July 3, 2015
In celebration of the progressive thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations, following are selections from the “Buenos Días, América” album by Pablo Milanés. I recall listening endlessly to this 1987 album on my new “Sony Walkman” (remember those?) as I travelled by bus south from Santiago, Chile to Chiloé. The lead song takes on new meanings in the context of “normalizing” relations with Cuba. On Wednesday, June 30, following discussions that have been underway since last December, President Barack Obama announced that, as of July 20, 2015, the United States and Cuba will once again host Embassies in each other’s capitals. Welcome news, indeed, after 54 years of rupture! Already we can anticipate much healthier relationships in the hemisphere. Check it out:
Next, we turn to Colombian musician, César López, renowned for inventing the escopetarra, a guitar made out of a gun. (See more here.) He performs here with the inimitable Marta Gómez. With thanks to Vicenz Fisas for sending these pieces just recorded on López’s recent visit to Barcelona:
El árbol y el huracán
In the spirit of renewed PanAmericanism, here is a festive mix from Dominican Juan Luis Guerra:
Finally, this tune sets the tone for the long 4th of July Independence Day weekend from U.S. musical legend Nina Simone, whose unforgettable “Feelin’ Good” will have you humming for hours. (Special thanks to my daughter, Maya, for cluing me in to Nina!):
Happy 4th of July weekend to all.