Cuban band strikes chord with Sydney audiences
Nov. 4, 2009
Reprinted from The Guardian (Australia)
One of the highlights of the solidarity action with Ark Tribe in Sydney last Friday was the performance of a Cuban band and local dancer. They performed for construction industry workers and supporters at the beginning of the rally. The Group, JJ Son con Idalbelis, is renowned for its Son and Salsa music. It was brought to Australia by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) to build solidarity with the Cuban revolution. The group is on tour from October 19 to December 11 in Sydney and Canberra.
The tour also has the specific aims of building opposition to the US’s illegal blockade of the small socialist state and to increase awareness of the campaign for the release of the Cuban Five. The Cuban Five are political prisoners in the US who were jailed for attempting to thwart terrorist attacks on Cuba. The real terrorist, Posada Cariles roams the streets of Miami a free man.
The director of the band, José Angel Garcia congratulated the CFMEU for organising the tour. “It’s a great opportunity, not just to be involved in a cultural event in Australia but to be able to participate in the international campaign against the US blockade and in support of the Cuban Five,” José told The Guardian. The group of professional musicians normally plays in the cultural centres of Santiago de Cuba.
“We feel great, the people have been very warm and receptive. In particular, we found their solidarity with Cuba, against the US blockade and for the freedom of the Cuban Five as something unexpected in a country so far away,” José said.
The band will be performing on building sites, the waterfront and in other workplaces. A number of municipal councils are organising performances. The group performed last week at Strathfield Plaza in Sydney and has given two concerts at the Marconi Club in Sydney to 800 people.
The various Cuban solidarity and friendship groups in Sydney have come together with the CFMEU for a big solidarity gig on November 20 (see ad below).
It is expected that 15,000 and 20,000 people will hear the band during its tour. “That’s going to get the message out to a lot of working people who’ve never heard of the Cuban Five before”, CFMEU state secretary Andrew Ferguson told The Guardian.
“When we return it will be with a great sense of solidarity from the people of Australia,” José said. He concluded by saying, “Thanks for your friendship and don’t forget our performance on Friday November 20 in Sydney.”