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LatAm associations draft gender equality declaration

Musicians’ unions across Latin America have drafted and signed a declaration pledging to work towards gender parity in their memberships.

At an event hosted by the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) in Bogota, Colombia, before Christmas, local artists’ union Ormúsica, as well as its counterparts in Uruguay (Audem and Fudem), Argentina (Sadem), Peru (SIMCCAP), Panama (Sitmas), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Sindmusi), Mexico (SUTM), Cuba (UNEAC) and Costa Rica (UTM), put their names to a document committing to achieving a 50-50 gender split among their members, with 30% women by 2025.

The declaration, entitled Declaración sobre equidad de género en el sector musical sindical (Declaration on gender equality in the musical union sector), also commits the signatories to undertaking an annual census of their memberships to assess the progress made towards gender equality.

In a statement, FIM, which represents some 70 musicians’ unions globally, thanked Ormúsica “for their warm welcome to a successful event”.


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UN pumping $1.3m into Cuban music biz

With the two-year anniversary of Cuba’s restoration of diplomatic relations with the US fast approaching, a UN agency is providing a “helping hand” with rebuilding the Cuban music industry.

Drawing on a US$1.3 million budget provided by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), a United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) project is aiming to promote entrepreneurship and boost the export value of an industry that has “suffered” badly under a five-decade US trade embargo.

“Cuban music has a well-deserved international reputation due to its incredible quality and the talent of its musicians, but the country’s music sector needs further development in order to optimise this asset and grow internally and externally,” comments Carlos Chanduvi Suarez, head of Unido’s Latin America and Caribbean regional division.

According to Unido’s Charles Arthur, the project will focus on expanding both the recorded and live markets by, among other things, “developing business models, training musicians, producers and engineers, advising on branding and marketing strategies and supporting wholesalers and retailers”.

Cuban music has a well-deserved international reputation […] but the country’s music sector needs further development in order to optimise this asset”

By the end of project, in 2018, Unido says the value of sales in the Cuban music industry will have increased by 30%, and the sector become “more inclusive and sustainable”.

The Rolling Stones played their first show in Cuba last March; an event widely seen as a turning point in a country that once banned all Western-style rock’n’roll – including the Stones and Beatles – for “ideological deviation” from the communist line.

Michael Vega, WME’s former head of Latin music, told The Fader in 2015 a liberalising Cuba has the potential to be a major market for live music. “We’ve heard of a lot of A&Rs and writers going over to Cuba and doing scouting trips,” he said. “It just seems that every day you hear about someone having gone or planning to go.”


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Havana bans live music following Castro death

The first commercial flight from the US to Cuba since 1961 landed in a subdued Havana yesterday, where live music has been temporarily banned following the death of Fidel Castro.

Castro, a communist guerrilla who came to power in 1959 and ruled the Caribbean island until 2006, died on Friday (25 November) after a period of illness. According to the Associated Press, a ban on live music and alcohol during the period of official mourning has shuttered the city’s venues and nightclubs, “hush[ing] the capital’s usually festive nightlife”.

The timing of the visit of American Airlines flight 17, from Miami – and a Jet Blue flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy airport later the same day – is a coincidence: the easing of restrictions on commercial travel to Cuba was put in motion by a 2014 executive order by US president Barack Obama.

“A state-sanctioned ban on live music has hushed the capital’s usually festive nightlife”

Despite the partial overturning of longtime ban on US citizens visiting Cuba, ‘pure’ tourism is still illegal, with most travelling under loopholes around educational, religious and sporting activities.

In a sign of Cuba’s growing liberalisation since the handing over of power to Castro’s brother, Raúl, in 2006, The Rolling Stones played a free concert in Havana in March. It was billed as the first open-air concert in Cuba – which at one time had banned Western pop music altogether – by a British rock band, although that claim was disputed by Manic Street Preachers.


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eps supplies 600m of stage barriers for the Stones in Cuba

eps supplied six containers’ worth of concert infrastructure, including 1,200sqm of the Arena Panels ground-protection system, 600m of GIGS stage barriers and 600m of mobile fences, for The Rolling Stones’ landmark Concert for Amity in Havana in last month.

The multinational event infrastructure specialist, which has offices in Germany, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, Australia and North and South America, also sent eight supervisors to oversee the set-up and dismantling of all equipment and production vehicles and modular cable protectors to ensure everything ran smoothly behind the scenes.

The show “presented itself with certain challenges because there hasn’t been anything comparable to this open-air event before in Cuba”, says eps, but it was “pleased with the successful outcome” and “proud to be a part of this historic rock event”. It also thanked promoter Concerts West for “their trust and the great cooperation with everybody involved”.

The show, billed as the “first open-air concert in Cuba by a British rock band” was reportedly witnessed by a crowd of 1.2 million people: 700,000 in the Ciudad Deportiva stadium and another 500,000 listening outside.