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Havana Jazz Festival Heats Up Winter

The 27th Havana International Jazz Festival takes place December 15 - 19, 2011 at havana-jazz-CellistMella Theatre, Casa de la Cultura of Plaza, La Zorra y El Cuervo Jazz Club, Palacio de La Rumba, Casa del Alba, National Theatre of Cuba, Karl Marx Theatre, Sevilla Hotel, Cohiba Hotel and other venues around Havana, Cuba.

The Festival is presented by Insight Cuba and sponsored by the Instituto Cubano de la Música, with Cuban Jazz Master Chucho Valdés as the Festival's Artistic Director.  

The Festival began as a loosely organized event in 1978, when Bobby Carcasses and other jazz musicians played an outdoor show at Casa de la Cultura in Havana. The following year, other famous musicians attended, making this one of the most sought after jazz fests in the world.

The Festival will present concerts and jam sessions with the participation of famous national and international jazz bands, to say nothing of impromptu jam sessions on many a street corner.

The Opening Gala features a concert by the National Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro Enrique Pérez Mesa, Entrevoces Choir conducted by Digna Guerra, Jorge Reyes, Roberto Fonseca and other guest artists.

The Closing Gala will include a special concert by Maestro Frank Fernández and The Jazz Band conducted by Maestro Joaquin Betancourt and other guest artists.

Among the musicians performing are:

  • Afrocuban Grupo Dulce María
  • Berklee Faculty Jazz (EU)
  • Alexis Bosch 
  • Bobby Cardcassés (Cuba)
  • Roberto Fonseca
  • Hermanos Nori (Japan)
  • Kash Killion
  • Gonzalo Rubalcaba
  • Triple Ace Trio (Austria)
  • Troy University Jazz Ensemble (USA)havana-jazz-AfroCuban

The 7th Theoretical Colloquium will be part of the event and it includes:

  • master classes
  • lectures
  • conferences
  • documentaries
  • exhibitions
  • sale of music-specialized magazines
  • sale of jazz players' CDs and DVDs

As of January 14, 2011, the White House greatly expanded travel to Cuba for Americans, with several types of legal Cuba travel licenses available.

There is a great deal to see in Havana, especially for its history, as well as the arts. Fabulous tours are available.  

For more information, visit

Havana International Jazz Festival
December 15 - 18, 2011

Mella Theatre
Línea No. 657 (entre A y B)
Havana, Cuba

Casa de la Cultura of Plaza
Calzada #909
Havana, Cuba

La Zorra y El Cuervo Jazz Club
La Rampa Street
Havana, Cuba

Palacio de La Rumba
Ave. Las Americas km 4
Varadero, Cuba

Casa del Alba
Línea y D, Vedado
Havana, Cuba

National Theatre of Cuba
Paseo and 39 St. Vedado
Havana, Cuba

Karl Marx Theatre
Calle 1ra. y 10, Miramar
Havana, Cuba

Sevilla Hotel
Paseo St. and Malecon, Vedado
Havana, Cuba

Hotel Melia Cohiba
Ave Paseo entre 1 y 3, Vedado
Havana, Cuba

White Light Festival 2011

The second White Light Festival is taking place October 20 - November 19, 2011 at white-light-Scriabin-2Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan, New York City.

This multi-disciplinary festival uses the power of music as a springboard for exploration down other paths.

The Opening Night performance is:

Bassekou Kouyate – A new voice from a Mali tradition performs with his band, displaying virtuosity with the rhythmic Malian lute called the ngoni.

Read more: White Light Festival 2011

NY Anime Festival 2011

New York Anime Festival (NYAF) is taking place October 14 - 16, 2011 atnyanime-Naruto-Shippuden the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, New York City.

This year, fans of all things comic have a treat in store: NY Comic Con and NY Anime Festival are joining forces to present a real mangapalooza for Tri-State area fans.

Kicking off the festivities is a free evening of entertainment with DJ/artist Z-Trip.

"This is the first time that we have kicked off New York Comic Con with an official evening of entertainment and I know that we will have a packed house," notes Lance Fensterman, Group Vice President for ReedPOP and Show Manager for NYCC.

Special Guests at NYAF include:

  • Digital idol Hatsune Mikumakes her NYC debut at this year‛s NYAF, with her creators in attendance:
    • Hiroyuki Itoh, CEO of Crypton Future Media, the company which created Hatsune Miku
    • Toshihiro Fukuoka, writer, and the Executive Producer of this summer's Mikunopolis LA concert
    • Masataka P, one of the most popular creators of Hatsune Miku dance videos on the Internetnyanime-Hatsune-Miku

The three discuss

  • "Hatsune Miku: Beyond the Character" -- Miku's character, songs and music videos
  • the Miku Miku Dance software
  • "Hatsune Miku: After MIKUNOPOLIS," exploring Miku's US premiere concert at AX Anime Expo in Los Angeles this past summer
  • the world premiere of a special 30-minute MIKUNOPOLIS concert film

Dai Sato and Katushiro Harada will be present at NYAF as well:

  • Sato is one of the biggest names in the anime world and is the writer of Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Wolf's Rain, Eureka Seven, Ergo Proxy, Eden of the East -- and the new Tekken: Blood Vengeance in 3D, which will have a world premiere screening at NYAF.
  • Harada is the godfather of Tekken. He's worked on Tekken games for the past 16 years and currently is the leader of the Tekken Project as well as the Chief Producer working on the Soul Calibur series and Tekken X Street Fighter.

Also attending are

  • Hiro Mashima, creator of the successful Fairy Tail manga and anime series
  • Michael Sinterniklaas, dubbing director, and voice actress Stephanie Sheh, with a special screening of Gundam Unicorn 3: The Ghost of Laplace
  • Junko Takeuchi, the Japanese voice of Naruto, in a special Naruto Shippuden panel
  • Masayuki Ozaki, co-creator and Executive Producer of the hit Tiger & Bunny
  • Koichiro Natsume, President of Aniplex of America
  • Hideo Katsumata
  • Masayuki Ozaki Children-Lost-Voices poster
  • Cherami Leigh
  • Chris Castagnetto
  • Chris Sabat
  • Colleen Clickenbeard
  • Justin Cook
  • Kevin McKeever 
  • Mandy Bonhomme
  • Mario Bueno
  • Misako Rocks!
  • Newton Pittman
  • Roland Kelts
  • Sean Schemmel
  • Todd Haberkorn
  • Tyler Walker
  • Uncle Yo
  • Veronica Taylor

 A Special Guest with a mini-retro is Makoto Shinkai. Although a relative newcomer to the anime feature screen, he already has several potential classics to his credit which will be screening at NYAF:

  • Voices of a Distant Star
  • Place Promised in Our Early Days
  • 5 CM Per Second

Shinkai will introduce the NY Premiere of his latest film, Hoshi O Ou Kodomo / Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below.
Shinkai will also be in Conversation with Roland Kelts.

Aniplex of America presents:

  • the US premiere of the highly anticipated anime series Fate/Zero. This screening features the first 2 episodes of the series.
  • the world premiere of the first 2 episodes of Guilty Crown
  • the first 3 episodes of the series Madoka Magica
  • the New York premiere of Onigamiden / Legend of the Millennium Dragon

Several excellent Panels are being presented, including:nyanime-Tiger-Bunny

  • Unusual Manga Genres
  • Mythbusters: Anime Edition
  • Evangelion, Deconstructed
  • The State of Mecha
  • Conventions, Cosplay, Masquerades & YOU

plus panels with

  • Anime News Network
  • Aniplex of America
  • Bandai
  • Crunchyroll
  • FUNimation
  • Gaia Online
  • Vertical, Inc.
  • VIZ Media
  • YEN Press

Other events are:

  • Live performances by singers and other artists, including:
    • HITOMI
    • Yani
    • Ayumi Nini
    • Sneko
    • Nekomimi
  • Autograph sessions with artists
  • Announcement and screening of Anime Music Video Contest winners
  • Apple Kissa Maid Café – entertainment area that includes karaoke, dance, contests, and How Well Do You Know Your Vocaloid Songs?
  • Cosplay! - it wouldn‛t be Anime without it, culminating in the Saturday Night Masquerade

Fundraising for Japan relief efforts continues. There will be an Art for Hope preview, as well as a limited edition poster available for a suggested minimum donation of $5 (all proceeds benefiting Architecture for Humanity).

For more information, go to

New York Anime Festival
October 14 - 16, 2011

Jacob Javits Convention Center
55 West 34th Street
New York City

The 7th Annual New York Gypsy Festival

The NY Gypsy Festival celebrates its seventh year with another outstanding performance schedule and a total of nine shows from September 9th – October 1st, 2011.

Gabby Young and Other Animals

Since its first show seven years ago, this grassroots festival has reached thousands of fans and immigrants in New York, transcending barriers and celebrating the music of the people of the Roma (ie. Gypsies).

Over the last seven years the infamous festival's reputation has grown to one of national prominence. That which defines the Gypsy diaspora, tenacity, vivaciousness, variety and spirit, in turn defines the entire festival.

 In preparation for the epic 7th edition of the New York Gypsy Festival, 15 headliners haved been lined up for the "loudest and proudest" festival New York has to offer.

Highlights include:

  • The US debut of Italy's much revered Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino
  • New Mexico-based A Hawk and a Hacksaw
  • Austria's Electro Swing masters Dunkelbunt & The Secret Swing Society
  • Barcelona's wild and creative band Freak Fandango Orchestra

From klezmer hip-hop to flamenco funk, Balkan jazz & blues to indie-pop there is a little something for everyone on this year’s menu.

For more details, visit

The New York Gypsy Festival
September 9 - October 1, 2011

85th Ave A (between 5th and 6th Streets)
New York City, NY

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