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Havana comes alive with hip-hop beat

posted 20 Aug 2011, 13:38 by Mpelembe   [ updated 20 Aug 2011, 13:42 ]

International hip-hop artists come together in Havana for a symposium where they share their work with fellow musicians and fans.

HAVANA, CUBA (AUGUST 19, 2011) (REUTERS -   Hip-hop artists from all over the world gathered in Havana on Friday (August 19) for the International Hip-Hop Symposium.

Local groups from Cuba joined musicians from the United States, Haiti, Colombia and France to share their work with each other and fans.

Cuban rapper "Discipulo" is part of the group "Mano Armada" and the founder of the event, which began in 2005. He has a philosophical outlook on his work.

"Mostly what we deal with are social issues, always with its political content - how we believe things should be. We're not geniuses who can give the correct solution. The solution that we believe would be best could be an error for someone else, but this is what we do with our songs. What we want ifs for the people to reach a degree of consciousness so that they change themselves first so that after they can change those around them," he said.

This years theme is "Hip-Hop for Peace" and will showcase performers from the four aspects of the genre: rap, breakdance, DJ and graffiti.

Intikana is a rapper from the U.S. and said the experience in Cuba had been more than fulfilling so far.

"The people of Cuba have changed me here, forever, forever, forever. I'll always have infinite love for the people of Cuba. I don't think I can ever pay them back, but I will try my best, honestly. And I think through learning and continuing this relationship of building in an honest and sincere way, hopefully we can go to even better places," he said.

And Haitian rapper, Aristor Oberson, said he admires the Cuban performers.

"They're Cuban, but lyrically, it's the same. Lyrically because you know the Cuban - they're good, they're good rappers. And we respect that. They're good," he said.

Hip-hop has ever-growing support in Havana.

Sixteen-year-old fan, Jorge Rencurrel, said he hopes to see the fan base continue to develop.

"I like hip hop and it is something I hope can grow more and more everyday and that there are many people supporting hip-hop in Cuba," he said.

The symposium will continue throughout the weekend.