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EGREM, cuban oldest recording studio

Every year and as a common practice nowadays, EGREM, Cubas oldest recording studio, takes on several recording challenges and the production of audiovisual materials, DVDs, video clips and others.

This Cuban recording label is having a good year. Its participation on various events, such as the Havanas International Book Fair, Cubadisco and Arte en la Rampa Art fair, confirms its strong presence in the national recording market.

Jesús Oliva, head of EGREMs National Market Department, tells us about its new plans, challenges and products and what has and will happen in one of its most important categories, the childrens music.

"One of EGREMs policies, as a recording label, is to promote childrens music with a good focus on children and parents and within everybodys reach because it is offered in national currency. For instance, last year, the company presented several discs of this type, Música Infantil I and II, as well as cassettes such as El mundo al revés (by Moncada group).

"This year, we have released new and much better quality products.

"The new discs of childrens music presented on 2007 include El bolsillo del duende and Los cazadores de cuentos, by Kiki Corona. The latter gathers a series of fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen, interpreted by Cuban television and radio actors. This disc is also interesting due to its innovative and colourful design. Another project that has become true is Los reyes del son, which was edited on request of the Jose Marti Pioneers Organization, and has hits of several Cantándole al Sol childrens music festivals.

"In addition to all this, there are two new projects: Chiquilín and Cascabelitos. Popular Cuban music representatives including Amílcar (Warapo), Niurka Reyes, William Vivanco, Amaray, Israel Rojas (Buena Fe), and Kiki Corona participate in the first of this two discs. Chiquilín is produced by David Álvarez, director of Juego de Manos group. On the other hand, Cascabelitos is a Havanas choral group, which was created starting from an idea of the National Council of Culture Clubs."

"Where can these CDs be found?

"The public has been able to buy them in national currency in the Arte en la Rampa fair, in the EGREMs stand, but they will continue to be sold at the same price in diverse sales outlets.

"We not only present them and offer them in the fair, but our policy is to continue offering them during the whole year, even the saga of the Los cazadores de cuentos "which includes ten discs", will be sold in Cuban pesos, in premises such as the Amadeo Roldán Theatre, where we have this and other EGREMs products.

"Another popular place is the outlet at Havanas Bus Station, where all travellers can buy our products. We have other sales outlets at the old disc factory in San Agustin (23 Avenue, corner to 250), and in our new recording studios headquarter (18 Street and 3rd Avenue)."

"How does EGREM pay for these products, which are produced abroad and therefore have to be paid in dollars?

"Its very complex. We take a look at each childrens music production, placing an emphasis on our childrens education and culture. Therefore, they are a priority, despite their high cost. We do it with a great pleasure. They are among our plans and we consider them as part of our expenses from one year to the next to reach our children. We do the same with rock "also offered in national currency" so that it can be bought by the youth.

"Does it include photos and design?

"Of course, we try to make them with the best possible design, looking for the best artists, discussing the presented projects to offer a high quality product in the hands of parents, children and young people.

"What new products are on the table for the remainder of this year and the next?

"We have many projects, all of them very good; one of the most awaited is a Los Van Van disc, produced by EGREM. We hope to be able to present a DVD of the same orchestra. We are working very hard to finish it by the end of this year. Likewise, David Calzado y la Charanga Habanera new disc is almost ready. We know this new production will be very well received by dancers because it includes the latest songs of the group.

"There is a great surprise. X Alfonso new CD and DVD will be first release in Cuba and then abroad. We know the youth is waiting for them because they closely follow the career of this young Cuban musician.

"These are the main productions, but one of the products raising greatest expectation is a DVD dedicated to Ché, for the 40th anniversary of its death in combat in Bolivia. It will have a disc with the best song of Carlos Puebla and the first DVD of this type in our country. This honors us and makes us proud."

Source: By Oni Acosta, Juventud Rebelde

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