Cuban Pianist Roberto Fonseca Performs on Livestreaming Music Festival From Havana Saturday

Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca performs in the weekend-long online festival “Tunturuntu pa ‘tu casa,” from Havana, Cuba, in an Instagram Live concert tomorrow Saturday, 5:30 to 6 p.m. EST time.

This weekend’s performances represent the second installment of the event, the first live streaming music festival from Cuba. The previous edition took place on March 18 to 22 and featured artists such as Cimafunk, Daymé Arocena, and Alain Pérez. This weekend´s announced performers include Dayramir González, Zule Guerra, Haila María Mompié, Luna Manzanares and Suylén Milanés. Only today´s schedule was available at Tunturuntu´s site.

The event was organized by Tunturuntu, a cultural platform, in collaboration with Fonoma, a phone recharge service. Each artist offers his or her performance on their personal platform.

Having an online festival from Cuba is a testament to the Cubans’ ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit, especially when considering the troubled history and high cost of accessing the web from the island. In fact, in a story on Fonoma’s blog, writer Jose Raul notes that “the high cost of internet in Cuba, it’s an obstacle for the festival’s impact on the island, but is important that the message gets to everyone: stay at home, connect with your family, your friends and with music.”

Sound advice — in Cuba and wherever you are reading this. Stay safe.

African Music Giant Manu Dibango Dies of Coronavirus at 86

Manu Dibango at the festival Les Escales a Saint-Nazaire, France, July 2019 Photo via Wikicommons

Cameroonian saxophonist Emmanuel N’Djoké “Manu” Dibango died in Paris yesterday, March 24, after contracting Covid-19. “It is with deep sadness that we announce you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove,” read the announcement on his official Facebook page. He was 86.

His best-known hit, “Soul Makossa” (1972), is a smooth mix of jazz, soul, funk, and African music elements. Originally the B-side of a Dibango’s 45 RPM single, the song outlived the disco era and remained an inspiration for generations of American artists. According to the site, Dibango’s work was sampled (not always with his permission) by artists such as Michael Jackson (on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ ,” which was settled out of court), Rihanna, Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest, and Busta Rhymes. Others have noted his work on tracks such as Public Enemy’s “Can’t Truss It” and JAY-Z’s “Face Off.” He also collaborated with artists as disparate as Herbie Hancock, Fela Kuti, Peter Gabriel, Eliades Ochoa, and Don Cherry.

Born in Douala, Cameroon in 1933, Dibango went to high school in France, where he learned to play piano and then saxophone. He spoke in interviews about falling in love with jazz after listening to Louis Armstrong and Count Basie in the cellars of Paris. A story noted that the first song Dibango performed on the sax in front of his classmates was “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

“I play different kinds of music before playing my own. I think that’s very important to play other people’s music,” he is quoted in the story. “As you are African they expect you always to play African. Forget that. You’re not a musician because you’re African. You’re a musician because you are a musician. Coming from Africa, but first, a musician.”

Love In The Times of The Virus: Fred Hersh Daily Mini-Concerts

In an e-blast today, pianist Fred Hersh announced a program of free daily mini-concerts available on his Facebook page, beginning Sunday. It is not necessary to have a Facebook to access it.

At a time in which many of us are not only trying to adjust to a “new normal” but also bring back old revolutionary concepts such as solidarity, community, and the common good, we certainly can use all the grace and beauty we can get.

“I hope everybody is safe and healthy and will remain that way. This is an unprecedented challenge to everyone on the planet and we all need resilience and resourcefulness going forward,” reads the message.

“Starting this Sunday, every day at 1pm EST, 10am PST, and 7pm in Europe I will do a live mini-concert of piano music from my home. You can see and hear the concert here:

“You don’t have to “be” on Facebook or sign in to anything to access the concert. Just click the image below. And if you “like” the page you will be notified each day.”

“Wishing you all strength and much love,
Fred ”








If you are familiar with Hersh’s work, you need no further encouragement.
If you have not heard Fred Hersh, you are in for a treat.