Great Performances: Havana Time Machine

Air date: 10/06/2017

Great Performances and Latino Public Broadcasting’s VOCES Present Havana Time Machine Friday October 6 at 9 p.m. on PBS as Singer Raul Malo of The Mavericks Explores His Cuban Heritage in Breakthrough Performance Documentary

Eliades Ochoa, Ivette Cepeda, Roberto Fonseca, and the Sweet Lizzy Project join the versatile roots music star in an historical and musical journey through present-day Cuba

“Like most Americans, Cuba seems like a dream, a land of rhythm and rum, of Ricky Ricardo and revolutionaries, baseball greats, gangsters, casinos, classic cars, and big cigars…But for me, it’s the home I’ve never known, the place that my parents were formed, who in turn formed me. The roots of my musical soul have been reaching for Cuban soil my entire life. And now… the reality is beyond my wildest dream.”

So remarks Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter of The Mavericks and bandleader Raul Malo near the start of this pioneering music documentary, one of the first U.S. productions since travel restrictions have opened up in Cuba.

Born Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo, Jr. to Cuban parents in Miami, the versatile roots-rock music singer embarks on a musical and historical odyssey through the present-day Cuban capital in Havana Time Machine, a US/Cuba collaborative musical showcase premiering as a special co-presentation of Great Performances and Latino Public Broadcasting’s VOCES, Friday, October 6 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)

Hermetically sealed by the Cold War for more than half a century Cuba remains, for the vast majority of Americans, the “Undiscovered Country,” a unique time capsule of cultural traditions, relatively untouched. But the recent thawing of Cuban-U.S. relations is forging new relationships based on collaboration. The evolution of the Revolution creates a unique opportunity for a unique public media presentation to showcase the tropical kaleidoscope that is Havana’s musical scene, past, present, and future.

Documented by richly atmospheric camera work, Malo visits such iconic locales as the grand boulevard, the Paseo del Prado; a small apartment/recording studio in Nuevo Vedado; the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA); the former farm estate of Ernest Hemingway; and Los Jardines De La Tropical, a once-magical beer garden now overtaken by jungle.  Along with way, Malo has musical encounters such luminaries as Eliades Ochoa, an original member of the famed Buena Vista Social Club; acclaimed Cuban singer Ivette Cepeda; Sweet Lizzy Project, a modern Latin indie-pop band; and piano-jazz maestro Roberto Fonseca. The beloved band The Mavericks perform music from their highly acclaimed new album Brand New Day (Mono Mundo Recordings), which was featured in the Associated Press, Billboard, NPR Music, Entertainment Weekly and the Los Angeles Times.

 

Songs in the film include:

 

Siboney (Eliades Ochoa’s band)

 

Quizas Quizas Quizas (Ivette Cepeda)

 

What Was Happening To Me (Sweet Lizzy Project)

 

Besame Mucho (Raul Malo w the Instituto Superior Arte student string quartet)

 

El Carretero (Eliades Ochoa’s band)

 

Single Word (Sweet Lizzy Project)

 

Cubano Chant (Roberto Fonseca Band)

 

All Night Long (The Mavericks)

 

Easy As It Seems (The Mavericks)

 

Guantanamera (The Mavericks w/ guests vocalist Lisset Diaz of Sweet Lizzy Project, vocalist Ivette Cepedea, Eliades Ochoa on guitar, Roberto Fonseca on piano)

 

Afro Mambo (Roberto Fonseca Band)

 

Havana Time Machine is produced by Todd Jarrell and Todd Mayo (producers of the acclaimed PBS series, Bluegrass Underground), and directed and edited by Randy Hale and James Burton Yockey. Co-producer, Cuba, is Josue Lopez Lozano.

Havana Time Machine is a production of Todd Squared, in association with THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), and WCTE Upper Cumberland PBS.

Sandie Viquez Pedlow is executive producer for VOCES and LPB; for Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Throughout its more than 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming.

Great Performances is funded by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, Irene Diamond Fund, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, The Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, The Abra Prentice Foundation, and PBS.

Additional support for Havana Time Machine is provided by the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and Time for Cuba.

Visit Great Performances Online at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/ for additional information about this and other programs.

 

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About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.

About VOCES

Produced by Latino Public Broadcasting, VOCES is PBS’ signature Latino arts and culture documentary showcase and the only ongoing national television series devoted to exploring and celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience. The series is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. More information is available at VOCES.

About Latino Public Broadcasting
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. Latino Public Broadcasting provides a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Latino Public Broadcasting produces the series VOCES, PBS’s signature Latino arts and culture documentary showcase and the only ongoing national television series devoted to exploring and celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience.  Between 2009 and 2016, LPB programs won over 85 awards, including the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award as well as two Emmys, two Imagen Awards and the Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Director, Documentary. In addition, LPB has been the recipient of the Norman Lear Legacy Award and the NCLR Alma Award for Special Achievement – Year in Documentaries.

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Photos
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Roberto Fonseca performs at Los Jardines de la Tropical in Havana, Cuba for "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo

Raúl Malo performs at Los Jardines de la Tropical in Havana, Cuba for "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo

(l to r) Lisset Diaz of the Sweet Lizzy Project and Ivette Cepeda perform together at Los Jardines de la Tropical in Havana, Cuba for "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo

(l to r) Raúl Malo and Eliades Ochoa perform together at Los Jardines de la Tropical in Havana, Cuba for "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo

Eliades Ochoa performing at Los Jardines de la Tropical in Havana, Cuba for "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo

Miguel Comas of the Sweet Lizzy Project performing at Los Jardines de la Tropical in Havana, Cuba for "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo

Lisset Diaz of the Sweet Lizzy Project performs at Los Jardines de la Tropical in Havana, Cuba for "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo

(l to r) Raúl Malo and Eliades Ochoa in "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo

Raúl Malo performing at Los Jardines de la Tropical in Havana, Cuba for "Great Performances: Havana Time Machine." Credit: John Partipilo