While in Cuba, the students in Berklee’s Interarts Ensemble worked on their compositions at the Laboratorio Nacional de Música Electroacústica, founded by Cuban electroacoustic pioneer Juan Blanco. Katie Bilinski described its role in relation to the Instituto Superior de Arte as like that of Mix One Studios to Berklee. This is where they spent most of their time, preparing the pieces that would be shown during their final concert at the  Museo de Bellas Artes.

Julia at the LMNE

Julia Easterlin practices with the help of LNME engineer Miguel Parera.

They were joined by two LNME students who also composed pieces for the concert, Madai Licor Broceta and Ariannys Mariño Lalana, and ISA composition professor Sigried Macías.

Sigried Macías with Madai Licor Broceta

Sigried gives Madai some pointers.

The old cliché that music is a universal language is often true, but discussing technical terms in another language can be difficult. Somehow they made themselves understood.

Katie and John at the LNME

Miguel helps Katie Bilinski and John Hull work on their piece.

To build his piece, Enrico de Trizio wandered around Havana, recording samples of things he heard. “In this way you get the atmosphere of a place, more than just taking pictures,” Enrico said. “You don’t realize that a car doesn’t sound the same in Cuba as in the U.S.A., because the engine is really old. It has a particular sound, a particular harmony.”

The samples that were eventually incorporated into his “Silencio” were recorded during a nightly ceremony at the nearby Cabaña fortress. Drummers played a march and a singer recited a chant before the cannons were fired. Enrico merged these sounds with a bolero beat and his own harmonies, turning a military ceremony into a sort of lullaby.

Listen to “Silencio.

Read more posts from Berklee’s inaugural trip to Cuba:

Brenda Pike
Latest posts by Brenda Pike (see all)