Cuban Government Warns Singers: Clean Up Your Act

(AFP) Musicians that perform songs deemed vulgar or that "violate ethical standards" will now be punished in Cuba, the state-run Institute of Music said Friday.

In communist Cuba, most everything -- especially the airwaves -- belongs to the government. Aside from hotels that cater to foreigners, there is no MTV, VH1 or HBO. There are no independent radio stations or newspapers.

The move comes after authorities heard complaints for more than a year about "vulgar" songs from members of the state-supported intelligentsia.

Authorities are currently busy "purging" music catalogs, with the goal of "eradicating any practice that is ... not in accordance with legitimate Cuban popular culture," Institute of Music head Orlando Vistel told the daily Granma.

A special focus is on lyrics that are "aggressive, sexually explicit, obscene, and that twist the innate sensuality of Cuban women, presenting them as grotesque sexual objects," Vistel said.

Musicians need a government permit to perform in Cuba, and violators risk losing that permit, Vistel told AFP, while officials that allow offending music to be performed risk "severe sanctions."

Most of the complaints are over reggaeton songs -- a Caribbean music style that mixes reggae, hip-hop and salsa music, and often uses sexually-suggestive lyrics.

Authorities are preparing a law aimed at regulating "the public uses of music" on television and radio, at concerts and in outdoor events, Vistel said.


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