Film: Questlove Explores Cuba’s Music Scene in New Documentary

Questlove is interviewed in the Red Bull Music Academy pop-up radio station, at Red Bull Guest House in Miami, FL, USA on 28 March, 2015. // David Cabrera / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20150329-00434 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

August Brown explores drummer (The Roots), DJ, music producer Questlove’s recent trip to Cuba to film a short documentary Quest for Cuba. The documentary, which follows Questlove (whose real name is Ahmir Khalib Thompson) in his exploration of music in Cuba, is directed by Jauretsi and Daniel Petruzzi. In the film, Questlove emphasizes that a cultural exchange between the countries is essential. One of the highlights of the documentary, in my opinion, is when he features the impressive talent of a local rapper—Etián (aka Brebaje Man) of the remarkable group Explosión Suprema. [Don’t miss Quest for Cuba and the music video of Explosión Suprema, directed by Marieta Petchanska—both in the links below.] Brown calls Questlove “an ambassador for a new era of U.S. and Cuban artistic relations.” Brown writes:

Of the many reasons it is great to be Questlove right now— incredible talent, a fun late-night gig, several books published, an infinitely sprawling vinyl collection — the travel opportunities have to rank up there as well.

Consider his latest adventure: Earlier this year, the Roots’ drummer and hip-hop gadfly traveled to Havana for a documentary project. Cuba has been off-limits to all but a few American travelers for generations, but relaxed restrictions on a few categories of vistors (which includes artists and journalists) meant that the percussionist could now see Cuba’s vital musical culture firsthand.

The short documentary, directed by Jauretsi and Daniel Petruzzi, follows Questlove as he hunts for rare records, beatboxes with locals, DJs a set at Fabrica de Arte Cubano and cruises Havana’s nightlife strips. It’s streaming now on the Okayplayer website.

One of the highlights is his visit to EGREM studios, where Buena Vista Social Club tracked many of the tunes that reintroduced Cuban music to American audiences (Nat King Cole and the Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes also cut LPs there).

Watch the documentary here: 

Check out Explosión Suprema in “Micro X” here (a music video by Marieta Petchanska): 

For original article, see http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-questlove-cuba-documentary-20150507-story.html

For photo above and more information on the trip, also see http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6561064/questlove-roots-havana-cuba

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