Jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera to perform in Golden, and highlight issues his homeland of Cuba faces

BY BORIS SANCHEZ AND ANNE HERBST
FEBRUARY 26, 2015,
 

DENVER — For Paquito D’Rivera, a 15-time Grammy Award winner, music is a conversation.

“It’s an act of communication,” says D’Rivera, who is considered a “Jazz Master” by the National Endowment of the Arts.  “That is the greatness of music.”

The world-renowned saxophonist is playing a special concert Friday in Golden to raise awareness for human rights in his home country, Cuba.

“I think it’s very important to open the eyes of the people to the reality of that country,” D’Rivera said. “It is a very cruel and violent system.”

D’Rivera, who fled the island in 1981, says that recent talks between the Castro regime and American delegates — hoping to normalize relations with the communist nation — have yet to address some basic human rights.

“It’s something very shameful and very painful, too,” said D’Rivera, citing new reports that more than 150 anti-Castro activists were arrested Sunday. More than 50 of the arrests were women belonging to the “Ladies in White” — a group formed by the wives, mothers, and sisters of political prisoners and dissidents, jailed for opposing Castro.

The Ladies in White Benefit Concert, set for Friday, February 27 at the Mount Vernon Country Club will not only help the group financially, but D’Rivera says it will also help the world hear their story.

“I think it is our duty to keep telling it.”