The Stones will fol­low Obama to Cuba

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Ha­vana

The Rolling Stones an­nounced on Tues­day that the group will play a free con­cert in Ha­vana on March 25, be­com­ing the most fa­mous act to play in Cuba since its 1959 rev­o­lu­tion.

The Stones will play in Ha­vana’s Ciu­dad De­portiva three days af­ter Pres­i­dent Barack Obama vis­its Ha­vana.

“We have per­formed in many spe­cial places dur­ing our long ca­reer but this show in Ha­vana is go­ing to be a land­mark event for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too,” the band says in a state­ment.

Along with eas­ing many re­stric­tions on for­eign mu­sic, art and lit­er­a­ture, the Cuban govern­ment has in­creas­ingly al­lowed large gath­er­ings not or­ga­nized by the state in re­cent years. The Stones con­cert will al­most cer­tainly be one of the largest since Cuba be­gan eas­ing its lim­its on some nonof­fi­cial gath­er­ings in the 1990s.

Inthe same week as the vis­its byOba­maand The Rolling Stones, the Tampa Bay Rays are ex­pected to play the first Ma­jor League Base­ball ex­hi­bi­tion game in Cuba since 1999, part of an ex­tra­or­di­nary string of events in a coun­try that spent the Cold War iso­lated from the United States and its al­lies.

Cuba and its cap­i­tal have been flooded with tourists, vis­it­ing dig­ni­taries and celebri­ties more than a year af­ter Obama and Cuban Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro an­nounced on Dec 17, 2014, that they were mov­ing to nor­mal­ize re­la­tions.

Cuban fans have been buzzing about a pos­si­ble con­cert by “Los Rollings” since lead singer Mick Jag­ger vis­it­edHa­vana in Oc­to­ber.

“It’s part of a dream to see the great­est icons of mu­sic who couldn’t come be­fore for var­i­ous rea­sons, above all Cuba’s iso­la­tion,” says Cuban mu­sic critic Joaquin Borges Tri­ana. “The Rolling Stones are go­ing to mag­i­cally unite gen­er­a­tions of Cubans, from peo­ple in their 60s to their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.”

The Ha­vana Con­cert for Amity will cap the Stones’ Amer­ica Latina Ole tour through seven Latin Amer­i­can cities. The band says it will do­nate in­stru­ments and other mu­si­cal equip­ment from spon­sors to Cuban mu­si­cians dur­ing their visit.

The Stones con­cert is ex­pected to take place in a more re­laxed political en­vi­ron­ment, as the US and Cuban gov­ern­ments move rapidly to make their new re­la­tion­ship ap­pear ir­re­versible be­fore the end of Obama’s term.

REUTERS

The Rolling Stones per­form a con­cert on their Amer­i­caLati­naOle tour in San­ti­ago, Chile, on Feb 3. The band will per­form a free out­door con­cert in Ha­vana on March 25.

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