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From exchange to ongoing change.

In an era that was dominated by an economic embargo and travel ban to Cuba, HotHouse was one of only a handful of stateside presenters that took the financial and political risk to consistently book the island's artists. This commitment, dating from the early 1990s, positioned HotHouse to be one of the nation’s premiere presenters of Afro-Caribbean cultural work. HotHouse has been one of a handful presenters in the entire country (years before the success of The Buena Vista Social Club) to undertake the political and financial risk of hosting Cuban artists in the U.S. during the years of the embargo. The roster of Cuban artists that made their U.S. debut via HotHouse during these years includes for example: Los Van Van, Irekere, Barbarito Torres, Sierra Maestra, Orchestra Aragon, Vocal Sampling, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and Chucho Valdes to name just a few


HotHouse-led delagations to Cuba include a trip to the Havana Jazz Festival in 2015, The Fuego Festival in Santiago, and the Chicago Guantanamo Blues Exchange 


The grant from the U.S State Department is for a cultural exchange project with Cuba. HotHouse will be bringing blues musicians from Chicago to Guantanamo, Cuba and Changui musicians from Cuba to Chicago. This project will facilitate cross-cultural awareness for music that has evolved originally from slave trading in the Black Atlantic and migrated throughout the African diaspora. In this project HotHouse intends to facilitate the exploration of the “Blues” as expressed in Chicago and Guantanamo, Cuba. “Changüí” is a style of Cuban music which originated in the early 19th century. It arose in the sugar cane refineries and in the rural communities of the eastern region of Guantánamo Province, specifically Baracoa. Changüí combines the structure and elements of Spain's canción and the Spanish guitar with African rhythms and percussion instruments of Bantu origin. The blues patterns of Changüí have similarities to music that also migrated to Chicago. The exchange will facilitate an opportunity to build an international dialogue between artists and educators around this shared cultural legacy.

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