Friday, March 4, 2011

NPR Blogs Alt Latino: Pablo Menéndez 'found refuge under the protection and musical mentorship of Leo Brouwer'

[TOP: The Classics of Cuba; Leo Brouwer, Guitar; LP Album (1972) BOTTOM: Pablo Menéndez]
Alt Latino
Categories: From The Vault
03:54 pm
March 3, 2011
by Eric Zolov

This is the second installment in a two-part article about Cuban rock during the revolution. Check out part one here.

“Cuba, 1966.” “That October, Pablo Menéndez, a teenager from San Francisco with little Spanish — but a passion for guitar — arrived for what he expected to be an educational year abroad at Cuba's prestigious National Arts School (ENA). A year became a lifetime.”

“The ENA, where Pablo was enrolled, was unique to the Americas, if not the world. Children of peasants with little or no educational background mixed with urban educated youth, all committed to studying the arts. The comingling produced, as Menéndez later remarked, an 'explosion of creativity.'"

“By then, Menéndez was more committed than ever to the Cuban revolutionary project. Yet rock was officially deemed the music of imperialism by authorities. Though frustrated by the small-mindedness of officialdom, he also discovered that he was not alone in his urge to innovate.

“Other talented young artists such as Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés and Noel Nicola had their own run-ins with authorities. Around 1970, they migrated to the offices of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), where they found refuge under the protection and musical mentorship of Leo Brouwer, a like-minded yet classically trained guitarist.” [The Afro-Cuban composer, guitarist and conductor Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at]

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