La Habana, Cuba
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Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela is well-known throughout the Latin world, where he is celebrated for his songs that have been likened to the “essence of a generation.” American audiences, on the other hand, are just being introduced to the wellspring of powerful allegorical alchemy and undeniable emotional truth delivered by Varela.
Uplifting and defiant, at times soothing and at others explosive, Varela is courageously outspoken in the manner of a true revolutionary, albeit one who now finds himself in the curious position of sometimes being critical of the ongoing (54 years now!) revolution in his own country.
Varela’s latest album is ‘No Es El Fin’ (‘It’s Not The End’) and his song ‘Una Palabra’ (‘A Word’) was used in the films Man On Fire, starring Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, and Powder Keg. Oscar winner director Alejandro González Iñárritu also used ‘Una Palabra’ in a BMW commercial that starred Clive Owen.
To celebrate his career’s 30th anniversary Carlos invited a group of renowned artists and friends to join him in two legendary concerts in the Teatro Nacional de Cuba in January 2013. Jackson Browne, Ivan Lins, Luis Enrique, Eduardo Cabra (Calle 13), Juan Formell, X Alfonso, Alexander Abreu, Diana Fuentes, among others sang Carlos’ greatest hits backed by his band and a twelve piece strings orchestra.
The concerts inspired Canadian film director Ron Chapman to make ‘The Poet of Havana” a documentary narrated by Benicio del Toro about Varela that won many awards in renown film festivals around the world and is now been aired at HBO Latino in the US.
Last year Varela received an Honorary Degree in Law from Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario in recognition of his musical talent and the importance of his voice inside and outside Cuba.