A new documentary premiering Friday on PBS follows four Cuban musicians who found success elsewhere but just couldn't leave their homeland behind. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
More than a decade ago, the album and later a documentary called "Buena Vista Social Club" was a surprise hit, enabling a group of aging Cuban musicians to travel the world and share their music. It's credited with helping to revive interest in Cuban music worldwide.
Now, it seems there is a new trend on the music scene. Cuban musicians like Raul Paz, who left the island nation, are returning and stirring up a new musical melting pot.
“It's a privileged moment right now when it comes to music. It's a moment of time where musicians that lived outside of Cuba are now coming back and are bringing that knowledge with new influences and new ways to create music,” Paz said through an interpreter.
Paz left Cuba years ago and found success abroad. He says that more than the politics or poverty, Cuba was just too small for his dreams. But Paz and the other three musicians featured in the new documentary "Havana, Havana!" said they felt a need to return home and reconnect musically and spiritually with their roots.
“We have to do more together. Because at the end what you need is music to be better. We want this generation that’s coming back to Cuba to create lasting bonding between people,” Paz said through an interpreter.
The film follows Paz along with the accomplished Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa and David Torrens. The musicians note that in the past, artists who left had trouble returning to Cuba. But now, their success is viewed as a success for the whole country. Their homecoming culminates with a concert in Havana.
As for the future, in the reverse order of Buena Vista Social Club, an album is in the works.
“It should be out next year with original songs, duos, trios and combinations,” Paz said through an interpreter.
Fittingly, the song he played for NY1 is called "At Home." He is also recording a new solo album to be released next year.
Debut: Friday, July 27 at 9 p.m. on channel 13
Sunday, July 29 at 12:30 p.m. on channel 13
Sunday, July 29 at 3:30 p.m. on WLIW21
Sunday, July 29 at 9 p.m. on NJTV