In the 1960’s, the Cuban government banned Rock and Roll music as a corrupting foreign influence. Bands and musicians played their music underground. Beatles LP’s were traded illegally at high prices in portside black markets. Being in a rock band was actually a dangerous thing. Times changed, and so did Fidel Castro. The Cuban President had a change of heart regarding the Beatles and John Lennon in particular. In the 90’s, he erected a statue of Lennon in a Havana park, which he renamed after the murdered singer. Since then, a slow trickle of foreign rock bands has played concerts in Havana. Artists like the Manic Street Preachers and Audioslave, among others, have made the journey.
Big rock shows are one thing. But what no one had ever done was tour the country, especially not a working class, do-it-yourself rock band. That is, until December 2007, when 7and7is, an indie rock band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada became the first foreign rock band to tour Cuba. They played 7 shows in 5 cities and made a footnote in Rock and Roll history.
7and7is played a wide range of shows, from a John Lennon memorial concert for thousands of people in Cienfuegos, to a huge festival stage for 10 people in Havana. They saw Cuban countryside, art shows, museums and metal clubs.
The band was invited by the Cuban Association Hermanos Saiz and were funded by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council.
Filmmaker Drew McIntosh and Photographer/Audio Engineer Bryan Kulba accompanied the band through Cuba, documenting their progress with photo, video and audio recordings.
7and7is... Una Vez Por La Vida takes you on the first diy rock tour through this socialist country, an experience few have ever even considered.
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