Over a million Cubans rock to Juanes concert (Lead)

September 21st, 2009 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Havana, Sep 21 (EFE) Hundreds of thousands of Cubans, most of them dressed in white, turned out here for the Peace Without Borders concert of Colombian singer Juanes that also featured 14 Cuban and international performers.
The summer heat did not prevent the locals from jamming the Plaza de la Revolucion long before the concert started Sunday. A number of people had to be treated after they fainted.

Puerto Rican Olga Tanon, who opened the event, shouted several times on stage “Cuba, I love you” and specially greeted the Cuban exiles abroad “who supported us and those who didn’t”.

The crowd in the huge plaza consisted of mostly teenagers and young people who danced to Tanon’s infectious merengue.

She dedicated one of her numbers to a girl named Niurka, said to be present among the audience, and said that the girl’s father in exile in Miami had approached her and asked her to send his daughter a kiss from him.

The performers who were present include Spain’s Luis Eduarto Aute and Victor Manuel, Puerto Rico’s Danny Rivera, Ecuadorian Juan Fernando Velasco and Italy’s Jovanotti.

Cuban artists participating at the concert included Amaury Perez, Silvio Rodriguez, Carlos Varela, X Alfonso, the group Los Van Van, Los Orishas and the Cuban-Venezuelan band Cucu Diamantes and Yerbabuena.

“I can’t believe what my eyes are seeing. It’s the most beautiful dream of peace and love that I’ve been able to experience, after my children,” said Juanes upon leaving the stage.

He began his performance with “A Dios le pido”, but the crowd became almost delirious when he announced the song “La camisa negra”, and the crowd raised their voice to sing along.

After that, Bose came up to Juanes and told him that “they (the organisers) are saying that 1.15 million people” were in the plaza and “we are breaking a record”.

Juanes made remarks favouring peace and harmony. “Music should travel like the air. It should arrive everywhere. It doesn’t matter how we may think or what religion we may have. In the end, we’re the same.”

Juanes also dedicated a song to “people kidnapped and being held in the Colombian jungle and to those deprived of freedom,” but he did not criticise the Cuban regime.

After Juanes wrapped up his last performance, Los Van Van took the stage with their brand of so-called “salsa dura”.

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