August 17, 2018
The spicy, sultry sounds of Camila Cabello's hit, “Havana” croon from the deep cobalt blue electric violin. On the screen, a bright red 1950’s cadillac meanders its way through one of the narrow streets of Cuba. This video is definitely not the pop queen’s rendition of the song and yet the sizzling appeal of the travelogue and melody definitely captivates the listener.
Jazz violinist Doug Cameron’s trademark black beret and engaging smile have already become recognizable additions to the Cuban music scene so the launch of his own video version of “Havana” seems more than natural. Cameron’s love affair with latin music began years ago when he released “Mil Amores”, a collection of original compositions with a Latin tinged theme.
Two years ago Cameron was invited to teach and perform in Cuba by the conductor of the National Symphony of Cuba, Enrique Perez Mesa. Fluent in Spanish, Cameron spent two weeks teaching in schools in Havana, including the famous “Ciudad de las Artes” which is considered the Cuban equivalent to New York’s elite Julliard School of Music. “I was amazed at the response from the kids. They were thrilled to have an American come down and work with them. They really love ANYTHING American and were tremendously enthusiastic.”
While visiting Cuba, Doug performed with a group of top Cuban musicians at some of Havana’s famous jazz venues, including the famous La Zorra El Cuervo. He became the first American to be featured in a live radio broadcast that was transmitted throughout Cuba.
“I had written a piece called Cuban Spice for my Mil Amores album. It was almost surreal to actually be performing it IN CUBA!”
Cameron’s popularity on the tiny island immediately soared. The following year, Cameron and American jazz legends The Preservation Hall New Orleans Band were the only two American jazz acts to be invited to appear at the world renowned Havana Jazz Festival. Says Cameron, “It was an amazing experience to be among all these talented Cuban musicians.”
On the heels of those successes, Doug and his band became the natural choice to perform on numerous cruise ships that will be visiting different ports in Cuba. “I’m excited about the mix of Cuban and American music. I also look forward to talking about my experiences in Cuba. I know I’ll be able to give guests a unique program and also some insight about what’s happening musically in Cuba. Who knows? I might even bring my Cuban band onboard the ship to perform for the passengers!”
Cameron is passing along his passion for the Cuban culture to his talented sons Alex (12) and Sean (9). The two prodigies are prominently featured with Doug throughout the travelogue footage in the “Havana” music video. “It’s a fun song, and I’ve given it a bit of a unique flair, adding an authentically Cuban charunga violin section. I wanted to highlight the sound of the parlors of Cuba where they dress elegantly and dance to the more traditional Cuban music.”
Without question, Doug Cameron has become the consummate musical diplomatic. When in Cuba, he brings with him a taste of his American jazz heritage. When touring the US, he weaves in moments when audiences all across America can experience the sizzling hot passion from the streets of the still mysterious and exotic Havana (na, na, na).
Doug Cameron’s arrangement of Havana can be found here on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyvO5vcZvvc
Doug’s Cuba documentary can be found on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5ArYmc9_b4
Footage from Doug’s concert at The Havana Jazz Festival can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk9x2IoGnYA
To arrange an interview or for booking of Doug Cameron’s various programs, please contact:
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