There is no pre-requisite for this course. This course will count towards Musicianship & Performance electives for ReMu majors.
The American love affair with Cuban music and culture dates back to the turn of the 20th Century. Even the Cold War did not blunt Cuban music’s global appeal, over the decades listeners have been delighted with the recordings of Celia Cruz, Paquito d'Rivera, Buena Visit Social Club, Cachao. Los Van Van, Bebo Valdés, and Silvio Rodríguez. Luminaries such as Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Bill Laswell and David Byrne have paid homage to this proud island nation’s extraordinary musical heritage and prominent chart toppers such as Pitbull have deepened these indelible ties with mainstream American popular culture. Havana is now the hottest destination for music lovers given the recent thaw in diplomatic relations between the Obama and Castro administrations. As the passion is rekindled and history is being made, Americans have become more interested in learning more about what Cuba has to offer.
The Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music and GRAMMY® winning producer, educator and TEDxHabana founder Andres Levin have joined forces to provide students with a truly unique, immersive, behind the scenes course that investigates the fascinating and complex inner workings of the Cuba and her burgeoning arts and music scene. Participants will meet the important stakeholders vital to this renaissance.
This course is structured to accommodate learners of all abilities from beginners with no formal background in music to seasoned performers. NYU students across a variety of schools, departments, and disciplines will engage with materials that are appropriate to their level and will work under Mr. Levin’s supervision in groups and as individuals.
Students will listen to, understand, and be able to identity the various elements of Cuban music. Our survey of Cuban music history including Classical, Avant-Garde, Electroacoustic, and Afro-Cuban musical traditions will educate students in a variety of Cuban music styles and forms such as Nueva trova, Música campesina, Punto guajiro, Zapateo, Criolla, Rumba, Conga de comparsa, Son Cubano, Mambo, Salsa, Latin Jazz, Songo, Timba, Contradanza, Habanera, Danzón, Guaracha, Zarzuela, Nengón, Changüí, Trova, Bolero, Canción, Batá-rock, Cuban Hip Hop, and Cubatón.
Students will have hands on opportunities, if they wish, to perform and record with instruments essential to Cuban music including: Cuban tres, marímbula, bongos, congas, batá drums, timbales, cajón, claves, corneta china, maracas. bulá, segón, tambora, guitar, piano, and double bass. Through our classes, students will understand the materials used to manufacture these essential tools the trade. They will also be able to identify the parts of the instrument and their correct usage. Classes will provide an overview of relevant techniques for vocal performance in Cuban music.
Based on their skill level, students may also be engaged in field recording or studio work in Cuba. There will be opportunities for interested students to participate in event production, including an introduction to staffing logistics, equipment set up, design and lighting, and the role of the sound and lighting engineers among other topics.
Going beyond the standard tourist fare, students enrolled in this NYU program will engage and interact first hand with some of island nation’s brightest talents and greatest music professionals. Students will be immersed in the heart of Havana where they will discover the birthplace of some of the world’s most influential recordings. Students will have exclusive access to key industry personalities and learn the secrets behind this unique and transformative cradle of musical genius where secular and sacred art forms meld into one.