Cuban Arts at Antioch: Two Events

by Alaa Jahshan
        Listening to Jane Bunnet and the Spirits of Havana improvise through a fusion of Jazz and Caribbean beats is like watching a painter create a masterpiece before your eyes. Jane Bunnet and the Spirits of Havana performed for their third time at Antioch College. After playing a piece that got many heads bobbing, Jane Bunnet introduced the band, including her husband Larry Cramer on trumpet, Osmany Paredes on piano, Yunior Terry on bass, Jorge Najarro on timbales, and Arturo Stable on congas.
        Bunnet’s performance on the soprano saxophone was far more enticing than her solos on flute. She improvised and performed with fluid technique that was easily moving. Her squeals and reaches into the upper registers were very exciting to hear coming out of a soprano saxophone. Paredes’ hands could be seen from time to time jumping up and down, dribbling into many juice chords and arpeggios. Terry’s skill in playing bass was very integral to the performance of the group, as were the two percussionists. The three added a lot by being singers and improvising for short bits within the pieces they played. Solos by Cramer were wonderful yet sometimes felt pushed. As commented on by several audience members, the sextet did not perform so harmoniously together, yet still were extremely skillful.  
        After some encouragement from the band, people started salsa dancing down the aisles of Kelly Hall. Jane Bunnet and the Spirits of Havana had not failed to stir people’s hips that night. At one point, Cramer called on any Spanish-speaking people to help with a collective performance with the audience, who were very pleased with their performance.  
        The gallery in the third floor of South Hall includes work by Dennie Eagleson and pieces from the exhibition, “Cuba: Siempre Viva” comprised of eight Cuban photographers. The eight Cuban photographers are internationally known. Work from Cuba: Siempre Viva was more abstract in conception. The graphically striking, richly textured portrait’s shows how diverse lives in Cuba are.  In 1994, Eagleson traveled to Cuba at a time when tourism was expanding and was relied on heavily for its economy. She writes, “My camera became a way for me to interact with people on the street. I was taken with the serendipity of the place, the play of light and shadow on textured, faded walls, the intensity of human interaction, the resourcefulness, and the weariness.” She also used pinhole and plastic lens cameras to play with light and shadow in a more natural way. Images became more about, “gesture, abstraction, and allowed a kind of playfulness.” The warm images created by Eagleson were wonderful portraits of people, especially when she uses light and shadow strongly in an image. “Man in Window” shows a skinny old man looking out a window holding a cigarette. “Danger”, shot with a pinhole camera, shows a dog lying on the floor with interesting shapes and colors stretching out around the dog.