ENCHANTING MIX OF TRADITION & AVANTGARDE
Transformation Artist with wide vocal range
Santería Shaman: Roots of Yoruba Tribe, WestAfrica
* MY OWN FREE WAY
trans-cultural musical journey from traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms into romantic melodies, jazzy tunes, carabet song all the way to opera and today’s dance music (rock, salsa, urban electro sound, disco beats)
Cuba's African Roots – Especially Yoruba & Bantu Heritage, Ritual Music, Spiritual Songs, Folklore, Carnival Rhythms with Songs & Dances
* Duo: Joaquín La Habana & Michael Ritter
Afrocuban Chanting & Dance, Blues, Rock, spanish + latinamerican songs + own compositions
His artistic creations stand for the synthesis of tradition and avantgard. An important part of his presentation is to challenge the boundaries that have been established and encourages a flexibility and fluidity between categories that we construct as a society. To do this, JOAQUíN LA HABANA uses his extensive experience of education in contemporary dance, ballet, theatre and song, merging with the centuries long tradition of Santería-Shamanism, whose culture forms the spiritual basis for him.
Original West African traditions are linked with spiritual rituals and Cuban theatre, connecting the dualities of the sexes with the gods’ androgynous characteristics. From the metamorphoses of the cosmic powers arise the four elements that constitute the components of his modern performance art.
Spirituality and rationality, archaic and postmodern, soul and matter, life and afterlife, they all unfold and unify. The sensuousness of expression opens new ways for the audience to percieve reality.
AND THE ART OF HARMONY OF MULTIPLICITY AND UNITY
In the visual arts he presents a vivacious spectrum of dance, ballet, opera, operetta, musical, theatre, Cuban folklore and religious rituals. Simultaneously, Joaquín depicts and performs the different arts and roles through song and dance, he quickly changes gender roles by changing voice timbre from baritone to mezzo-soprano, and mixes ritual music of archaic cultures with classical church music like Händel or Bach with Latin, jazz, funk and rock. Every performance act is an aspect of Joaquín’s artistic facets, not determined by boundaries, with an open heart and mind. This way of performing makes every act different, every show unique, special and tailored for his audience and is spontaneously adjusted according to the reaction of the audience..
With his artistic range of performances, costumes and voices, Joaquín depicts certain truths, but on the other hand, he pushes the boundaries, creates new ones, and implants images and inspirations to awaken new ideas.
Joaquín’s presentation of spirituality is not depicted solely as a strict religious majesty of monotheistic priests, but instead her uses religious elements that facilitate an act of liberation which the artist conveys through interaction with the audience. Every spiritual and esoteric element emphasises duality and androgenity, resulting in the creation and exploration of an undefinable inner-god.
In this sense, the theatre is turned into a place where rituals are performed, now taken out from its original context and put in a modern situation, for an immediacy with the audience. In this theatre are represented different continents, religions and cultures brought together and unified. The spectator is led on a journey to the inner self through modern entertainment and its rationalized world to the irrational metaphysical realization of the present moment.
The costumes have an important role in performances, the painted African bushmen, the apparel of priests and the wooden masks often appear in his shows. The different patterns, forms and colours, is a metaphor of the world over time and space, the body’s movements, mirrors the journey through these different dimensions.
The diverse costumes represent certain deities. Some costumes cover the whole body, giving him a more abstract, sexless character. This emphasis on colours and shapes is also an attempt to reach a neutral body, connecting the patriarchal and matriarchal structure of the archaic religions abolishing their contrasts.
JOAQUíN LA HABANA’s current project is the opera Rhapsodia Pa’ Ègún – Hommage to the Ancestors. Thematically it is based on the poem “Schwarze Erinnerungen” (“Black Memories”) from Mark Bauch and sensualizes the Tribute to the ancestors. The Iroko – called Baobab in West Africa – is in the middle of the stage a tree where the death meets. The main aspect in this one-man-opera is to overlap the older religions’ time and space with that of the modern. The connection is being effected by bringing electronic music as well as classical, jazz, hip-hop and reggae- ton-beats, also incorporating the specific religions traditional music instruments such as drums, marimba (from Zimbabwe), cello, flute, and Tibetan gong.
In his workshops, Joaquín takes us on a “spiritual trip” of exploration and self-creation. He shows us to what extent a person can understand his or her human character by connecting the emotions and rational dimensions with a reflection of the spiritual. The four-element-system or the ancient mythologies. The different energies of active-passive, male-female and how they join in one organism. Every single element is depicted and felt separately through certain. The leading questions are for example; “What is water and how do I sense it in my body?” “How does it depict itself for me as an individual and what does this feeling mean to me?”. Another question developed from this is what element is more attractive to what personality.
The dance is lead by the percussion which is enriched and generated from electric sound-effects. The union of sound, rhythm and movements generates new experiences with emotions, making you feel as apart of the objects, the communication and the world, intensifying the experience of being.
A further part of the workshop is the play with masks and costumes that serves the free roll-switching and the creative self-staging. The goal is to break old traditional barriers, to experience new “I-boundaries”, mirror your inner self for observation and exploration. Joaquín puts a great emphasis on the free and experimental development of every participant: Every person should find out after his/her age and temperament an individual personality nuances and goals and act out them out. Whether the result is inner calm or a fiery and explorative urge, the choice is in every individual to take.
1952 born in Cuba
1965 Studies Ceramic + Painting atEsquela San Alejandro, Cuba
1966 Immigration to USA
1969 University-Entrance Diploma, Somerville High School, Boston
1969 Studies Chanting, Dance & Theatre: Boston Musikkonservatorium
1975 Studies Body Make-up + Fashion-Design: New England School of Art + Winfried Academy, New York
1972–1981 Broadway-Musicals, Underground-Theatre, Feature Films in Boston and New York
1981 till now in Europe, Berlin
Live on Stage:
Karneval der Kulturen
Miriam Makema Mem
Sharq Taronalari Music Festival Usbekistan
Revuetheater „La Vie en Rose“
IROKO Dance Theatre with Elena García, Miami
Tourneen in USA and Argentinien
„Kuopio Tanssii Ja Soi“ Finnland
„Oshun Festival“ Oshogbo, Nigeria
„Caravan of Gods“ Modern-Dance-Festival „Cuba Danza“
Teatro National, Havanna, Cuba
„La Cage aux Folles“, Musical, Germany-Tournee as Chantal
Deutsches Theater München
Stadttheater Augsburg and Linz
Theater am Turm Frankfurt/M.
Senftöpfchen Köln and Volksbühne Berlin
Studio 54, New York
Palm Casino Revue, New York
La Mama E.T.C., New York
Acteur in Films incl as Singer:
„JOAQUIN LA HABANA – LebenZwischenWelten“, Doc-film by Bernhard P. Beutler, 2013, 1st Award „Best Film by German Director“ 29th Black Int. Cinema Festival 2014
Feature Films by Rosa von Praunheim: „Stadt der verlorenen Seelen“, „Horror Vacui“, „Ein Virus kennt keine Moral!“, „Tote Schwule lebende Lesben“
„Hart an der Grenze“, Crime Movie with Song „I could have danced all night“, 1985
„Berliner Nachtschwärmer“, SFB 1984
„The Bronx“, Feature film, with Paul Newman, 1981
„Hair“, Feature film/Musical, Regie: Milos Forman, 1979
„The Love Thing“, Feature film, Minetta-Prod., Avant-Garde-Musical with Underground-Star Jack Smith, 1979
„The Wiz“ Feature film/Musical, with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, 1978
„Idols“, Fotoband, Gilles Larrain, 1976/2011
„New York Underground“, Fotoband, Veretta Cobler, 2003