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UNESCO pays tribute to birthplace of Jazz Plaza Festival
 
 
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27 April 2017/ UNESCO Havana/Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Legendary jazz musicians Herbie Hancock and Bobby Carcassés unveiled a plaque in honour of the House of Culture of the municipality of Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, birthplace of one of the most important jazz events in Cuba and the region: the Jazz Plaza Festival.

The tribute became an expression of love for the persons and institutions in Cuba and the world who promote the music genre described by Hancock as the “universal language of peace”.

In her opening remarks, the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, Katherine Muller-Marín, highlighted the effort made by this House of Culture in the early 1980s, when it welcomed the idea proposed by Cuban musician Bobby Carcassés to convene the first festival dedicated to the promotion of jazz musicians well-known on the Cuban music scene as well as new and upcoming talents.

Likewise, she stressed the importance of the national system of Houses of Culture, a network of cultural institutions conceived to safeguard the expressions of local communities so that culture may become the heritage of all, not a privilege.

“Today, surrounded by neighbours, workers and friends, this House receives UNESCO’s gratitude, for the contributions it has made and the fruit that its spiritual nurturing provides on a daily basis to Cubans of all generations. Today, UNESCO makes an important recognition to this House of Culture and to Armando Rojas, its Director at the time the Jazz Plaza Festival was founded,” she concluded.

The Director of Culture in the city of Havana, Mayra Lassalle, thanked UNESCO for this tribute and underscored the support given by the Organisation to the development and promotion of culture in Cuba for nearly 70 years.

In turn, Hancock, special guest of the celebration of International Jazz Day in Havana and a source of inspiration, together with UNESCO, for the proclamation of this Day six years ago, declared, “This is truly a momentous and historic occasion for all of us”.

This UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador described Cuba as “the perfect place for celebrating International Jazz Day 2017” and the House as the most symbolic place to celebrate the music that has been the lifeblood of his career and to honour the ethics for which it stands—peace and intercultural dialogue.

Hancock expressed that he felt fortunate to celebrate and reconnect with their extended jazz family here in Havana—musicians, artists and citizens.

Minutes before unveiling the plaque perpetuating UNESCO’s tribute to the Plaza House of Culture, Carcassés brought to mind the first Festival in 1980, which has been the seed of other outstanding jazz events in Cuba, such as the JoJazz Festival, which promotes young talented performers of this genre.

The ceremony continued with the launching of the book Entre Claves y Notas… Rutas para el pensamiento musical cubano, by the recently deceased Cuban musicologist Leonardo Acosta, winner of the National Music and Literature Award.

The event came to a close with a jazz session given by the young Cuban pianist Alejandro Falcón and his group, with the students of the Thelonious Monk Institute invited to the festivities. They were joined by young Cuban artists as well as Maestro Herbie Hancock himself.

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Jazz Day, 30 April 2017 ESPAÑOL ENGLISH FRANÇAIS

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