Bar Matanzas is an intervention by Neil Leonard and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and that unpacks the design, beverage, and culinary culture of Matanzas, Cuba. Matanzas, known as the “Athens of Cuba” is a cradle of political, economic, social and artistic transformation. The bar is a site for reconsidering the location and function of artistic gestures and to question the parameters of art making. The inaugural program includes music by Leonard with the iconic rumba group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, who celebrate their 65th anniversary in 9 open air concerts.
Neil Leonard - saxophone/electronics
Muñequitos de Matanzas:
Luis Cancino Morales
Diosdado Enier Ramos
Eddy Espinosa Alfonso
José Andro Mella Bosch
Nassos Vynios - audio engineer
Thursday, June 8 - Sunday, July 18, 2017
34127 Kassel, Germany
By day, visitors drink Mojitos on outdoor tables or in the pavilion, surrounded a sound/video installation dedicated to Matanzas bartender Alfredo Comas and translucent paintings by Campos. Seating was conceived by Clara Porset, a Matanzas born designer and Black Mountain College alumnus.
By night, Leonard and Los Muñequitos de Matanzas enter the bar in procession to perform a live set drawing on rumba, Afrocuban chants, electronic saxophone improvisation and field recordings. Each night the music is different and explores new connections between Cuban and North American musical traditions. Concerts often involve the visitors joining the band in the center of the pavilion, singing, playing and dancing under the gaze of Campos' luminous owl paintings.
Bar Matanzas began as a collaboration with the Schlachthof Kulturzentrum of Kassel, a community center that provides language, culinary, music and other classes to the immigrant community of Kassel. When Leonard and Campos are not presenting in the bar, the community center uses Bar Matanzas as a platform for its own programming.