FM) at 7:15, along with Andres Gomez, from Miami. Three Cuban Americans attended our news conference -- retired lawyer Oscar Albuerne; former Los Angeles cultural affairs commissioner Adolfo Nodal; and Jorge Luis Rodriguez, director of the AfroCuban Institute. Former congressman and California lieutenant governor Mervyn Dymally; West Hollywood citycouncilman Steve Martin; actor David Clennon; director Nick Castle; Ahi-Nama Music president Jimmy Masslon; Office of the Americas director Blase Bonpane; Cal State LA Latin American Studies public program director Celia Simmonds-Hidalgo also spoke. They urged a big, warm welcome for the Cuban artists and a spirited call to end the U.S. embargo and travel ban against Cuba.

By coming to the event on September 11, you can both salute the Cuban artists and affirm that the majority of the people of the United States reject the sanctions regime imposed by Washington on Cuba. Bring banners, signs, posters, in English and Spanish that welcome the artists and favor normalized relations, ending the U.S. cultural, political, and economic blockade, and lifting all travel restrictions.

We intend to have a spirited, disciplined presence outside the Forum. We're not there to protest the Grammys, but to welcome the Cuban artists and press for normalized relations. Foes of this perspective--the ultraright Cubans--scheduled what turned out to be a sparsely attended news conference in Hawthorne, at the same time as ours. Meanwhile, anti-embargo forces in the Cuban American community held a news conference today, to announce a car caravan in favor of freedom of expression that will wind through Miami-Dade county and end up in downtonwn Miami on Saturday, and will host noted Cuban poet Pablo Armando Fernandez at a literary festival on Sunday. Their efforts and ours represent work on both coasts in defense of Cuban sovereignty, cultural freedom, and the Bill of Rights. Andres Gomez, founder and national coordinator of the Antonio Maceo Brigade, will speak at CARECEN, Wednesday, September 12 at 7pm to report on developments in Miami the mass media doesn't cover, and he'll update us on the situation of the five Cuban patriots--some of whom face up to life sentences--in federal detention, awaiting sentences, after convictions on frame-up "conspiracy to commit espionage" charges in June. This is a meeting not to miss.

We hope to see you at the Latin Grammys, at the Inglewood Forum, starting at 3pm (until 7pm) on Tuesday, September 11--meet at 90th and Prarie. Make your voice heard.

Press Conference for Cuban Grammy Nominees, 9/6top

Los Angeles Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba·
8124 W. 3rd Street #213,
Los Angeles, CA 90048 ·Tel/fax 310.419.2983

(310) 419-2983


The Los Angeles Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba will host a news conference on Thursday, September 6, at 10:30am to announce final plans for a public welcome outside the Forum in Inglewood to greet Cuban nominees for Latin Grammy awards and support increased cultural exchange. The briefing will take place at the Peace Center Building, 8124 W. 3rd Street in Los Angeles, half a block west of Crescent Heights Boulevard (parking behind building).

Among those participating are:

former Congressman Mervyn Dymally;

actor David Clennon;

West Hollywood city council member Steve Martin;

director Nick Castle;

Cuban American activists Oscar Albuerno and Grigorio Hernández;

Jim Lafferty, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyers Guild;

Cuban American Jorge Luis Rodríguez, director of the AfroCuban Research Institute;

Alan Geick and Nina Lenard, hosts of Alma del Barrio (KXLU Radio);

Ernesto Colin, Serenata de Trios (KXLU Radio);

Cuban American Jon Padilla, Santa Barbara-El Cobre Sister City Project;

Cruz Becerra, District 94, International Association of Machinists;

recording artists and members of AFTRA and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS);

representatives of the Office of the Americas, Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, and other organizations.

(Organizational affiliation for identification purposes.)

The public welcome for Cuban recording artists Celina González, Chucho Valdés, Andrés Alen, Manuel González Bello, Omara Portuondo, Isaac Delgado, Lázaro Dagoberto González and producer Caridad Diez-all nominated for Grammy awards-will take place outside the Forum from 3pm to 7pm. This legal, peaceful welcome will also demand Washington lift its sanctions regime against Cuba, end travel restrictions, and normalize relations with Havana. All who support the aims of the welcome to participate.

The Los Angeles Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba organizes educational activities-U.S. tours of Cuban representatives, public forums, delegations to Cuba, and report back meetings from such trips-that defend Cuban sovereignty and promote opposition to Washington's sanctions against Havana.

In the last four years, through speaking engagements of Cuban diplomats, academics, students, and labor leaders, and reports from local visitors to Cuba, more than 5,000 Los Angeles area residents, on college and university campuses, and in community and union venues, have attended informational meetings on Cuba, its achievements and challenges.

During the same time the coalition has also organized five delegations to Cuba, enabling over 100 Los Angeles resident to see the island with their own eyes. Last year, the coalition played a central role in organizing public events last year calling for the repatriation of Elián González.

Cuban News from the Latin Grammys, from, 9/6top


CUBAN MUSIC BREAKS CULTURAL BLOCKADE Julio Ballester, director of Cuba's main recording firm EGREM, explains in detail how the blockade prevented Cuban music from being promoted and marketed in the US through the years. Since the Buena Vista Social Club, new opportunities have opened up. But even though thousands of tickets are sold, the musicians themselves cannot earn money, cannot sell their own records, and cannot engage in any commercial transacations using US dollars. The Cuban musicians who had planned to attend the Grammys in Miami were given their visas at 5 PM on a day when they were due to perform at 7 PM!

CUBAN HIP-HOP FESTIVAL IN ALAMAR The seventh Cuban hip-hop festival was held in Cuba and brought fifty groups together from Cuba and beyond. This article provides a detailed exposition of developments and history of this musical form and its evolution on the island. Rap music traces its roots to urban Black culture in the United States in the 1970s.

"The interest abroad in Cuban rap is surprising. Over 60 books have been written on the subject in the United States. Many U.S. students write doctorate theses on this rap movement. Many Cuban rap groups such as Athanai, SBS and Orishas have catapulted into the international arena, with a surprisingly ingenious originality.

"It is a whole way of life, with its codified gestures, its colloquial and street slang, an aesthetic distinct from that of the disco-going public. Its origins are humble, predominantly male, with macho characteristics and a great need for communication and dialogue."

NEW LATIN GRAMMY HALL OF FAME MEMBERS 17 New members will be added to the Hall of fame


LOS ANGELES TIMES Wednesday, September 5, 2001


Politics and Performing at Latin Grammys

Singer Gloria Estefan and her producer-husband Emilio say they will not be attending the Latin Grammy Awards now that the show has been moved from their hometown of Miami to Los Angeles. The move was triggered by organizers' security concerns in the face of expected anti-Castro protests against Cuban artists.

But Jimmy Smits and Christina Aguilera will be there: They were announced Tuesday as co-hosts. And two of the seven Cuban nominees--pianist Chucho Valdes and singer Issac Delgado--have said they'll attend.

Though none of the Cuban artists is expected to perform on the national telecast on CBS next Tuesday, some live shows are being planned locally. Two venues--Sportsmen's Lodge and the Conga Room--are competing to get Delgado and his 16-piece band for a pre-Grammy performance Monday night. (Delgado is nominated for best salsa album and best tropical song, "La Formula.")

The only hitch: Band members are still awaiting U.S. visas, said Jimmy Maslon, head of Ahi-Nama Music, the band's L.A.-based label. San Francisco entertainment attorney Bill Martinez is now in Havana trying to expedite the documents.

The Conga Room's confirmed lineup for the rest of Latin Grammy week: Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles for an after-Grammy performance on Tuesday; Brazilian singer-songwriter Ivan Lins on Wednesday; and Irakere, Valdes' powerhouse salsa-jazz band (nominated for best vocal pop album by a duo or group, on Friday and Saturday. (Valdes is nominated separately for best Latin jazz album.) Finally, Sunday will feature an authentic afternoon rumba show with Los Munequitos de Matanzas, who perform on "La Rumba Soy Yo," nominated for best folk album.

Meanwhile, from 3 to 7 p.m. on the day of the Grammys, the Los Angeles Coalition in Solidarity With Cuba is inviting the public to gather outside the Forum in Inglewood, where the Grammys will be held, to demonstrate support for the Cuban artists and push for normalization of relations with the island.

Cuban exiles to protest Latin Grammys in L.A. , 9/6top

By Sue Zeidler

September 6, 2001, 4:14 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES - The show must go on -- and in the case of the relocated Latin Grammys -- the protests will go on too as the Los Angeles Cuban American community Thursday announced plan to demonstrate against Cuban artists at next week's awards gala.

The Latin Grammys were abruptly yanked last month from Miami because organizers feared an outbreak of violence from thousands of Cuban exiles there who were planning to protest the presence of Cuban artists and nominees who they feel are in the pay and service of their longtime enemy, President Fidel Castro.

But instead of thousands of demonstrators, L.A. Cuban American leaders say they expect only several hundred to rally outside the glitzy ceremony next Tuesday, being held at the Forum in south Los Angeles. The Cuban exile community is considerably smaller there than in Miami.

Like their fellow protesters in Miami, hard-line anti-communist Cuban American groups here scorn the Cuban artists attending the show. ``We sincerely regret the Latin Grammy awards ceremony has become an instrument for the benefit of the Castro-communist regime in Cuba,'' said Juan Vila, a spokesman for Junta Patriotica Cubana, a national Cuban American organization.

``It is well known that the Cuban communist government only allows its...'sympathizers' to participate in such events... to guarantee that the profits from the sales of their music would end up in Fidel Castro's coffers to continue the slavery of the Cuban people,'' the group said in a recent letter to Latin Grammys chief Michael Greene.


Nearly one million Cuban Americans live in Florida, mostly in the Miami area, which is often a hotbed of opposition to Castro.

By comparison, Vila said, Los Angeles is not as potentially as volatile a location as Miami since only 150,000 Cuban Americans live in Los Angeles and surrounding counties.

The rally organizers have already talked with police, who say they expect that things will be kept under control.

``We will have many officers deployed and a game plan in place if issues do arise,'' said Lt. Eve Irvine of the Inglewood Police, in whose jurisdiction the awards ceremony will be held. Irvine added, ``We're hopeful and optimistic that things will run peacefully.''

Vila said he does not expect problems from his fellow protesters, but warned that sparks could fly since his group had learned that some hard-line Castro supporters were planning to also show up at the rally.

Michael Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which is hosting the Grammys, was not available for comment, but has said he was not trying create controversy in Miami. 

``We were trying to celebrate a coming of age of tolerance,'' he said recently.

Vila said his group has also attempted to meet with officials from NARAS but said ``they have not responded.''

Meanwhile, Cuban artists and bands nominated for Latin Grammy awards are planning to attend the September 11 gala in Los Angeles.

These Cuban nominees include jazz pianist Chucho Valdes, pop artist Andres Alen, salsa singer Isaac Delgado, singer Omara Portuondo of the Buena Vista Social Club group, country artist Celina Gonzalez, Afro-Cuban music singer Lazaro Ross and salsa band All Stars group, according to Cuban music authorities. 

Copyright (c) 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel 

Cuban musicians where they belong, 9/5/01, Granmatop

September 5, 2001

Cultural supplement
La Jiribilla interviews Latin Grammy nominees and the president of the Cuban Institute of Music
(Granma International staff writer)

CHUCHO Valdés is one of the most internationally acclaimed Cuban musicians. In terms of Grammy awards the pianist, composer, and director of the mythical music group Irakere has won three and is nominated in four categories for this year’s Latin Grammy award.

In recent days, news on the awards ceremony has made headlines, especially the decision of Michael Green, president of the Latin Academy of the Art and Science of Recording (LAASR), to change the venue from Miami to Los Angeles. This subject has been already been covered in our weekly.

Now, La Jiribilla (, the cultural supplement sponsored by Juventud Rebelde daily, has come up with the just idea of giving the word to the artists, the real protagonists.

In an interview with Manuel Henríquez Lagarde, Chucho Valdés revealed that he would go to Los Angeles, a decision made independently of the change of venue because "it’s a cultural event that certain people possibly wanted to turn into something else, and as representatives of Cuban culture, we should be there, where we belong."

The pianist and composer has just been nominated in three categories by the United States Association of Jazz Critics: artist of the year, jazz pianist of the year and for best album of the year. He received the best CD award with the same album which won him the Grammy.

He is now competing in the Latin Grammies for best jazz performance of the year with the CD Live in New York; also the Unforgettable Boleros CD with Irakere for best duo or vocal group; and for the music of the film Calle 54 (54th Street).


Cincuenta años ...como una reina (Fifty years... Like a Queen {really!}) is the title of Celina González’ CD, nominated for best tropical album, a kind of vignette of her extensive vocal career, according to journalist Nirma Acosta.

A certain Miami television network was "worried" that Cuban musicians might not attend if the ceremony took place in that southern city. Celina and her son Lázaro Reutilio were explicit: "Permission from Cuba was granted from the outset and all the papers have been presented to the U.S. Interest Section. The only thing left is for them to authorize the visa."

Regarding the change of venue, they commented: "The security measures were taken by the commission because the environment in Miami wouldn’t help in terms of a good awards ceremony, particularly with the Cubans from the island. It’s a good decision, but it’s a decision made by them. That issue wasn’t our concern...they grant the awards and any setbacks are their problem."

Celina affirmed her satisfaction at the nomination, "I dedicate this recognition to everyone who carries a musical message from Cuba to other parts of the world and I wish them all the best because our music really deserves respect."

Her son Lázaro Reutilio stated: "We appreciate the people of the United States who have nothing to do with other things that have occurred and which cannot constrain culture."

Lázaro Ross is nominated in the category of best folkloric album for the CD Yemayá. As his colleague Manuel Gonzáles Bello asserts: "At the age of 76, he is the greatest Akpwon of music of African origin in Cuba. He has taken his songs to over 50 countries and confesses that everything that he has he owes to the Revolution and his saints."

Ross was one of the founders of the National Folklore Group and after retiring five years ago, he created his own band. For him, the most significant event in recent times is the recording in the Abdala studios of a series of 13 albums of Yoruba music. Every album has more than 40 songs.

Also nominated in the same category is the album La Rumba Soy Yo (I am the Rumba, Bis Music), an overview of great Rumba stars, including Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Tata Guines, Changuito, Los Papines, Mayito Rivera and Issac Delgado, among others.

Lázaro Dagoberto González, violinist and coordinator of this CD, told La Jiribilla that the obstacles for participating in the ceremony "are there and it’s not fair that they boycott our work, which is very professional. I’m glad it’s to be held in Los Angeles. It’s calmer and there is more security. In any case, they wouldn’t be able to put a damper on Cuba’s presence."

In the category for best instrumental recording, Andrés Alén has been nominated for the CD Pianoforte, with all the songs produced by Alén himself. Six are preludes and two variations on the themes of La Vida (Life) by Silvio Rodríguez and El breve espacio en que tu no estas (The Brief Space When You’re Not Here) by Pablo Milanés.

Alén admitted to Juan Enrique García that the decision to move the Grammy Awards to Los Angeles is the most beneficial one for the event.

Issac Delgado received two nominations in the categories of best salsa album and best tropical song for La Fórmula, another album recorded in the Abdala studios, including 14 songs with arrangements by Delgado himself, Juan Manuel Ceruto, Joaquín Betancourt and Gonzalito Rubalcaba.

The cultural supplement interviewed Alicia Perea, president of the Cuban Institute of Music, whose response to Fidel Díaz’s first question as to the significance of these nominations was: "The Academy is serious and professional and has demonstrated its intelligence by creating the Latin Grammy Awards as something special. This is evidence that it realizes the importance, the strength, and the variety of our continent’s music. This is indisputable and we are very interested in this space."

She added that the Grammies constitute a very important aspect of promotion. "I don’t believe it’s the only medium but without any doubt, LAASR is a prestigious academy. I don’t think its the only way, but it’s one that we respect and value."

In terms of the nominations, Alicia Perea categorized the nominees as indisputably "figures with a very high degree of national and certain international recognition" and commented: "It’s not that the Grammies have discovered them, we already knew them and valued them, and almost all of them have released albums."

The opinion of the Cuban Institute of Music about participation in the event is they must go because it’s a space that belongs to Cuban artists. "It is an inalienable right and we should go where conditions of dignity, equality, and respect exist. Our criterion is that wherever Cuban artists are invited, as long as we are treated with those conditions that we demand for all Cubans, we should go.

With respect to speculations in the Miami media that the Cuban government would not allow the musicians to go because of the threats, Alicia Perea responded that it was always thought they should go. "Of course, if the conditions had been unfit, as they evidently were in Miami, we might have discussed these problems and warned the musicians. But our belief is that they should go. We have always taken into account the views of those nominated, who are ultimately the ones to decide whether to go or not."

She reiterated that the position of the Institute and of the Ministry of Culture is to attend in conditions of equal rights and gave the example that all guests should be invited with their partners, the Cuban recording studios and the agencies representing them.

The president of the Cuban Institute of Music announced through La Jiribilla that the Academy sent out all those invitations, thus "demonstrating its comprehension and respect for Cuban artists’ rights," and highlighted that all the visas have already been requested.

In conclusion, Cuban musicians are willing to attend the Latin Grammy awards in Los Angeles and, as Alicia Perea said, they are inspired by the spirit of art and will go wherever they are called to go, on a basis of respect, for a genuinely cultural exchange.

Contacting AfroCubaWebtop

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