Monday, April 6, 2009

Van Van Watch (with updates!)

Here's a little gossip for those hot on the trail of the rumored Los Van Van tour:

This message comes from a NY/NJ area promoter:
"I spoke to Lele [of Los Van Van] personally last Saturday while they were in Europe. He confirmed to me the dates of all the tours and venues for July-August, September-October, January-February, and April-May tours! They have everything listed and are very excited. The company bringing them is Monterrey International and the contact person is Paul Goldman. He was pretty much telling me...they should get their visas once they returned to Cuba. That's all they are waiting for."

--Andy Perez
Habana Music Productions

With Hillary Clinton running the State Dept., I am as confident as I can reasonably be that they will get their visas. Why? Well, the last Cuban band to tour the Triangle--way back in 2003--was Barbarito Torres. And when he had trouble getting his visa and FBI clearance, it was Senator Hillary Clinton who stepped in for him.

DJ Melao is monitoring the situation closely, and broke the news in these parts. He's closely allied with timba artists and promoters, so keep refreshing his website for the latest.

UPDATE added Monday (3/6):

This word of caution from Elizabeth Sobol, manager of Tiempo Libre and a music industry veteran:
"Just FYI - I have gotten very different info from the presenters. We have been told that Monterey had to submit a "tour route" to the Cuban government in order to get the ball rolling. And that they put together more of a "wish list" than an actual tour route. A lot of the venues listed simply aren't even available on the dates/periods that are listed on what was sent out. Two of the venues in there are actually closed for renovations during the period.

None of this means that a tour won't happen, but I wouldn't get my heart set on seeing them in any of these markets unless and until you actually see the concerts listed and tickets on sale on individual venue websites.

So, they are looking for their Cuban visas? Hard to say. I can say that I look forward to the day when it's other governments, not ours, that impede the free flow of people, trade and culture.

Stay cool, kids.

UPDATE added Tuesday (3/7):

DJ Melao clarifies via Blackberry:
"This was direct info from Mayito and Lele. It was made clear dates and venues are subject to change at this point. But that is what they are aiming at...the last update I got was that Van Van has visas for a year with over 70 planned dates."

Communicator out.

UPDATE added Thursday (4/9):

Looks like the tour agent working with Van Van wants to put the brakes on the rumor mill until things firm up. Matt at posted this message from Paul Goldman of Monterrey International:
"There is no tour in place at this time, nor will there be until such time as visas are issued for Los Van Van by the US Government. The schedule published is 100% incorrect and should be removed immediately from any web site."

Got it?

So, my take on that is, that tells us where things stand: they are waiting for their U.S. visas. It also confirms that the schedule was a "wish list" submitted to get the ball rolling, rather than confirmed dates, as Elizabeth indicated (see 3/6 update). That schedule obviously wasn't supposed to leak out, but members of Van Van gave it to DJ Melao. And the rest is mystery!

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