Music & Film I Am Cuba directed by Mikhail Kalatozov The Pedrito Martinez Project

Soy_CubaWednesday August 5 7:00 PM

Central Park SummerStage
New York, NY

The multi-faceted musician performs songs anchored in his beloved Cuba; followed by a screening of the unforgettable film that reconstructs the life of the island during the Batista era. Presented in association with the African Film Festival.

Started only a week after the Cuban missile crisis, I Am Cuba (1964) turned out to be something quite unique — a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist kitsch, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality. The plot, or rather plots, feverishly explore the seductive, decadent (and marvelously photogenic) world of Batista’s Cuba — deliriously juxtaposing images of rich Americans and bikini-clad beauties sipping cocktails poolside with scenes of ramshackle slums filled with hungry children and gaunt old people. Using wide-angle lenses that distort and magnify, and filters that transform palm trees into giant white feathers, Urusevsky’s acrobatic camera achieves wild gravity-defying angles as it glides effortlessly through long continuous shots. However, I Am Cuba is not just a catalog of bravura technique — it also succeeds in exploring the innermost feelings of the characters and their often desperate situations. Shown without subtitles at the San Francisco International Film Festival, I Am Cuba received two standing ovations during the screening. The first movie ever jointly presented by master filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, I Am Cuba is one of the great discoveries in international cinema.

The Pedrito Martinez Project celebrates the solo debut of a dynamic and multifaceted artist whose meteoric rise and trajectory spans two decades. He has performed since the age of eleven with greats such as Lazaro Ros, Mercedita Valdes, Meshell Ndegeocello, Paquito D’Rivera, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Steve Coleman, to name a few. He is largely remembered for the inimitable contributions he made to the band Yerba Buena with Pedrito’s musical vocabulary anchored in the traditional and spiritual rhythms of his beloved Cuba. With Slave to Africa, his first solo album, he unleashes his artistic repertoire and vision as composer, lyricist, lead percussionist, and vocalist. Enthusiasts will delight in Pedrito’s unique interpretation of Caribbean-tinged Afrobeat rhythms. (Source)