Rufus Wainwright is in Cuba. The renowned U.S. singer-songwriter of Canadian origin will be touring the city for four days together with his fans, who paid to form part of Wainwright Libre! Rufus in Havana and to enjoy an extensive itinerary that will approach them to Cuban culture through visits to restaurants, galleries, dance lessons, educational workshops, private workshops and much more. The experience also includes a public concert in the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana this Sunday 24 at 5 p.m. together with Cuban Carlos Varela.
With nine records to his name and a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Vocal Pop Album in 2009, Rufus established himself as one of the best artists of his generation and for more than 20 years has had a career as a soloist. The Cuban audience will probably recognize the musician for his interpretation of the theme “Hallelujah” in the sound track of the animated cartoon Shrek, but he can also be heard in multi-award-winning films like The Aviator, I Am Sam, Moulin Rouge and Brokeback Mountain.
Next Sunday’s show will be Wainwright’s second public performance in Cuba. Last year some were able to hear him in the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, but this September the experience will be greater for the artist, his fans and those who can attend the Grand Theater. Now Rufus gets to Havana as the great cultural event after the passage of the devastating Hurricane Irma to bring back to the capital’s cultural life a bit of normalcy with music. Despite the hustle and bustle prior to this major tour’s takeoff, Wainwright found time for a brief talk with OnCuba about this experience.
How did the experience emerge of “Wainwright Libre” with your fans and why Cuba?
Well, some other artists have had similar experiences in Cuba, specifically Ben Folds, who is an incredible artist who I admire. When I was approached with the idea of this tour I got very excited. Cuba is a very special place with a flourishing culture and beautiful people.
What are your expectations with this September 2017 trip after your previous visits to Havana?
A love Cuba a lot and I’ve enormously enjoyed the time I previously spent on the island. The people are very friendly and passionate and the culture is incomparable. After the passage of Hurricane Irma I want to bring love and hope to this land. Both Cuba and the United States were seriously affected by this storm and I feel very sorry for the lives that were lost. I hope this concert can bring us together after the tragedy.
Could you advance some of what you will sing for the Cuban audience and how Carlos Varela’s music forms part of your proposal?
Varela and I will sing some songs together, and although we still haven’t decided which, I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with him. I will sing very varied music and I’m anxious to share it with the Cubans.
Your music doesn’t have the influence of Cuban rhythms but this trip to Cuba is not just about culture in general but specifically salsa and rumba. Would you consider recording an album with Cuban rhythms?
That is a very exciting idea. I would be interested in seeing how the Cuban rhythms could influence my music in the future.