Los Primos is a not-for-profit organization with the following Mission...
To inspire, support and promote live music, music education and social awareness, in Nova Scotia and Cuba, through cultural exchange, intergenerational learning and the creation of environments where these elements will flourish.
A Letter From Artistic Director, Jeff Goodspeed
The Los Primos project began in 1997 when my wife Amara and I, held a fund raising event to help purchase musical instruments to give to the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in Havana. When we made our first trip to Cuba in the winter of 1998, we took twenty-three various band instruments to give to the school. We were absolutely blown away with the level of musicianship that these high school kids had achieved so we invited the first band of Cuban music students to Nova Scotia. They attended the Acadia University Jazz Camp of which I was the Director. Almost 200 music students from Nova Scotia benefited from hearing and meeting the talented musicians from Amadeo Roldan. Now there are literally thousands of music students here in Nova Scotia who know about Cuba first hand and have great respect for Cuban musicians and Cuba’s music schools.
Cultural Exchanges with Cuba
The Los Primos Project has been promoting this relationship ever since and it has made a big difference to many music students in Cuba and in Nova Scotia. Los Primos has facilitated seven trips for Cuban music students to Canada and we have taken Canadian students to Cuba eight times. There have also now been many exchanges with professionals in both directions.
The Instrument Campaign
In the first eight years of Los Primos, Amara and I personally took more than 200 instruments to Cuba. An additional 250 instruments were delivered to Cuban music schools through friends visiting Cuba, with Cuban music students returning to Cuba, on board a cargo ship or with Canadian music students traveling to Cuba. Los Primos has made donations of musical instruments to five music schools in Havana, as well as schools in Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Camagüey, Holguin, Bayamo and Santiago. Los Primos instruments have been awarded as prizes for the JoJazz Festival. We have become good partners with the Cuban National Centre for Arts Schools and some of our instruments are being played by members of the National Symphony Orchestra. We have a great partner in Long and MacQuade who's instrument repair department in Halifax makes sure that all the instruments are in top playing condition. To date almost 650 instruments have been delivered to Cuba.
Over the years professional Cuban musicians have joined with Canadian musicians to help promote the project, coming together under the name HavanaFax. The group recorded a CD in 2004 to help promote Los Primos. The CD won an East Coast Music Award for Best Jazz Recording. The work of these professional Cuban and Canadian musicians is very important and their dedication to promoting Los Primos is invaluable.
Win a Trip for 4 to Cuba
Our main source of funding is from our yearly raffle of a Trip for Four to Cuba. We have music students and cultural groups all over our province selling tickets for a chance to win a trip to Cuba. The prize-winner is announced every year at our Dance for All Ages.
Dance for All Ages
We held the first Dance for All Ages in 2001 to provide a venue for the raffle, for students to gain performance experience on a professional stage, to show case professional musicians from Halifax and Cuba and to have a place where the young people could enjoy an evening of entertainment with their parents, which is rare in our culture. Young and old dancing together. The dance quickly became an event on everyone's calendar. It celebrates latin culture and dance, bringing together so many of the diverse communities who make Nova Scotia their home.
So if you have an instrument that you played in high school and have not touched it in years, please consider putting it into our hands and we will make sure that it gets to Cuba.
Yours truly, Jeff Goodspeed Artistic Director Los Primos Project
Our Board of Directors
Chair - Stephen Mildenberger
Co-chair - Paul Barrett
Secretary - Shirley Steeves
Treasurer - Rena Langley
Director - Donna Marilyn MacDonald
Director - Jerry Rideout
Director - Eric Cestnick
Director - Penny Margolis
Artistic Director - Jeff Goodspeed