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Havana, Havana!

Airs Friday, July 27, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Cuban musician Raul Paz with fellow musical stars Descemer Bueno, David Torrens and Kelvis Ochoa. Tap your toes to the beat of this music documentary featuring these expat Cuban musicians who return to Havana for a concert.

"HAVANA, HAVANA!" is a music documentary that explores how changes in Cuba are inspiring a new generation of musicians. Musicians Raul Paz, Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa and David Torrens each have their own unique stories to tell, but their lives share a common theme. Each of them chose to leave Cuba and make his musical career abroad, and each decided to return home with the goal of reinvigorating the musical life of the country they left behind.

Cuban musician Raul Paz returns to Havana for a concert.
Enlarge this image

Above: Cuban musician Raul Paz returns to Havana for a concert.

Cuban musicians perform on stage for a concert in Havana.
Enlarge this image

Above: Cuban musicians perform on stage for a concert in Havana.

Today, they are making music in Cuba again (together and separately), bringing to their songs the sounds and rhythms of other cultures – jazz, electro, hip-hop, soul – and injecting a new spirit into the traditional Cuban music of their childhoods.

The storyline of "HAVANA, HAVANA!" builds to a much-anticipated concert featuring the country’s “prodigal sons,” brought together by Paz. The film shows Paz, Bueno, Ochoa and Torrens during rehearsal, sharing musical ideas and blending their distinctive styles. Throughout, the musicians’ interviews are intercut with scenes of concert preparations and visits to places where they grew up and first learned to love music.

Woven together, their stories create a fugue: each of the musicians was nourished by traditional Cuban music; each was fascinated by music from other cultures; and each left Cuba to find himself as an artist. The film captures the poignancy of their homecoming and the triumph of their concert in Havana, where they play together for the first time for the Cuban people.

“This is the story of great musicians most Americans don’t know,” says David Grubin, multiple Emmy® Award winner and the film’s producer. “As grandchildren of Cuba’s revolution, Paz, Bueno, Ochoa and Torrens faced unexpected bumps on their journeys, but ultimately prove the spirit of the Cuban people is alive and well.”

"HAVANA, HAVANA!" is produced by David Grubin Productions and Coloma Productions.

Video

Preview: Havana, Havana!

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Watch Summer Arts Festival Preview: Havana, Havana! on PBS. See more from PBS Arts.

Above: Tap your toes to the beat of this music documentary, which vibrates with the soul and energy of African-Cuban drummers, guajira guitarists and the pulsing melodies of celebrated Cuban musician Raul Paz, who brings together fellow musical stars Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa and David Torrens for a concert in Havana.