Cuba’s shortage of playable string instruments

Posted on: October 20, 2014

“In the heart of old Havana, Andres Martinez and his two apprentices wage a daily battle against one of Cuba’s lesser-known economic problems: A country famous for its music is running low on musical instruments,” writes Andrea Rodriguez in a Wednesday (10/15) Associated Press report. “Before Cuba’s 1959 revolution, many students played violins, violas, cellos and bass from European workshops. After it, the Soviet Union provided violins and cellos…. Now, students must make do with violins from China…. Sponsored by Cuba’s city historian and a Belgian nonprofit group called Fiddlemakers Without Frontiers, Martinez and his apprentices repair dozens of instruments a year, make a handful from scratch and train aspiring young violin makers in an attempt to create an indigenous Cuban violin industry…. Cuba opened a violin factory in the eastern province of Camaguey in the 1970s…. Martinez and his apprentices say their next challenge will be converting the workshop into a financially self-sustaining operation. They are considering applying to be a worker-run cooperative… The future of Cuban music may depend, in a small way, on their success or failure.”

Posted October 20, 2014