By Mayté Solano Gómez

As every year, this May it was time for the Cubadisco International Fair. However, due to the coronavirus, this Cuban music festival is on hold. The new date: May 2021.

This event, the most important in the Cuban music recording industry, is dedicated every year to a country and a musical genre. However, other artistic forms are present, such as dance, cinema and art. In addition, personalities and artists with an outstanding and creative body of work are honored each time.

A little bit of history of the Cubadisco

The Ebano Ponograph as the symbol of Cubadisco.
Since the begining of Cubadisco, the Ebano Phonograph was established as the main symbol of the event.

The first edition of Cubadisco was held in April 1997 in Havana. It was a space created to facilitate exchanges between producers and executives of the music industry. Hence, a broader event was organized to establish a balance between all the Cuban and foreign record companies in the country (there were 6 in 1997).

Since its creation, thousands of Cuban and foreign musicians have participated in the event. Countries with a more tropical and Caribbean music tradition such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Venezuela, and others with a culture more distant from ours, such as Germany, Spain and Japan have all taken part.

The Grand Prize and, if it is considered necessary, Special Prizes are awarded to people or institutions with an outstanding record in the musical field and especially related to the phonogram.

Some interesting things

The first edition of the Cubadisco had as its distinctive element that Cuban musicians carried out the longest son in the world. The fact was registered as Record Guinness. More than a thousand musicians performed there. Some one hundred groups from all over the country played for one hundred hours in five days.

Since the III edition forward, in 1999, the event has taken place in May.

In the 12th edition in 2008 the longest rumba in the world was performed. For this, each of the Cuban provinces organized a day of rumba. This began at 9 p.m. on May 3 in the province of Guantánamo, at the east of the country, and ended on Saturday the 17th in the Cuban capital.

In 2001 the Honor Prize was established. This one for Cuban or foreign personalities with an exceptional career in contributing to the creation and promotion of music, with great cultural and social significance.

What will we miss this year?

One of the main stages where the Cubadisco International Fair takes place is the emblematic Karl Marx Theater, in the capital city of Playa. With capacity for more than 5500 people, it is regularly used for large national and international shows. In 2003 it became a Cultural Complex, with a cafeteria and a night club.

On the other hand, one of the purposes of Cubadisco in 2020 would be to resume the Trade Fair. The “Pabellón Cuba” (Cuba Pavilion), also in Havana, would be the headquarters. Located in Vedado, in the center of the famous Havana Ramp, it is a suitable setting not only for music, but for the visual arts. Cinema shows, photographic exhibitions and dance shows take place in this venue.

Very close to the Pabellón Cuba is the casa particular Casa de Mario, with a Colonial style, spacious rooms and vintage decoration.

With an area of 7,000 m², about 2,000 m² were dedicated to the buildings of the Cuba Pavilion and the rest to gardens and the cultivation of tropical plants. With characteristic elements of Cuban architecture, a portal with arches and columns that recreate the Cathedral of Havana, typical windows of the city of Camagüey, a huge mahogany staircase and the ceiling decorated with precious woods. Altogether, a space to enjoy art in good company.

Live the Cubadisco in 2021

Between May 15 and 23, 2021, the XXIV edition of the Cubadisco International Fair will be held. As planned, Spain will be the Guest of Honor country. This was recently confirmed by the Cuban Institute of Music (ICM), the main organizer of the event, and other authorities linked to its implementation.

They also confirmed that the musical and audiovisual productions nominated for the Cubadisco Prize 2020 will be maintained, in addition to the musical works that will be presented until October 31, 2021. The different radio and television media, with the help of the internet, will contribute to the dissemination of the works in competition.

Meanwhile, keep the measures that allow you to be healthy and avoid getting infected with Covid 19. But also take the opportunity to dream and organize, why not, your visit to Cuba within the framework of the International Fair Cubadisco 2021. I´m sure you will not regret it.