En este momento estás viendo President of the Latin Music Institute: «Weighing our culture to achieve greater sovereignty as a region».
Daniel Martín Subiaut, president of the Instituto Latino de la Música. Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee.

President of the Latin Music Institute: «Weighing our culture to achieve greater sovereignty as a region».

The Instituto Latino de la Música, founded on February 21, 1921, organizes, represents and promotes art and entertainment in the region. Since its beginnings, it has provided spaces for folklore, classical music and all the art that could fit in the cultural range that defines the people of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The institution, which is about to turn 103 years old, celebrated its anniversary in Madrid, in the presence of great Ibero-American stars and representatives of the Spanish Senate and the Royal House. «It gave us new colors and muscles, even though the pandemic took away music icons such as Armando Manzanero, Johnny Ventura, Adalberto Alvarez and Cesar ‘Pupy’ Pedroso,» Daniel Martin Subiaut, president of the ILM, told Cubadebate.

The year 2023 was a year of constant work, under the premise, according to Subiaut, of reinventing Latin America from within.

«We took advantage of the signing of the Peace Agreement in Colombia to reach communities where it was impossible for us to be since the 1950s. Santiago de Cuba was distinguished as a Musical Reference City of Ibero-America and, with it, to start the network of cities that have contributed the most music. These actions generate an important tool against cultural colonization. The better we value our culture, the more cultural sovereignty we achieve as a region.

As they have done since its foundation, the ILM continues to work side by side with institutions and companies related to the entertainment industry, tourism and education, in defense of Latin culture.

«After covid-19 we have had a greater role as developers of artistic infrastructures, international cultural and academic bridges, and as strategic advisors of projects in favor of the defense of our artistic heritage. We have an active presence throughout Ibero-America and in the United States, where the number of Latinos living or performing there means that we have had to accompany this development for many decades,» says Martin Subiaut.

If you ask how difficult it has been, more than a century later, to respond to the ILM’s founding purpose of representing and promoting art and entertainment in the region, the musician adds that it has been successfully achieved thanks to the effect of functional cultural policies that have been promoted, both locally and nationally, depending on the country. «The most beautiful thing is to see the fruits in young people appreciating – and defending in many cases – their national or regional music over a foreign and lower quality proposal.»

In this same line, the president of the institution gives the example of Colombia, Spain and Mexico, countries with great results in the defense by the young people themselves of their most folkloric music.

«We have achieved that vallenato, rancheras and flamenco are defended with passion by each new generation. For the first time, the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences took its Latin Grammy Awards outside the United States.

«There are those who wage war on the urban, but I think we just have to fight the vulgar and devote more effort to make the national more attractive to children and young people. Banning cast, reggaeton and trap, for example, makes them more attractive. What should be done is that minors have texts without vulgarity in the music of their choice. There is a lack of that, and it is the responsibility of the record companies and the cultural managers themselves who do not provide it,» he explains.

In this sense, Daniel Martín defends the hypothesis that the music of a country is a reflection of the values defended by its society, «it is what a people identifies with. Its texts tell what it feels and how it expresses itself. Their dances show how they move. This is copied by children long before they go to school, looking at their family and their environment, seeking to be part of it, without knowing if it is good or bad».

It is vital that children grow up with access to an artistic proposal that provides them with cultural richness, he adds, because it is in the early ages where their personality is formed, and the arts mold what social being we are bequeathing to the future of a country.

«There are cases like that of Cuba, a country where there are more musical genres per number of inhabitants, but where young people consume all the national wealth. I have seen that genres such as danzón and bolero are defended more in Mexico than where they were born; that the son is danced by more young people in the Colombian Caribbean or in the Dominican Republic than, organically, in our country.

«At least we have been able to get the region to value the diversity of our traditional richness. As a Cuban, I have yet to see our youth embrace these living genres with the same passion that I see in other young people from nearby countries. That can be transformed, in a few years, with a different formula to the one already executed, because to insist on it, will be to look for the same results».

Cuba and ILM: Hand in hand with common goals

«Cuba was already famous in our foundation with the danzón in Yucatán and Veracruz. Later, in sound films it occupied a lot of ground with son, trova, bolero, mambo, rumba, guaracha, Afro-Cuban jazz, chachachá and more. This country is a pillar for the ILM and it is an honor for me, as a Cuban, to carry its value as a sword,» emphasizes Martín Subiaut.

The Latin Institute of Music together with the Cuban Institute of Music are currently developing the project «Reacciona con Tito» (React with Tito). The initiative is based on using urban music with fun and attractive texts for teenagers with the themes that high school students want to dance to, a result of a diagnosis made in the spring of 2023.

According to the director, artists from the Cuban Rap Agency, Mexico and the Dominican Republic have participated and its launching is expected this year. The MCI has also taken the first season of Tito Reacciona to Cubavisión’s children’s programming.

2024: A year of challenges for the ILM

«The Instituto Latino de la Música will be 103 years old in frank expansion to wherever Latin music is, beyond our geographic region. We will also continue to develop projects with our countries,» says Martín Subiaut.

They recently created the ILM Films department, dedicated to audiovisuals that promote cultural content. «We are preparing a first major project with our Cuban son, which we expect to be announced before May. We are also open to producing film projects, documentaries, animated films, among others, in order to grow with alliances that defend Latin culture. Everything we do will have a global reach, because that is what our music is like.»

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