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  • Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez presenting during a concert for the victims of the hurricane that passed through the Regla municipality of Havana, Cuba. February 22, 2019.

    Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez presenting during a concert for the victims of the hurricane that passed through the Regla municipality of Havana, Cuba. February 22, 2019. | Photo: EFE/Yander Zamora

Published 17 September 2020
Opinion

"Silvio Rodriguez: My First Calling" is a 25-minute US-Cuba joint production directed by Catherine Murphy that premiers on the Hot House Global platform this Sunday at 8 PM EST. 

Featuring a rare and intimate interview with the globally recognized Cuban trovador, Murphy's film centers on Rodriguez's experiences as a 14 year old boy participating in Cuba's Literacy Campaign in 1961, which practically wiped out illiteracy on the Caribbean island within a single year.

Co-produced by The Literacy Project, Caminos Productions of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center and La Rueda Films, the documentary not only features music from Silvio Rodriguez and Cuban pianist and composer Aldo Lopez-Gavilan, but also cinematography from Cuban photographer Roberto Chile.

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The launch of the documentary paying homage to Rodriguez will be followed by performances from a wide array of renowed Latin American musicians, both pioneers of and those influenced by the nueva canción latinoamericana tradition, including Lila Downs, Susana Baca, Katia Cardenal, Rebel Diaz, Kelvis Ochoa, Quetzal, and others. 

The epic cultural event will also be broadcast simultaneously on national Cuban television, and along with being accepted for the Buenos Aires International Documentary Film Festival (FIDBA-2020), the film has also been selected for a special screening by UNESCO Cuba in honor of World Literacy Day, celebrated this past September 8.

Speaking on the formative influence of Cuba's Literacy Campaign on his life, Rodriguez states: "For the first time in my life, I left my family and joined a social cause as an active member of society. Perhaps this first adventure is what led me on a path of adventure and social consciousness that has defined me as a human being ever since."
 
Murphy, a former senior producer with teleSUR TV in Washington and founder of Tres Musas Productions, released another documentary on Cuba's Literacy Campaign,  Maestra, in 2012, which has been translated to five languages and distributed worldwide.
 
Following the success of Hot House Global's Concert for Cuba this past July—showcasing over a hundred Cuban and international artists, activists and political figures in favor of awarding Cuba's Henry Reeve International Medical Brigades the Nobel Peace Prize—the Chicago-based performance and exhibition center will be streaming Murphy's film, as it did in July, via the Twitch video streaming service as well as its various social media platforms.
 
 

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