Wednesday, November 12, 2008

88 Keys in Cuba





Al Jazeera

Filmmaker: Elizabeth Jones

Since Fidel Castro's Communist revolution six decades ago, Cuba has been on the frontline of an international power struggle.

Crippled by a punitive trade embargo imposed by the United States in 1962 the Caribbean island was supported by the USSR.

But when the Soviet Union collapsed economic aid dried up.

Since then life has been hard for this outpost of communism to keep its people fed and watered.

One thing that has helped sustain Cubans over the years is their love of music and the Russians helped establish a music education system which continues today.

But not without some difficulty. The US trade embargo, coupled with a hot and humid climate, spells disaster for musical instruments, especially the piano, many of which are slowly dying.

It is a serious problem that one visitor took to heart.

Elizabeth Jones' film 88 Keys in Cuba examines how Irishman Ciaran Ryan was inspired to come to the rescue of the island’s pianos with money raised by the music community back home.

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