Cuba | FIM workshop for musicians

Havana FIM workshop

By Ananay Aguilar

On 31 Oct.-2 Nov. 2017, FIM organ­ised its first event in Cuba since its 17th Congress, held in Havana in 2001. This train­ing work­shop was host­ed by UNEAC (Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba), in the frame­work of a region­al project fund­ed by Swedish organ­i­sa­tion Union To Union, with sup­port from SMF.

The FIM team con­sist­ed of Déborah Cheyne (FIM Vice President), John Acosta (President of AFM Local 47 – Los Angeles), Benoît Machuel (FIM General Secretary) and Ananay Aguilar (FIM Regional Coordinator for Latin America). They were giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet with UNEAC President Miguel Barnet, Guido López Gavilán (President of UNEAC Musicians’ sec­tion) as well as oth­er exec­u­tive mem­bers based in Havana and in the provinces of Villa Clara and Matanzas.

The event was attend­ed by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the most impor­tant musi­cal insti­tu­tions, includ­ing the Instituto Cubano de la Musica (ICM) and the col­lec­tive man­age­ment organ­i­sa­tion for authors and com­posers (Agencia Cubana de Derecho de Autor Musical – ACDAM). ICM, which is gov­erned by Cuba’s Ministry of Culture, over­sees the devel­op­ment, pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of music in the coun­try, includ­ing that of song­writ­ers through ACDAM. Also present was Nereyda López of the cul­tur­al work­ers trade union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Cultura), as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the nation­al cen­tre for arts schools (Centro Nacional de Escuelas de Arte – CNEART) and oth­er var­i­ous edu­ca­tion­al estab­lish­ments from pri­ma­ry to high­er music edu­ca­tion.

The FIM del­e­gates were intro­duced to the par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics of Cuban cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions and their com­bined efforts to sup­port local musi­cal tra­di­tions. They also learned about the unions’ com­pre­hen­sive mem­ber­ship and employ­ment sources for musi­cians. Copyright, col­lec­tive man­age­ment, union gov­er­nance and inter­na­tion­al cul­tur­al pol­i­cy were addressed, as well as gen­der, diver­si­ty and social mobil­i­ty with­in the local music indus­try.

A vis­it of the superb UNEAC head­quar­ters was organ­ised, as well as of the stun­ning cam­pus of the University of the Arts host­ing the Escuela Nacional de Arte and the Instituto Superior de Arte, where a meet­ing took place with the Principal Alexis Seijo García and the Dean of Music María del Rosario Hernández, amongst oth­er mem­bers of the University’s exec­u­tives.

The entire event was sur­round­ed by live music, with the Dúo Darias (Guajira music), the Trio Los Embajadores and a per­cus­sion group com­posed of stu­dents and teach­ers from the ISA. The high­light was on the sec­ond evening, when sev­er­al UNEAC mem­bers — includ­ing one of the for­mer mem­bers of Los Van Van, Angel Bonne, and gui­tarist Rey Montesinos — sur­prised us with a rich vari­ety of Cuban songs.


From left to right start­ing at the top: Benoît Machuel (FIM General Secretary), Rey Montesinos (Guitarist), Alejandro Sánchez Camps (President of UNEAC Musicians’ sec­tion at Villa Clara), Luis A. Llagano Pérez (President of UNEAC Musicians’ sec­tion at Matanzas), John Acosta (President of AFM Local 47 – Los Angeles), René Hernández Quintero (Director of ACDAM), José Alberto García Alfonso (President of UNEAC at Matanzas),

Nereyda López (General Secretary, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajdores de la Cultura), Juan Piñera (Vice President of UNEAC Musicians’ sec­tion), Guido López Gavilán (President of UNEAC Musicians’ sec­tion), Marta Campos (Vice President of UNEAC Musicians’ sec­tion), Dolores Márquez de la Torre (Vocalist), Ananay Aguilar (FIM Regional Coordinator for Latin America), Ailer Pérez Gómez (Musicologist, Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Música Cubana, CIDMUC),

Cary Diez (Producer, Bis Music), Deborah Cheyne (FIM Vice President and SINDIMUSI VP), Roberto Valera (Composer)

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