Música en Santiago de Cuba is the result of a two month stay in a recording studio in the Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba in 2015. The book focuses on the everyday lives of rapper Alain Garcia Artola, who pens the introduction, drummer Carlos Guerra and rumba group Obbatuké, plus aspiring musicians from the inner-city area Reparto Portuondo.
Days were spent on rooftops, in Soviet-era concrete blocks and colonial churches at rehearsals, concerts, barbecues and religious ceremonies. Highlighted is the individual expression and the passion these young men have for their music, rooted in the african tradition, that sits alongside their contemporary tastes. USB sticks containing the latest reggaeton, dancehall and hip hop were passed around the same rooms that Yoruba rituals took place, where gold teeth and jewellery reference American Rap culture as much as they do the deity Oshun, Patroness of Cuba.
I have since photographed some of the featured musicians during concerts in Edinburgh and London.
Thomas Pratt (b.1988, London) Photography BA at LCF.
Works include; America, America (2012), cinematography and stills for DAT LIKWID LAND (2016) (dir. Jacob Dwyer) premiered at IFFR and on going work Salt Pond (2011 – present).
Música en Santiago de Cuba (2017) is Pratt’s first book and the first publication from Spaghetti Press. Pratt is in the process of moving to Spain for a new photographic work.