There's a growing flood of mini-developments in the 'deshielo' (thaw) between U.S. and Cuba, but this link from Cuba Colada is the most significant for Canadian music audiences and Canadian producers.
The flow of artists and musicians between Cuba and the U.S., choked off since 2003, has begun to trickle again. The most famous voice to hit stateside from the island is Omara Portuondo, the lone female artist from the Buena Vista Social Club, who has received a visa to perform in the U.S. in October. Omara, who just got a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Tropical Album for her album Gracias, will perform during the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Oct. 20 and at UCLA on Oct. 23. The Latin Grammys will be held on Nov. 5 in Las Vegas; no word yet on whether Omara will attend.
Which makes it all but official that come the 2010 summer touring season, Cuban music artists will be touring the U.S. on a regular basis.
The question for Canadian promoters of Cuban music - and it wont really be answered until agents start making phone calls toward the end of this year - is, will there will be more Cuban groups available for the Canadian market, and will they be more expensive than before, or hopefully, less expensive, because Canadian promoters wont have to bear the costs of flying the musicians from Havana to Toronto or Montreal.
The real cost of Cuban salsa bands was never really in the fees the bands charged, the costs were in the price of flying 15-18 people from Cuban to Canada.
Theoretically, you strip away those flight costs (because the bands could start a tour in Miami) and the bands become much cheaper to present...Therefore more money can be spent on promotion, etc etc.