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Amungus' trip to Cuba was one of the most profound tours of my career.
The rich culture, musical heritage, and genuine passion of the people was
awe-inspiring. Bearing witness to a society so culturally advanced, yet
without the material possessions Americans view as basic necessities, gave
me a renewed look on my priorities in life.
was especially impressed by what was held to be important by the Cubans.
Family, friends, God, education, music, and dance are of foremost importance
to the people we met. In evaluating their values, I realize that these
are the same priorities that bring essence to my life. Material objects
do not guarantee lasting happiness - it is family, friends, God, education,
music, and dance that bring meaning to my life - the rest just fills the
Cuban music is tied to dance, their concept of music is very social. The
audience is involved and, therefore, just as much a part of making the
music as those on stage. Listen to the middle of track seven where you
can hear a young boy saying "so much on my mind, so much on my brain".
The boy was not English-speaking, yet he had no problem with the hook.
This is the type of involvement that is heaven for a performer.
ability to come together as a people, despite cultural or linguistic barriers
is one of the most beautiful things about music. Music is just as much
a way of communicating as language and conversation. Listen to the interaction
between Adrian Areas and Miguel "Anga" Diaz in the middle of track nine.
You can hear them "trading" phrases back and forth as they were sharing
seven conga drums. This is the amazing thing about music -- that two people
who had never met, from different cultures, could sit down and communicate
so well without missing a beat. In this case, music is the tie that binds.
We can all learn from this -- politicians, diplomats, business people,
and other international officials must find the tie that binds to
communicate effectively and meaningfully with one another.
members of humankind we are obligated to take an active role in making
the world a better place for everyone, but not at the expense of imposing
our own ideology onto others. Cultures, genders, and generations must be
encouraged to coexist without making one subservient to the other. To make
a difference we must challenge boundaries and limitations making a better
world than when we arrived.
Miles D.V. Perkins, Director