The marketplace for Cuban art has finally come of age. Today art galleries, museums, music venues, and the like are all filled with the beautiful expression of Cuban artist. From New York to Paris, interest has gained momentum and an increasing number of artists are discovering a thriving market for their work. Let’s take a look at a few well-known Cuban artists.
One of the most prominent musicians of the present alternative, contemporary-music scene, Roberto Carcasses has an outstanding musical lineage. His father is the famous jazziest Bobby Carcasses. Following in the footsteps of some of the great Cuban pianists like Gonzalo Rubalcava and Emiliano Salvador, Roberto changed from percussion to piano-composition and the jazz set right after graduating. Since hooking up with other influential artist in the early 90s, he continues to enthuse and provide a secure, but refreshing foundation for them and many others. His music is a mix of hip-hop, jazz, rock, and blues known as Timba-Funk.
José Manuel Mendive
The eccentric and legendary universe of African creeds with its mysterious and emblematic language, along with an intentional youthfulness and use of color is what comprises this artist’s focus. José Mendlve graduated from the well-respected Academy of Fine Arts San-Alejandro in 1962 in Havana with honors in painting and sculpture. His work can be viewed in galleries and museums in various countries such as the Modern Arts-Museum of Cartagenas of the Indies, as well as museums in Somalia, Norway, Congo, Russia, Finland, Denmark, and the United States.
A talented singer, songwriter, bassist, and guitarist, Yusa, has been stirring crowds in Cuba, Japan, and Europe. Frequently personal and subdued, and other times erratic and livid, Yusa’s funky bass-playing and free style singing are a modern amalgamation of Brazilian, Cuban, R&B, and jazz. Even though today she feels the need to focus on a milder form of her music. Her extensive and intimate friendships with Descemer Bueno, Roberto Carcassés, and Pàvel Urquiza, continues to be a motivation for her. Yusa is a unique guitar and bass player with a sensitive, soulful voice. She is signed with the TUMI label.
Engraver, painter, sculptor, drafter, and ceramist, Nelson Dominguez’s rather conceptual work, is discernible by his knowledge of narrative disposition and color. A native of Baire, Santiago de Cuba, Nelson studied at the Cubanancan National Art-School. He has a trail of prestige and honor in his wake. He is a member of the UNEAC, Union of Writers and Artists-of-Cuba, and the AIAP, International Association of Plastic-Artists. In addition, Nelson has been awarded the Alejo Carpentier award and the National Cultural award. Patrons say, “Nelson Dominguez is similar to a chemist that waits for responses and determinedly explores matter in the vast laboratory of his mind with no restriction to artistic expression.”
Photo by Anders Rising
A young, gifted pianist/composer, Aldo Gavilan is popular with both the contemporary and classical fusion scene. Considered a young-prodigy, and hailing from one of Havana’s most well known families, he started composing at the age of five, playing at six, performing and accepting honors at the age of 12, and at 17, playing Prokofiev with Cuba’s National-Symphonic-Orchestra. In addition, Aldo plays jazz at Cuba’s International Jazz Festival.
If you would like more information on the music and art of Cuba, we offer a Free Cuba Brochure and Music of Cuba CD. This also details our very popular Cuban Music and Art Tour. To request info on this trip, simply call or fill out a request form.