Enrique Chía Headlines Classically Cuban Concert

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Cuban pianist Enrique Chía led this year's Classically Cuban: Musical Memories of Cuba concert presented by FIU's Cuban Research Institute (CRI). FIU music student Laura Martínez León sang several songs accompanied by Chía's piano and ensemble.

Maestro Chía's ensemble featured seven accomplished musicians: Orlando Forte, violin; Ramsés Colón, bass; René Lorente, flute; Mario Del Monte, trumpet; Tim Devine, keyboards; Rubén (Tuty) Jiménez, drums; and Alberto Palenzuela, percussion.

The concert, now in its tenth year, took place on Sunday, December 7th at 5 p.m. at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center Concert Hall, on FIU's Modesto A. Maidique Campus. The concert hall was filled to capacity, with more than 500 persons attending.

"It's an honor to have Enrique Chía as our invited musician this year. He has helped to preserve and divulge many of the most popular songs of his homeland for several generations of Cuban music lovers," said CRI Director Jorge Duany.

John Stack, Executive Director of FIU's School of International and Public Affairs, welcomed the audience. "With this concert," he noted, "Florida International University reaffirms its commitment to promote high-quality creative activities and collaborative engagement with our local community."

FIU's Latin American and Caribbean Center, School of Music, and Cuban-American Student Organization cosponsored the concert. FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg and his family attended the event.

Enrique Chía was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and immigrated to the United States in 1961. He studied piano in his native city and later earned a doctorate degree in metallurgy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has recorded 52 albums of instrumental music on the piano, accompanied by other instruments, and in 2001 was nominated for a Grammy Award.

The concert program offered a journey through Cuban music from the late 19th century to the present. It included a wide selection of classic habaneras, danzones, congas, boleros, sones, guajiras, and chachachás. The audience sang along many of the songs and occasionally danced to the livelier pieces.

The program for the concert included well-known pieces by Ernesto Lecuona, such as "Siboney" (1927) and "Siempre en mi corazón" (1942). Three habaneras by Eduardo Sánchez de Fuentes were played, among them the legendary "Habanera tú" (1892). A sample of popular boleros featured Gonzalo Roig's "Quiéreme mucho" (1911), Miguel Matamoros' "Lágrimas negras" (1931), Pedro Juncos' "Nosotros" (1943), and Frank Domínguez's "Tú me acostumbraste" (1956).

Sones were represented by Juana González de Cabrera's "A la loma de Belén" (1925), Miguel Matamoros' "Son de la loma" (1928), and Eliseo Grenet's "Lamento cubano" (1932). The concert also featured guajiras like Joseíto Fernández's "Guantanamera" (1928), chachachás like Enrique Gorrín's "La engañadora" (1953), and the anonymous conga "Mírala que linda viene."

Since 1994, CRI has organized an annual concert series featuring music on Cuban themes by Cuban and other composers. The purpose of this public event is to celebrate the rich and diverse musical heritage of Cuba and its diaspora.

To view videos and photographs of the concert, click here.