Separated Cuban Brothers Reunite To Make Dazzling Music

Jake Neher/WDET

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan and Ilmar Gavilan are brothers from Havana, Cuba who discovered a mutual love of Afro-Cuban and American jazz. They both became professional musicians, and years separated them as Aldo played piano in Cuba and Ilmar formed the Harlem Quartet as a violin player in New York.

The brothers now tour together and are in Detroit this week. They perform Friday night at Wayne State University’s Schaver Music Recital Hall at 8 p.m.

The brothers join Detroit Today, along with the rest of the Harlem Quartet, to talk about the collaboration, what the warming of U.S.-Cuban relations means for the arts, and to play some music.

It was amazing for me to see how (Aldo) developed extraordinarily in Cuba,” Ilmar says of his younger brother, ”and honestly… a world-class musician, traveling all over the world, having a great career. But I couldn’t share that career with him because I was living on this side of the ocean.”

It’s just beautiful that, because of the talks that have been happening (between the U.S. and Cuban governments),” he continues, ”the very palpable result of it is being able to share the stage in the United States with my brother.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation and a live performance from the Gavilan brothers and the Harlem Quartet.

Jake Neher/WDET


Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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