Jazz has become part of our identity. It dialogues with the son and the bolero, it takes shape in the Cuban jam session, it establishes fraternal ties with the ritual ceremonies and songs brought to the islands from Africa by our ancestors, and blends with the rumba, which has just been proclaimed Intangible Cultural World Heritage. It is adaptable, permeable, discursive. It needs no references or keys, it is spontaneous and creative. A single touch of the keyboard is an immediate source of inspiration. That´s why it is universal.
Cuban jazz discovers untrodden paths in the creations of young people formed in our arts schools, and it represents us with dignity and stature in different scenarios, here on the island, and abroad.
"People all over the world want to play jazz", Thelonious Monk observed. Let us hope that this celebration of International Jazz Day in Cuba will enable us to dream, from music, of a world where life triumphs over drums of war.
Text read by Miguel Barnet, the president of the Union of Writers and Artists in Cuba (UNEAC) at the Concert for the International Jazz Day, celebrated at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso on 30 April 2017.