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02 June 2007


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Jazz Vocalist Youman Wilder Is Asked to Leave Cuba..
By Any Goldstein


Singer Youman Wilder who was in Cuba to perform at the Cuban Jazz Festival was asked to leave the country after performing the African American Civil Rights song "We Shall Over Come"

Wilder whom performed the night before had drawn fire from the
Cuban Communist government,by singing Marvin Gayes classic
"God Is Love" and "Mercy,Mercy Me" the previous evening, and was asked to only do songs from the song-list the Cuban Government had authorized.

Wilder and his band Weird Stories decided to finish out the set with the original
funk song "Freedom Is at Your Door"

Wilder who was asked to give a song list to the Government did, but did not at all stick to the song list presented to the Cuban Government early that day.
The singer finished the show and 10 hours later was back in Montreal.

I have been just overwhelmed with mail from the article about Youman Wilder at Allaboutjazz.com.

I will be holding an in depth interview with Youman in 2 weeks, when he returns from Europe.

As a supporter of the Exile Community, I think what Youman did was beyond heroic.

Youman Wilder will be taken messages and interview request at his my space page at


I do know that Youman has stressed that he would like the Cuba Exile Communities and the
African-American Communities to have a tighter bond.

And Youman has been invited to speak at various Colleges and functions.

What was missed in the last interview , was that Mr Wilder was waken up at 3 am and told to leave the country under heavy Cuban Militia.

Also Mr Wilder was threaten with death and told he would be taken to a local jail.

Wilder was departed out of the country under a Cuban mandate that saw him and his group as enemies of The Revolution.

Also what was not said is that Wilder at Jose Martí International Airport,while being escorted out of the country by armed military sang "We Shall Overcome" as vacationers from The UK, Canada, and France looked on.

All will be available on our July 12th column at WWW.Allthatjazz.com

Amy Goldstein

Mr. Wilder continues to amaze me. As for his call for a "tighter bond" between the Cuban exile and African American communities - I couldn't agree more. With regards to Cuban liberty, we have a great deal to learn from those brave souls who took on segregation and state-sanctioned racism in the United States in the 1960s and beyond.

Bravo Mr. Wilder, bravo.


Anatasio Blanco

Youman Wilder along with Jazz Critic Amy Goldstein sit down and write the 1st of two parts on Youman's trip to Havana Cuba, and the following 2 days in which he was asked to leave country,
after not following the Cuban Government's strict Guidelines

Part 1

Youman Wilder talks about his 3 days in Havana Cuba

I was just forwarded so many opinions on my trip to Havana Cuba.
As you may have heard we did have some rather testy and dangerous experiences on the island of Cuba when we played there in June.

Some stated things that I may have a little problem with, and that I would like to correct, for your future articles and understanding of me and my group of musicians.

1.Some have stated that I should not be Canonized for playing Cuba in the first place?

As a good Baptist I would agree, but you may want to know that I did not want to take the gig in the first place.

I did so because 2 of my musicians are Afro-Cuban born and left the Island during the boat lift of the early 80's, they had not seen loved one's family, friends in over 27 years and they asked me to please take the gig, after initially turning it down twice.

There were serious reservation on my behalf because I had so many Cuban friends who had gone through hell and still longed for the return to the country they loved and cherished in their youth.

After speaking to so many older people who are now 60,70,80 years old, they had thought that if their grandchildren who were so young when leaving could go back, it was like them in some ways going back.

So I was out voted by my band, so the gig was booked and we were off to Montreal and then off to Havana.

I also knew that I would make a stand and talk about freedom and talk about the fact that people had the right to be free.

I did not go there a be proxy for Castro's Propaganda, and I was not going to let anyone dictate to me what my art would and not be when performing those 2 nights in Havana.

As we landed at The Jose Marti' Airport, I had mixed emotions, I did not want to come but a part of me that comes out of the Civil Rights struggle felt as if I were helping the KKK or Jim Crow. or the White Citizen Council of the 1950s

What I remembered first was the smell of Cuba, it was earthy and had a snitch of great smelling foods, island foods, a tropical quality you feel like when you come to a beach front town.

Our welcome was one of great respect, we were taken to the local authorities to our rides to the hotel we would be staying at.

The Hotel Riviera which would be provided for us by the Cuban Jazz Festival organizers.

After unpacking we decided to walk around the City of Havana.

Havana is such a different place, parts of it is updated in the state of the art form of a modern city like New York for instance, then in a single block its a town of old buildings and old cars and old faces, and people who you see are tired of fighting.

We were allowed to take pictures, but then in a strange twist of fate we were only allowed to take pictures where our governmental escorts said we could take pictures, this was the first sign that this trip would not be a typical trip.

We drove around and walked around and sampled some of the local foods, authentic black beans and rice, Cuban coffee which would put hair on your chess.

I got a hand-painted sketch of La Bodeguita del Medio for a great price, we ate great food at El Aljib we ate like kings and queens, plates of roast chicken con mojo (garlic sauce), roasted fish or combination plate of meat, chicken, rice, beans, salad, bread and house-made dessert.

We walked through Ole Havana with its idyllic monuments and listening to some of the local Cuban Street musicians who played the Congo's and Bongo's of the Motherland of Africa.

I ran into young Cuban Rappers that talked about one day coming to
New York City, and meeting Jay-Z, and Nas,some talked about Africa, this surprised me the most, because so many Latinos who live in America deny the African blood that runs in them, but not these young Cubans, It was a sense of pride that touched me.
The more I walked in the fading Havana sun, the more I knew that the concerts that we would perform the next day would be emotional as well as a way to speak truth to power.
I had made my decision that I would sing songs that talked about love and freedom.
And there would be no turning back, and possibly hell to pay.
I was willing to take that loan out.

Youman Wilder has performed throughout the United States and Asian and Europe.
In 2005 Wilder was voted best New Artist at the Swedish Jazz Festival

all email replies can be sent to Youman at these email addresses

[email protected]


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