Friday, November 21, 2014

La Vuelta Podcast: Carmen Jones: El Amor Cubano

Click here to listen.

Carmen Jones. (20th Century Fox, 1954).

A while ago, I had a chance to interview Grammy and Tony Award-winning arranger and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire about his work on a remake of Oscar Hammerstein’s Carmen Jones entitled, Carmen Jones: El Amor Cubano.  Lacamoire, who is best known for his arrangements for In The Heights, collaborated with British director Christopher Renshaw and the Cubans Roclan Chávez and Norge Espinosa in a retelling Carmen Jones that changes the backdrop of the story of love, jealousy and violence from the deep American South of the 1940s, to the period immediately preceding the Cuban Revolution of 1959.  With Cuba as a backdrop, Lacamoire added a number of new musical elements that highlighted the island's rich musical diversity.  For Lacamoire, a Cuban-American, the experience was both frustrating and fulfilling.  As he explained, despite the distance between Cuba and the United States, audiences in the Cuban capital were “totally feeling what we were doing.”

Carmen Jones: El Amor Cubano. (La Habana, 2014) Photo courtesy of NBC News.

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