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Havana Cultura - Part 2 - Inspiration, But Still No Rum! E-mail
News - Where We Have Just Been
Monday, 13 August 2012 06:23

If you want answers… You need to talk to the man in charge… 

7 Days in HavanaOf all the fabulous people we met in Cuba, François Rennie the Communications Director of Havana Club International S.A. had to be one of the coolest.  A Gentleman so obviously at home in Cuba, that he really is the perfect person to speak for and drive the Havana Cultura project forward.  TheFloatingRumShack.com threw a few questions his way about the Havana Cultura and we are pleased François was able to spare us some time to answer.

TheFloatingRumShack.com: So let’s keep it simple: In no more than twenty five words, can you explain what Havana Cultura is to someone who knows nothing about it? And yes, you lose points for going over!

François Rennie: Founded by Havana Club International S.A., Havana Cultura is a global platform for the promotion of contemporary Cuban creativity in all artistic disciplines.

TFRS: Cool – so is S.A. one word or two?  Anyway…

Obviously, it's good for Havana Club to associate itself with something as cool as Havana Cultura, but how do you feel that the artists benefit from the association?

Havana CulturaFR: Havana Club is committed to promoting and showcasing Cuban talent to audiences around the world. Havana Cultura exists to enable Cuban artists to show the world what they do and to let the world see and hear what they have to say about their work, their life and their city.

The artists benefit from international exposure through our website, e-newsletter, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel but also through events and concerts in our markets. An example is our collaboration with Gilles Peterson with whom we produced various albums featuring several diverse Cuban artists.

This project has meaningful results for artists – we regularly have feedback from artists who have had work opportunities after they started collaborating with Havana Cultura as many people discover them through our website, social media platforms, or at our events.

Havana Cultura - 7 Days in Havana 

TFRS: Is this something that will be taken out to a world-wide stage?

FR: As a true ambassador of Cuba, Havana Club always seeks to actively promote the talent and personality of the Cuban cultural scene around the world through its Havana Cultura initiative. Our website and social media presence ensures that fans from all over the world can get to know our artists and the Havana Cultura project, wherever they may be, and to further the global reach of the campaign, we have also held events featuring artists involved with Havana Cultura in countries across the world, including France, Belgium, the UK, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany or Chile.

 Havana Cultura - 7 Days in Havana

TFRS: We really enjoyed the 7 Days in Havana film and are looking forward to watching it again with friends and family. Havana Club rum features very subtly in it, which in some respects is a little strange - mostly because when we walked around Havana, Havana Club seemed to feature everywhere, but also because your company has made a financial investment - surely you must have been tempted to make sure that character X enjoys a great Cuba Libre?

FR: Thanks, we’re glad you liked it! We wanted to make sure this film was accessible to people around the world so due to the laws on alcohol marketing on TV and cinema varying from country to country, we had to keep branding to a minimum.

The main objective of this movie was to show Cuba and the life of Cuban people to the world so we are very happy with the result.

 Havana Cultura - 7 Days in Havana

TFRS: Is this as big as it is likely to get, or just the beginning?

FR: This is only the beginning for Havana Cultura and we are planning to keep developing this project in the upcoming years. To date, 100 Cuban artists have been interviewed for Havana Cultura.com and more than 80 profiles are available, providing an ever-expanding and unique insight into Havana’s vibrant cultural scene.

It is very important for us to build a lasting project to ensure the project is deemed to be credible by artists. We want to establish strong, long-term relationships with the artists we work with and so far, we’ve seen good results from this approach as our audience continues to grow year on year.

Havana Cultura - 7 Days in Havana 

TFRS: What has excited you most about the Cultura project to date?

FR: The most exciting thing about this project is that when you are looking for new Cuban talents, you sometimes discover new artists from diverse, artistic disciplines who are extremely talented.

The collaboration with Gilles Peterson and Danay Suárez was also very exciting and rewarding because this project enabled Danay to emerge in the international artistic scene.

 Havana Cultura - 7 Days in Havana

TFRS: I guess that music is the easiest and most popular medium to work within, but we saw the art at the Rum Museum and of course the 7 Days in Havana film. Will there be written media, poetry and performance artists - dancers etc?

FR: We embrace creativity in all its forms, including music, literature, film, design, architecture and visual and performing arts. At Havana Cultura.com it is also possible to learn about choreographers like Réné de Cárdenas, the dancer Carlos Acosta, the contemporary dance company ‘Danza Contemporánea de Cuba’, the writer Leonardo Padura Fuentes, the poet and novelist Wendy Guerra or the painter and sculptor José Fuster.

Havana Cultura - 7 Days in Havana 

TFRS: Please, please share one secret with the readers of TheFloatingRumShack.com - what's new and exciting in the future of Cultura?

RF: Well, seeing as you asked so nicely! We are currently working on a new project called Mala in Cuba, a collaboration between the DJ and Dubstep pioneer, Mala (a.k.a. Digital Mystikz) with Cuban musicians.

This project was initiated in 2011 when Mala went to Cuba during the recording of “The Search Continues” album. His album, produced in collaboration with Gilles Peterson, is a combination of the sound system culture of London and the rhythmic leanings of Cuban jazz. It’s due for release in September 2012 so keep an eye – or an ear - out for it then!

Check out the website for more news and tracks from Mala in Cuba.






Havana Cultura - 7 Days in Havana

Havana Cultura - 7 Days in Havana





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