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The Cuban: A film about the power of music over Alzheimer’s

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The Cuban - A Film by Sergio Navarretta copy

A Musical Journey of Love, Friendship and the Power of Imagination

The Cuban is a “a story of how the power of music knows no barriers”. A young Afghan immigrant, a naive pre-med student named Mina starts her first job at a nursing home when an unexpected friendship with Luis, an elderly Cuban musician, a resident with dementia, reignites her love of music and changes her life.

This major motion picture was shot in Brantford and the County of Brant (Ontario, Canada). The cast includes Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr., MTV’s Degrassi actress Ana Golja, Giacomo Gianniotti of Grey’s Anatomy fame and Canadian Screen Award winner actor Enrico Colantoni. International award-winning director Sergio Navarretta, is leading the project along with award-winning writer/producer Alessandra Piccione and producer Tara Koltun.

Alma Records released a soundtrack album for this indie drama, featuring original music composed by Grammy Award-nominated jazz pianist Hilario Durán. The soundtrack is now available on amazon for download and on streaming services. It’s been recently announced that The Cuban will be premiering in Toronto at the Lavazza Drive-In Film Festival as the opening film on July 20th at Ontario Place at 9pm.

The Cuban - A film about the power of music over Alzheimer's
The Cuban – A Film by Sergio Navarretta

The Cuban is a feature film about a nineteen year old immigrant from Afghanistan. Having lost her parents at a very young age, Mina Ayoub, was sent to live with her aunt in Canada.

Pressured to pursue a career in medicine, as opposed to her real passion — music, Mina reluctantly takes a part time job at a local nursing home. Here she meets Luis García, one of Mina’s most enigmatic patients, who has Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia and spends his time retreated in a wheelchair, in his room.

Mina hums tunes from her childhood as she goes about the job of feeding Luis and to her surprise, it ignites a spark inside him and he begins to awaken.

There are some things in life that bring together the most unlikely people – Music is one of them. The Cuban explores the power of music and how it knows no barriers; how it ignites a fire within those that consume it, which in turn, helps create memories that last a lifetime.

We want to shine a light on the progression of Alzheimer’s which robs a person of these memories. The story will remind the audience to never take life for granted, cherish the precious moments with those that are close to us, and most importantly, value one another’s stories before they’re taken away for eternity.

One of the central components of this film is the effects of music therapy on those living with Alzheimer’s, and the producers partnered with the Music Project. Music can allow a person living with dementia to rediscover pleasure in the world. The Alzheimer Society’s Music Project was created in response to overwhelming evidence showing the beneficial effects of music on people living with dementia.

Through the Music Project, personalized playlists are provided FREE of cost to support a person living with dementia and improve their quality of life.

*Source: The Cuban Kickstarter Fundraising page and other local online media

The Cuban [Soundtrack]
2020 Alma Records [Released on: 2020-05-22]
Composer Lyricist, Piano: Hilario Durán
Producer, Double Bass: Roberto Occhipinti
Trumpet: Alexis Baró
Drums: Amhed Mitchel
Guitar: Elmer Ferrer
Percussion: Luis Orbegoso

1. The Cuban (Opening Theme) (3:33)
2. El Cañonero (4:14)
3. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (feat. Alberto Alberto) (2:33)
4. Guantanamera (3:32)
5. Mambo In Dominante (3:50)
6. Havana Love (1:36)
7. Luis Daydream (2:10)
8. Mambo Rico (3:05)
9. The Great Escape (3:02)
10. El Milagro (2:38)
11. En Un Beso (3:05)
12. Quizás, Quizás, Quizás (Havana Lounge) (feat. Ana Golja) (2:32)
13. The Red Dress (1:06)
14. Descarga En Changüi (3:11)

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1 Comment

  1. Rosemarie Rogers

    Jul 19, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Hoping that this film will be shown in the US, by paid streaming services, really not comfortable at this time attending a theater. Did purchase the phenomenal CD that goes along with film.

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New Releases

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”

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Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria
Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria

Celebrating 25 years! The multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is set to release their new recording: “Vox Humana” featuring vocalists Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague, Jennifer Jade Ledesna.

Recorded Live at Dizzy’s Club Cola in NYC
Release Date: Spring 2023
Record Label: Jazzheads

New York – January 18th – On the heels of their Grammy nominated and 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Album of the Year Award winning critically acclaimed masterwork, West Side Story Reimagined, and in celebration of their 25th anniversary – drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band return with their most ambitious work to date, VOX HUMANA.

Bobby states, “Over the course of our many Grammy nominated albums we’ve occasionally featured tracks with vocals. But I’ve always envisioned doing an entire vocal album framed by the Multiverse Big Band. Now with three of today’s greatest contemporary singing talents – multi-Grammy award winner Janis Siegel from the Manhattan Transfer, blues and jazz Queen Antoinette Montague, and the multilingual powerhouse, Jennifer Jade Ledesna, today that vision has finally become a reality.

The individually distinct voices that Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer possess make them each unique. But the X factor they all have is they are all masterful improvisors in the best sense of the jazz tradition. Added to the mix is our great conguero, Oreste Abrantes, who also sings lead on two tracks. Having that multi- dimensional vocal talent framed by the power, nuance, and tonal variety that only a big band can provide, combined with the repertoire I’ve chosen to showcase them and the band and the incredible variety of Afro- Latin, straight ahead swing, funk, R&B, and rock rhythmic vocabulary that we are masters of and readily have at our disposal in the Multiverse, I believe VOX HUMANA will prove to be our greatest achievement. 

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: "Vox Humana"
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: “Vox Humana”

That repertoire has a personal meaning to me as I see VOX HUMANA as a biographical work. I’m a product of my environment. I’m a Nuyorican, a person of Puerto Rican descent growing up in New York City. In my case the South Bronx during a time period when pop, jazz, R&B, rock, funk, and Latin music of all kinds all co-existed as equals. It was the last era when the big bands of masters like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Don Ellis, and more were in the public eye, and they became my heroes. Vocalists who could deliver a message with subtlety, nuance, and when needed, power, were called upon to deliver poetry crafted by genius song writers. You’ll hear all that and more through the soaring vocals and improv talents of Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer, along with Oreste, as well as the incredible jazz-oriented arrangements and exciting Pan Afro-Latin rhythms played by a big band that literally takes no prisoners when it hits the stage.”

The repertoire Bobby speaks of includes 1 original and 12 unique re-workings of pop hits like Spooky, Christine Aguilera’s Genie In a Bottle, and Steely Dan’s Do It Again; NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri’s, Mi Congo and Puerto Rico along with the island’s greatest composer, Rafael Hernandez’s, Capullito De Aleli; the classic Joe Cuba R&B bolero, To Be With You; Brazilian standards Partido Alto and Amazonas; and from the world of Broadway theater, I Love You Porgy, and the iconic jump blues, Let The Good Times Roll. The CD also includes an original message bearing piece, Who Taught You That, as well as what may possibly be the most exciting interpretation of the Ellington associated classic, Caravan, and that has ever been recorded. 

Adding to the excitement of the performance, VOX HUMANA was recorded in front of a live audience. Bobby states, “As with our previous work, we recorded VOX HUMANA live at NYC’s Dizzy’s Club Coca – Cola. My musicians represent NYC’s finest. That means they’re the greatest in the world. The added level of excitement created by the audience inspired us in the MULTIVERSE Big Band to a heightened new level of performance virtuosity that listeners will hear explode out of the speakers just as the audience at Dizzy’s experienced in person.”

The history of the Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is indeed one based on his rich multi-cultural heritage as a Nuyorican growing up in New York City’s South Bronx. His concept of having a big band that has no genre boundaries with limitless possibilities was forged 25 years ago back in 1998. It has yielded a series of groundbreaking, critically acclaimed albums that have all been Grammy-nominated with the band thrilling audiences worldwide at venues like the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Ravinia Festival, Verona Jazz Festival in Europe, and more.

Content Source: Two for the Show Media

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