Marcel Lueiro

Gramophone Operator

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I was born in Havana, a city where music is like the air you breathe. Here, it is common to have a relative who sings well, plays an instrument or, at least, dances "properly".

I wanted to be a musician, but being a professional musician in Cuba is not an easy task. You have to study a long-lasting academic programme since childhood, which covers from classic music to Afro-Cuban rhythms; consequently, many children prefer to play baseball instead of sitting at a piano for long hours.

So, eventually, I decided to put my frustrated obsession for music on the back of my two other great (and real) vocations: poetry and journalism.

Through all these years, I have tried to make my poems simply "sound like music", and my articles talk about the magic feeling of uncovering and sharing new sounds. That is one of the main reasons I decided to write "Striking a note".

The other reason is that before I travel anywhere, I search on Internet for the music "of my destination", but I don't always find good clues. As I know there are other passionate music collectors like myself, I then decided that writing this blog might be useful for them all.

Although my musical taste is varied and wide, from Pink Floyd to Irakere, from Miles Davis and Radiohead to Van Van, this blog is exclusively dedicated to Cuban music; a wonderful universe you should get to know.

Maybe you have listened to Buena Vista Social Club and Compay Segundo, but not many people around the world know how diverse Cuban music is, or the fact that the island is home to many world-class artists in hip-hop, jazz, classic or electronic music.

I will then be "Striking a note". If you are interested in listening to Cuban music or learning about the best places to do so here, in my Island, I will keep the gramophone spinning for you.

Marcel Lueiro

Marcel's Been There Done That

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Recent articles by Marcel

  • 04 Apr 2017
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Striking a note

Basic guide to the DNA of salsa, mambo and other Cuban music genres

What is Cuba’s national dance? What are the sources of mambo and salsa? Where does Cuba’s musical richness come from? In this post we’ll answer these and other questions. We’ll talk about the origins of music in Cuba and of the generic cores from which most of its rhythms originate; rumba, mambo, salsa and others. I’ll now start playing a few tracks on my gramophone so that they shed light into Cuba’ s music story and so that you get to know and fully enjoy the island’s wide variety of sounds.
  • 21 Mar 2017
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Striking a note

Casa de la Trova: Sancti Spiritus's romantic and bohemian side

Evenings at Casa de la Trova (Trova House – trova or la trova, meaning troubadour music) in the city of Sancti Spiritus are bohemian and energising. Under the stars, in the interior patio of an 18th century colonial house, you’ll be able to taste first-hand the different flavours of Sancti Spiritus’s traditional music. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to meet the people from this city in central Cuba, through the sounds that define its five-century-old culture.
  • 17 Nov 2016
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Striking a note

Jamming sessions with Beatles music at the Submarino Amarillo

“Striking a note” visits Submarino Amarillo, a friendly and welcoming venue in Havana’s Vedado vicinity, where you can listen to some of The Beatles’s greatest hits live, performed by local cover bands. Cuban rock bands like Los Kents, Miel con Limón and Los Tackson frequently come here to play some Beatles classics as well as retro hits from other 60s and 70s popular rock bands, for an all-age nostalgic audience.
  • 11 Oct 2016
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Striking a note

In Santa Clara don't miss the El Mejunje: Cuba's leading bohemian haunt

El Mejunje is a cultural centre in the Cuban city of Santa Clara, hailed for its bohemian atmosphere and openness to diversity. It hosts the Thursday night performances of troubadours Roly Berrio, Leonardo Garcia, Yordan Romero, Yaima Orozco, Yordan Romero, Raul Marchena y Alain Garrido. They are all members of a movement called La Trovuntivitis, whose sole aim is keeping the Nueva Trova's creative and bold spirit alive. In this post I will enlighten you on where to go and what to do on Thursday nights, if you happen to be around Santa Clara.
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