SILVIO & EL PODER DE LA PALABRA
A Tribute to the legendary Silvio Rodriguez
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE PROGRAM
Sunday September 20
5pm Pacific | 7pm Central |8pm Eastern
HotHouseGlobal, with event producers Bill Martinez and Catherine Murphy present the online debut screening of Catherine Murphy’s short film “Silvio Rodriguez: Mi primera tarea”. Following the film a host of legendary “nueva trova” artists will pay tribute to “Silvio” by performing a selection of his songs. The event will be exclusively streamed via the internet to viewers worldwide via the HotHouseGlobal channel on Twitch.tv
Silvio Rodriguez: Mi primera tarea (My first calling) is a 26 minute documentary film by Catherine Murphy that thoughtfully weaves archival footage of the Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961 and a rare, exclusive interview with Cuba’s iconic singer/songwriter and international recording artist, Silvio Rodriguez. Best known as Cuba’s most prolific songwriter of the 20th Century and the “Bob Dylan of Cuba”, Silvio recounts how at the age of 14, he volunteered to join the brigade of over one hundred thousand teenagers that went into the Cuban mountains and countryside to teach rural campesinos how to read and write. In this exclusive interview, Silvio shares his memories on how he was impacted by the experience and how it shaped his life. “For the first time in my life I left my family and took on a social cause as an active member of society,” he says. “And it marked me,” he admits. “Perhaps this first adventure is what set me on a path of adventure and social consciousness that define me as a man.”
The film was produced by The Literacy Project, La Rueda Films and Centro Memorial Martin Luther King “Silvio Rodriguez: Mi primera tarea” is distributed by The Literacy Project.
Silvio Rodríguez known throughout Latin America simply as “Silvio” is a Cuban musician, and leader of the nueva trova/nueva cancion (new song) movement that arose in the 1970’s.
He is widely considered Cuba’s most revered folk singer and arguably one of Latin America’s greatest singer-songwriters. Known for his intellectual, highly eloquent and symbolic lyrics, his songs are iconic elements of Latin American left-leaning intellectual culture. Many of his songs have become classics in Latin American music, songs such as “Ojalá”, “Playa Girón”, “Unicornio”, “Sueño con Serpientes”, “Vamos a andar,” and “La maza”. Among his other well-known songs are political anthems like “Fusil contra fusil” and “Canción del Elegido”, and poetic melodies like “A donde van” and “Noche sin fin y mar”. He has released over 20 albums.
The event “Silvio & el poder de a la palabra” will feature performances by a dozen notable artists who have come together in this exclusive and special tribute to “sing for Silvio”. The artists appearing are: Lila Downs, Quetzal, Duo Made y Feña, Roly Berrio, Francisco Herrera, Rebel Diaz, Katia Cardenal, and Kelvis Ochoa
The finale of the broadcast will be a screening of the video “Vamos Y Andar”, a Silvio classic sung by multiple Cuban greats.
This unprecedented gathering of musicians influenced by and paying homage to “Silvio” marks this special event to be of consequence world- wide.
ABOUT CATHERINE MURPHY
Catherine Murphy is a SF-based filmmaker whose work has largely focused on social documentaries. Her film MAESTRA has been translated into five languages and enjoyed wide distribution since release in 2012. Murphy has produced or field produced a dozen films including Matt Dillon’s El Gran Fellove, Saul Landau’s, Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?, and Eugene Corr’s From Ghost Town to Havana. She served as an archival researcher for Susanne Rostock’s biography of Harry Belafonte, Sing Your Song, and subtitled Stealing America by Dorothy Fadiman, Jaime Kibben’s The Greening of Cuba, and Out and Refusenicks by Sonja deVries. Murphy served as senior staff producer at the TeleSur TV Washington bureau and has produced content for PBS, TeleSur, Avila TV, Pacifica Radio National, WBAI and KPFA. She is the founder of Tres Musas Producciones, a collaborative production house of independent women producers working in film, music, and literature. Four short stories based on her interviews were published in Eduardo Galeano’s penultimate book, Espejos.
For more information on the film or Murphy: email@example.com
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
DUO MADE Y FEÑA
MADELEINE ZAYAS AND FERNANDO FEÑA TORRES. WITH SPECIAL GUEST CRAIG THOMAS.
Originally from Chile, Fernando “Feña” Torres is a musician, composer, poet, and journalist. He masters several Latin American folk string and wind musical instruments. He started to perform publicly at the zenith of what was later known as the Chilean New Song Movement. After being expelled from Chile by the military dictatorship in 1977, Mr. Torres came to the US as a political refugee. He was a founding member of one of the first South American music ensembles in the Bay Area, Grupo Raiz. Torres has composed music for theater and film and collaborated with many Bay Area and international musicians such as Pete Seeger and Holly Near.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Madeleine Zayas is a Latin American singer/interpreter and songwriter based in Oakland. She is the lead singer and artistic muse of the bands with whom she has been performing throughout the Bay Area since 2012. Her singing career began as a duo with Brandon Vance and as co-founder of Buena Trova Social Club. Dancing was her first love, which she began at an early age. She became a choreographer at age 10 and a professional dancer at age 15. She has performed in theaters and television in Puerto Rico, California and Nevada since 1985. She believes in art and cultural activism as a positive force of communication and a tool for social change.
Craig Thomas started playing guitar in the 60s. He’s played folk songs in archetypical 60s smoke-filled coffee houses and 70s West Coast scenes. In the 80s and 90s he joined in debates on both sides of the question, “Is jazz a folkloric musical form?”. In the 90s he started learning to play music from latitudes to the south, from the Caribbean to South America, including folkloric music, popular music, and latin jazz. A life long respect for songs of struggle has connected him with Madelina y los Carpinteros, with whom he plays string bass and Puerto Rican cuatro.
The band was founded by Quetzal Flores, with the intention of pushing the boundaries of Chicano music and is currently one of Los Angeles’ most important and successful groups. They play a mix of Mexican and Afro-Cuban rhythms, jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock music, supercharged by the dynamic vocals of lead singer and composer Martha Gonzalez. Their commitment to using art as a tool for social change is informed and inspired by global grassroots movements. They have also been instrumental in developing Fandango Sin Fronteras, a dialog between Chicanos and Chicanas from California and Jarocho and Jarocha (musicians from Veracruz, Mexico).
Theologian, Cultural Worker, Singer-Songwriter, Francisco Herrera has produced 7 albums (includes 2 children’s music in Spanish), writes scores for film and theater, working with producers like the late great Saul Landau. He has shared the stage with the Jon Fromer, Pete Seeger, Emma’s Revolution at mass actions as School of America’s Watch (up to 22,000 people), and the Battle for Seattle, with over 250,000 people shutting down the WTO in 1999 and massive demonstrations across the country
Katia Cardenal is a Nicaraguan singer, songwriter, and part of the nueva trova movement. Katia and her brother Salvador Cardenal formed Duo Guardabarranco, known for the songs “Guerrero del amor”, “Guardabosques”, “Casa Abierta”. and “Colibri”. Voice: Katia Cardenal, Guitar: Nina Cardenal
RODSTARZ DE REBEL DIAZ AND FRANCO VALDES
RodStarz is 1/2 of the Hip Hop group Rebel Diaz. The MC/organizer has been a part of Hip Hop culture since he was a teenage BBoy during the 90s in Chicago. A South Bronx resident since 2004, his community activism has shaped his lifes work from taking over buildings and starting the autonomous Hip Hop community space in The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDACBX) , to travelling the world w/ Rebel Diaz, to hosting and producing the Ñ Dont Stop show for Telesur English. This son of Chilean exiles truly has lived an internationalist struggle theu his actions. His favorite book is Down these Mean Streets by Piri Thomas and his favorite thing to do is play soccer with his son Roque.
Franco Valdes was born in Santiago,Chile on 1984.Musician,composer and active member of A Desalambrar (Chilean folk band).He was also a member of the alternative rock band Colt (New York 2008-2013)and the chilean punk rock band Resaka(Chile 2002).He started performing guitar and singing at the popular “Peñas” at the age of 15 in the late 90’s at the “poblaciones and barrios” in Santiago de Chile.
Kelvis Ochoa is a Cuban author-composer-singer. He is famous worldwide for having co-composed the original soundtrack from the movie Habana Blues, which won several prizes including the “Premio de la Musica” for the best movie soundtrack”. He is also part of the Cuban band Habana Abierta. Kelvis also started a solo career, and later with Descemer Bueno, another Cuban musician, who also produced his work, they co-wrote the album “Amor y Música”, released in 2009 on Cuba’s EGREM label. In 2013/14 Swiss film maker, Beat Borter made a documentary: “Yo sé de un lugar – Música y vida de Kelvis Ochoa” (I Know of a Place – Kelvis Ochoa living his music).
Lila Downs is a Mexican singer-songwriter and actress. She performs her own compositions and the works of others in multiple genres, as well as tapping into Mexican traditional and popular music. She also incorporates indigenous Mexican influences and has recorded songs in many indigenous languages such as Mixtec, Zapotec, Mayan, Nahuatl and Purépecha. Born and raised in Oaxaca, she primarily studied at the Institute of Arts by Oaxaca and briefly attended University of Minnesota, before withdrawing to focus on her musical career. She soon began performing in the traditional music scene of Oaxaca City.
Born into a poor but educated, cultured family, and during a period of intense intellectual activity in Cuba´s third city, Santa Clara, Berrío´s first love was acting. He was expected to study theatre was turned down and then chose music and, during the hardest years of the Special Period (1991–94, with the fall of the Soviet Union), he worked intensively on his own songs and began to develop what was to become a singular voice in the world of Cuban Trova. In Santa Clara, that he found a cultural home in Ramón Silverio´s famous community arts centre, El Mejunje. During this period, he co–founded the very successful and prize–winning trio En Série. Together they performed all over the island, recorded an album (Unicornio label), and toured in Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia and Spain. Finally, in 2003, after 12 inspired years together, two of the group left for Europe and Berrío, staying, decided to go solo.
At the very young age of 6, Rochy created a Cuban children’s program called Escenario Escolar Afterwards, she continued singing in various amateur projects in the Cuban educational system (the pioneers, the FEEM and throughout her University studies). After graduating as an Architect, she participated in an AHS Festival, where she was selected by committee to win a national award. Today Rochy Ameneiro leads Todos Contracorriente a musical project aimed at strengthening the culture of peace, and framed in the national campaign to fight against gender violence.
Born Susana Esther Baca de la Colina in Chorrillos, Lima Province, Peru, her music is a mixture of traditional and contemporary influences. Her backing band features indigenous Peruvian instruments such as the cajón (“wooden box”, whose origins lie in an upturned fruit crate), udu (clay pot), and quijada (jawbone of a burro) cheko a dried gourd, as well as acoustic guitar and electric upright baby bass. Although many of her songs are based on traditional forms such as the landó or vals, she also incorporates African elements of Cuban and Brazilian music.
Her debut CD brought her to the attention of World Music audiences worldwide. Her songs are poetic (with lyrics composed by some of Latin America’s premier poets, with whom she collaborates), rich with evocative imagery, and her voice is delicate yet soulful. She has an elegant and engaging stage presence, gliding gracefully about while singing. Her delivery is deeply felt and emotion-filled as to project a spiritual character, even in songs that are not expressly religious in subject matter.
Baca is an important figure in the revival of Afro Peruvian music within Peruvian dancers from the Perú Negro troupe, as well as “Festejo” music), which, like the culture that produced it, had previously been little recognized, but which is now regarded as an important part of Peruvian culture.
ABOUT NUEVA CANCIÓN (in CUBA, “NUEVA TROVA”)
Nueva Canción (‘new song’) is a left-wing social movement and musical genre in Iberian America and The Iberian Peninsula, characterized by folk-inspired styles and socially committed lyrics. Nueva Canción is widely recognized to have played a profound role in the pro-democracy social upheavals in Portugal, Spain and Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s, and was popular amongst socialist organizations in the region.
Songs reflecting conflict have a long history in Spanish, and in Latin America were particularly associated with the “corrido” songs of Mexico’s War of Independence after 1810, and the early 20th Century years of Revolution. Nueva Canción then surfaced almost simultaneously during the 1960s in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Spain. The musical style emerged shortly afterwards in other areas of Latin America where it came to be known under similar names. Nueva Canción renewed traditional Latin American folk music, and was soon associated with revolutionary movements, the Latin American New Left, Liberation Theology, hippie and human rights movements due to political lyrics. It would gain great popularity throughout Latin America, and left an imprint on several other genres like Ibero-American rock, Cumbia and Andean music.
Nueva Canción musicians often faced censorship, exile, torture, death, or forceful disappearances by the wave of right-wing military dictatorships that swept across Iberian America and the Iberian peninsula in the Cold War era, e.g. in Francoist Spain, Pinochet’s Chile, Salazar’s Portugal and Videla and Galtieri’s Argentina.
Due to Nueva Canción songs’ strongly political messages, some of them have been used in later political campaigns, for instance in the Orange Revolution, Violeta Parra’s “Gracias a la Vida”. Nueva Canción has become part of Latin American and Iberian musical tradition but is no longer a mainstream genre, and has given way to other genres, particularly Rock en español.
ABOUT THE CUBAN LITERACY CAMPAIGN & SILVIO
In 1961, The Cuban government put out a call to action to high school aged students to sacrifice one year of their lives to fight illiteracy in Cuba. “At the age of 14, who doesn’t have a year to give?”, Silvio gently chides. The response was unprecedented and over 100,000 teenagers joined the brigade of nearly a quarter of a million teachers that would make Cuba one of the most literate countries in the world. After the Cuban revolution, the youth of Cuba were quick to volunteer for an epic victory of their own. They were to fight a battle armed with books, pencils and notebooks, “A war against ignorance.” According to Silvio, there was barely a teenager in Cuba that didn’t want to join. “Youth need big, noble causes that will make them grow,” says Silvio. “This was a very beautiful and attractive cause, but very dramatic,” he recalls. “I’m sure that all who participated will never forget the lessons that we learned. Possibly the teachers learned more than the students,” he concludes.
The program will broadcast LIVE on HotHouseGlobal’s online streaming platform and presented free of charge. Most recently, this July, HotHouseGlobal successfully presented the Concert for Cuba. The online event attracted more than 4 million viewers in a similar two- night event.
The event will take place on Sunday September 20
5pm Pacific | 7pm Central |8pm Eastern
The Program will be exclusively broadcast via the Twitch.tv/HotHouseGlobal channel and simulcast on
- HotHouseGlobal on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fqiXc40zwA
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hothousechicago
- And on the HotHouse web site hothouse.net/HotHouseGlobal
Co-presenters around the world will also create Watch parties on Facebook to expand the reach and audience for this legendary event. The archival version will be available on HotHouseGlobal’s You Tube channel after the live stream two-day event is concluded. The program will be presented for free without pay walls and all labor related to the program has been donated.
The Center for International Performance and Exhibition d.b.a. HotHouse was founded in 1987 to provide a forum for expression in the arts that was under-represented elsewhere in Chicago and to facilitate events that amplified a variety of progressive social movements. To actualize its mission, the organization maintained two cultural centers where it presented its award-winning programs – the first catalyzed growth in the Wicker Park neighborhood (1987-1995) and the second spurred development in the South Loop in downtown Chicago (1995-2007). HotHouse’s commitment to partnering with low-income and marginalized communities, providing space for community conversation and grassroots activism, nurturing emerging artists and keeping ticket prices affordable, put it at the national forefront of modeling multiculturalism.
Historically, HotHouse has been long identified as one of the principal public venues in Chicago that presented a range of contemporary and traditional work from throughout the African diaspora. As part of that focus, HotHouse was the first organization in Chicago, and only one of a handful in the entire country (years before the success of The Buena Vista Social Club) to undertake the political and financial risk of hosting Cuban artists in the US during the years of the US Blockade of the island. The roster of Cuban artists that performed during these years includes for example: Los Van Van, Irakere, Barbarito Torres, Sierra Maestra, Orchestra Aragon, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and Chucho Valdes to name just a few. HotHouse created its Jazz en Clave Festival to emphasize the links between African-American and Latin jazz musics and via this festival convened coveted first-time State side collaborations between artists Paquito D’Rivera and Giovanni Hidalgo and the first U.S. appearance of (subsequent Mac Arthur “genius”) Dafnis Prieto. In 2017, HotHouse was one of twelve organizations in the US to receive a US State Department grant via the Embassy in Havana to create the Chicago-Guantanamo Blues Exchange. In 2018, HotHouse developed the travelling exhibition Tricontinental ’66 and other Acts of Liberation. To date the exhibition of posters, films and ephemera has been mounted at the Stony Island Arts Bank, NYU’s James gallery and University Of Virginia’s Bridge gallery.
In March, HotHouse developed an online streaming initiative HOTHOUSEGLOBAL to serve the NGO, small business, and cultural industries adversely affected during this health and economic crisis. The HotHouseGlobal Twitch channel facilitates a variety of multi-arts and community-based content and a worldwide network in the social justice and cultural sector. Since March more than 4 million people have tuned in to HotHouseGlobal.
Marguerite Horberg is the founder and Executive Director of HotHouse. Since the 1980’s mostly under the auspices of HotHouse, she has produced thousands of multi-arts events with an emphasis on weaving into cultural programming, an advocacy for social justice and historical reflections. She has created numerous festivals (Women of the New Jazz, Old and New Dream, South African Jazz, Jazz en Clave, et. al) and a several attenuated series (WPA 2.0, African Jubillee, Tricontinental ’66 and The Chicago Guantanamo Blues Exchange). Her work has earned some of the industries most coveted honors including Best of Chicago and the Abbey.
Bill is an immigration attorney who has also produced and managed cultural events in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1973. A native San Franciscan, he is a graduate the University of San Francisco and Hastings College of the Law. He has worked in the Community Law Collective (’74-’79), New College of California School of Law (’79-’83) and the Volunteer Legal Services
Program of the Bar Association of San Francisco (’84-’93). In 1981, he co-founded the Encuentro del Canto Popular, a San Francisco-based Latin American music festival. His work with the Encuentro lead him to become one of the nation’s leading experts in U.S.- Cuba cultural exchanges and artists’ visas. He co-founded the Latino Entertainment Partners which produced historically significant concerts of Cuban artists