GREAT PERFORMANCES Presents 'Havana Time Machine' on PBS, 10/6
"Like most Americans, Cuba seems like a dream, a land of rhythm and rum, of Ricky Ricardo and revolutionaries, baseball greats, gangsters, casinos, classic cars, and big cigars...But for me, it's the home I've never known, the place that my parents were formed, who in turn formed me. The roots of my musical soul have been reaching for Cuban soil my entire life. And now... the reality is beyond my wildest dream." Raul Malo and Eliades Ochoa in "Havana Time Machine" on "Great Performances."
So remarks Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter of The Mavericks and bandleader Raul Malo near the start of this pioneering music documentary, one of the first U.S. productions since travel restrictions have opened up in Cuba.
Born Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo, Jr. to Cuban parents in Miami, the versatile roots-rock music singer embarks on a musical and historical odyssey through the present-day Cuban capital in Havana Time Machine, a US/Cuba collaborative musical showcase premiering as a special co-presentation of GREAT PERFORMANCES and Latino Public Broadcasting's VOCES, Friday, October 6 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
Hermetically sealed by the Cold War for more than half a century Cuba remains, for the vast majority of Americans, the "Undiscovered Country," a unique time capsule of cultural traditions, relatively untouched. But the recent thawing of Cuban-U.S. relations is forging new relationships based on collaboration. The evolution of the Revolution creates a unique opportunity for a unique public media presentation to showcase the tropical kaleidoscope that is Havana's musical scene, past, present, and future.
Documented by richly atmospheric camera work, Malo visits such iconic locales as the grand boulevard, the Paseo del Prado; a small apartment/recording studio in Nuevo Vedado; the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA); the former farm estate of Ernest Hemingway; and Los Jardines De La Tropical, a once-magical beer garden now overtaken by jungle. Along with way, Malo has musical encounters such luminaries as Eliades Ochoa, an original member of the famed Buena Vista Social Club; acclaimed Cuban singer Ivette Cepeda; Sweet Lizzy Project, a modern Latin indie-pop band; andpiano-jazz maestro Roberto Fonseca. The beloved band The Mavericks perform music from their highly acclaimed new album Brand NEW DAY (Mono Mundo Recordings), which was featured in the Associated Press, Billboard, NPR Music, Entertainment Weekly and the Los Angeles Times.
Songs in the film include:
Siboney (Eliades Ochoa's band)
Quizas Quizas Quizas (Ivette Cepeda)
What Was Happening To Me (Sweet Lizzy Project)
Besame Mucho (Raul Malo w the Instituto Superior Arte student string quartet)
El Carretero (Eliades Ochoa's band)
Single Word (Sweet Lizzy Project)
Cubano Chant (Roberto Fonseca Band)
All Night Long (The Mavericks)
Easy As It Seems (The Mavericks)
Guantanemara (The Mavericks w/ guests vocalist Lisset Diaz of Sweet Lizzy Project, vocalist Ivette Cepedea, Eliades Ochoa on guitar, Roberto Fonseca on piano)
Afro Mambo (Roberto Fonseca Band)
Havana Time Machine is produced by Todd Jarrell and Todd Mayo (producers of the acclaimed PBS series, Bluegrass Underground), and directed and edited by Randy Hale and James Burton Yockey. Co-producer, Cuba, is Josue LOPEZ Lozano.
Havana Time Machine is a production of Todd Squared, in association with THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), and WCTE Upper Cumberland PBS.
Sandie Viquez Pedlow is executive producer for VOCES and LPB; for Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.
Throughout its more than 40 year history on public television, GREAT PERFORMANCES has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America's most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming.
Major support for GREAT PERFORMANCES is provided by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, Irene Diamond Fund, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, The Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Abra Prentice Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, and PBS.
Photo: John Partipilo