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Rolling Stones to play free show in Cuba

Rolling Stones to play free show in Cuba

The band will be the biggest act to perform in Cuba since its 1959
revolution
Country once persecuted young people for listening to rock music
Concert is expected to draw a massive audience
BY MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
Associated Press

HAVANA
The Rolling Stones announced Tuesday that they will play a free concert
in Havana on March 25, becoming the biggest act to play Cuba since its
1959 revolution.

The Stones will play in Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva three days after
Barack Obama visits Havana. The concert is expected to draw a
massive audience in a country where the government once persecuted young
people for listening to rock music, then seen as a tool of Western
capitalism.

“We have performed in many special places during our long career but
this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we
hope, for all our friends in Cuba too,” the band said in a statement.

Along with easing many restrictions on foreign music, art and
literature, the Cuban government has increasingly allowed large
gatherings not organized by the government in recent years. The Stones
concert will almost certainly be one of the largest since Cuba began
easing its limits on some non-official gatherings in the 1990s.

On the same week as the visits by Obama and The Rolling Stones, the
Tampa Bay Rays are also expected to play the first Major League Baseball
exhibition game in Cuba since 1999, part of an extraordinary string of
events in a country that spent the Cold War isolated from the United
States and its allies.

“It’s part of a dream to see the greatest icons of music who couldn’t
come before for various reasons, above all Cuba’s isolation,” said Cuban
music critic Joaquin Borges Triana. “The Rolling Stones are going to
magically unite generations of Cubans, from people in their 60s to their
children and grandchildren.”

Cuban fans have been buzzing about a possible concert by “Los Rollings”
since lead singer Mick Jagger visited Havana in October.

The Havana “Concert for Amity” will cap the Stones’ America Latina Ole
tour through seven Latin American cities. The band said it will donate
instruments and musical equipment from sponsors to Cuban musicians
during their visit.

The biggest musical performance in Cuba to date was held in 2009, when
the Colombian singer Juanes drew more than a million people to a show
titled “Peace without Frontiers” in Havana’s Revolution Plaza.

That concert angered Cuban-American exiles in the U.S. and its
organizers wrangled with the Cuban government over performances by Cuban
artists critical of the government. U.S. government contractors also
tried to use the concert to promote programs designed to foment
political change in Cuba.

The Stones concert is expected to take place in a more relaxed political
environment, coming more than a year after Obama and Cuban President
announced that they were declaring detente and moving to
normalize relations.

Both governments are now moving rapidly to make the new relationship
appear irreversible before the end of Obama’s term.

The concert is not yet listed on the band’s official website. The
Rolling Stones are currently touring Latin America.

Source: Rolling Stones to play free show in Cuba | The News Tribune –
www.thenewstribune.com/news/nation-world/world/article63308072.html

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