The Cuban art schools project after the revolution was an example of art vs politics drama. The unfinished architecture of the arts schools in Cuba.
PBS has a great show on the topic, it’ll be on our neighbourhood PBS station WNED Buffalo, Sunday Oct 28 4PM.
It bears on music in Toronto, in that almost all of the excellent Cuban musicians we enjoy here have been through the arts school system, many at ENA campus Havana. They can whip off a montuno to make you dance and transform it smoothly into a Rachmaninoff phrase while tapping two different rhythms with each foot.
For sure, the Cuban culture supports a LOT of music anyway. But the amazing level of timba music would never have been achieved without the smorgasbord of influences, talent, and competition at the art schools. Due to the revolution, the African, Spanish, Russian traditions met in a full force, vital collision at these places, since all Cubans suddenly has access to higher education.