Happy International Women’s Day…

…To all of you women out there.

The spirit was very willing, but sadly the flesh very weak. Despite all my good intentions, I didn’t make it to the Million Women Rise march. Fortunately many other women did represent and march for a good cause – an end to violence against women and girls.
Instead, I got to spend a lovely day relaxing with my favourite international woman.

Speaking of good causes, went to a great gig last night at the Barbican, in aid of the Miami Five. To be honest, I thought we were just off to hear some fantastic Cuban musicians including Omar Puente and his band (- awesome, the lot of them!). Señor Puente was incredible on the electric violin (below a clip demonstrating his prowess at Ronnie Scott’s on another occasion).

This was followed by some moving readings from the book Letters of Love and Hope – letters and poems written between these five Cuban men and their families. Introduced by the fabulous Alice Walker.

As if that wasn’t enough, after the interval, stars Eliades Ochoa and his group and Omara Portuonado from the iconic Buena Vista Social Club played a great set that got everyone up, singing and dancing, earning them a well deserved standing ovation.


Special guest Omara Portuondo made several guest appearances during the set much to the delight of the audience.

It was an added bonus to realise the gig was in support of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labaňino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero, and René González. Five Cuban men arrested in Miami in1998 for trying to stop terrorist attacks against the Cuban people. Three of the men still languish in jail.

Shamefully, UK Home Secretary Theresa May refused a visa to René González (recently freed after 13 years incarceration), so he was not able to make his scheduled appearance. His daughter did him proud relaying a message on his behalf. But here he is speaking for himself…


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