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Domingo Candelario: Cuban Experience [Working Title] (Auckland, New Zealand)


1 Apr 2019 - 31 Mar 2021

Short Synopsis

"Cuban Experience" is a concept of Havana-born singer-songwriter Domingo Candelario and his Kiwi-born wife, who emigrated/returned to New Zealand several years ago and identified a gap in the entertainment market for differentiated music-art-food options catering to a more sophisticated customer base.

"Cuban Experience" is a journey of interaction with Cuban art – across live music, film, photography, visual art and dance – where audiences will have the opportunity to learn about a social reality so unique and remote from the rest of the world and juxtapose that with New Zealand art and culture to explore how Cuban art and culture has traveled and spiritually connected with other cultures and audiences around the world.

Basically, "Cuban Experience" is a party of celebration, heartily celebrating where entertainment, life, arts and culture intersect, and perhaps even explore where Cuban and Kiwi art and culture may crossover.

As part of admission, audiences get to enjoy Cuban cocktails and food, free – with paid premium options as desired.  Each event would feature a number of performance and exhibition pieces, curated and led by accomplished Cuban singer-songwriter and theatre director Domingo Candelario.

The performance/party space – which could range from a Rangatira-sized Black Box to a derelict warehouse, would allow for a range of performance and exhibition activities such as the screening of documentaries about Cuban music and artists, to provide a glimpse into Cuba's influence on world music, and the Latin jazz genre.

Scenography that will illustrate images of Havana and other cities of Cuba, its social history, and the emergence and development of the famous Cuban carnival parties will be interweaved into the pop-up style (or semi-regular), tourable/movable, transmedia/transgenre, immersive experience.

We want to showcase Cuban musician residents in New Zealand as well as invite Cuban artists to perform in Aotearoa, to build on the authenticity and depth of the Cuban Experience.  Invited (local and foreign) artists will also share with the audiences their individual experience as emigrants, artists, the influence of the Kiwi (or other) culture where they currently reside on their creative processes and their inspirations as artists.

At the heart of it, the "Cuban Experience" is a chance to not only having an awesome day/night out, but also to be enriched spiritually, artistically and culturally.



Singer/song writer Domingo Candelario was born in the heart of La Havana, Cuba, one of the best kept secrets in Cuban songwriting, now based in Auckland, New Zealand. His compositions carry a message of love, life, loss, afro-Cuban religion, with intricate vocabulary, beautiful melodies, touches of jazz and bossa, and a Cuban feeling.

As a child he was greatly inspired and influenced by the harmonies and composition of the Brazilian music that his parents listened to. He went on to develop his own unique style based upon influences of Brazilian music, American funk and soul music, and the “nueva trova” style of performance, which began in the late '60s and has its roots in traditional Cuban folk music, incorporating progressive and often politicised lyrics.

Domingo toured Cuba and much of Europe over a period of 3 years as guitarist and singer with Yusa, another Cuban singer/song writer from a similar background. He composed songs for many high profile Cuban artists including Yusa, Carlos Manuel and Interactivo, who recorded his song Chiqui Chaca on their latest release 'Cubanos por el Mundo' (Cubans around the World), as well as artists such as Roldan (Orishas) and Mayra Caridad Valdes (Chucho Valdes), who have praised his songwriting skills.

After emigrating to England for his post-graduate studies, together with the Thabani Band he toured the UK and collaborated with many diverse musicians including Yusa, Mister Acorde, Jose luis Estrada and Naomi Thabani director of Thabani band. Having finished a media and arts degree from the University of London, he continued to play in London in venues such as Ronnie Scotts, Jazz Cafe, Cafe de Paris and Momo amongst others, as well as opening for Amy Winehouse early in her career and for Grammy Award winning artist Andres Cepeda.

A notable highlights of his varied career include taking part in the Cuban Experience at Palais des sports Paris Porte de Versailles, alongside other notable artists such as Mister Acorde guitarist, Vocal group Catharsis, The Eduardo Ribero dance company, The Narciso medina dance company and singer songwriter Yusimil Lopez. He also participated in a major celebration of Cuban culture in Portugal alongside Amaury Perez Vidal, singer/songwriter; Octavio Cortazar, filmmaker; Miguel Barnez, writer and investigator and director of the association, Fernando Ortiz, as well as composed music for the film Cuban Love by the American director Joshua Bee Alafia.

Domingo's music has also been covered by English speaking artists including Jennifer Moore, recording Domingo's melodies on 'Tell Me If You Know' on her album Pocket.

Domingo’s most recent album, Revolucion, is a mix of funk, soul, Latin, Cuban rhythm and ballads. He drew upon his experience arriving in London to a completely different culture and language, and was inspired to see his music transcend these barriers and reach the hearts of a more global audience. It is in parts melancholy, along with a joyful desire to embrace his new home and be open to new influences. The melody became as important or more important than the lyrics, to bring the poetry to life in a way that would touch people who didn't understand the language.

Domingo's live show is wonderfully multi-faceted and satisfyingly enchanting, using his Afro-Cuban theatre training to express the emotion in his music through his guitar and vocals. His live performances of this complex album can appear to be light and flowing, but it is also full of hidden depths, with a great deal to interest those who already know Domingo, or who have already enjoyed the wonderful world of Cuban music, as well as those who are new to the genre.

Book Domingo and invite your audiences to relax and fall into a world which is full of vitality and presence.



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