La Banda Gigante is a Cuban television series that Tropix helped bring to fruition. The format is simple. The series is a national talent search through every province on the island with the aim of discover new talent.
The competition follows several contestants who perform on one of 10 instruments — Saxophone, flute, violin, guitar, drums, bass, piano, percussion, trumpet, and trombone. Then, in a competition style show, each finalist faces different tests and musical challenges to reach a position in The Big Band. The show is hosted by Carlos Enrique Almirante and Yuliet Cruz, 2 actors who are popular among the local film scene, with a few roles in international projects, such as Netflix’ Cuban Detective series, Four Stations.
The first season of Banda Gigante has wrapped and has been a darling on Sunday night television, airing on RTV, the Cuban TV channel. RTV also has international signals that reach all of Latin America, Asia, and the United States through various sattelite options, airing on different platforms in each continent. RTVis Cuba’s primary production house for some of the biggest projects in television and film on the island. Their previous national show was “Bailando” (meaning Dancing) aired internationally. The show was also a competitive showcase in the same vein as “Dancing with the Stars”. The final tapings took place in a large theater in the famed Karl Marx Theater in Havana, the Cuban equivalent of Harlems’ Apollo theater.
This is Banda Gigante’s first year in production, and was designed to complete three primary objectives. First, to showcase Cuba’s young instrumentalists to the world, thereby exposing young local talent far and wide. Secondly, to showcase the mentors, top performers, and music school figures that contribute to the depth of Cuba’s musical history. Each round of competition is peppered with advice and voting from elders in the Cuban music world, from the Jazz great, flutist José Luis Cortés (aka “El Tosco”) of NG La Banda to another member of the legendary band Irakere, Alain Pérez, who is rightfully one of Cuba’s most sought after producers on the island. The third objective was to establish a winning band who will act as sort of a house band for RTV, acting as the official orchestra for all future television programs, as well as compose soundtracks for the television channel.
As the season reaches its crescendo finale, both the audience and the judges themselves find it tougher to widdle down the finalists in a sea of masters. But widdle down they must. To learn more about the contestants, presenters, judges, or masterclasses, visit www.LaBandaGigante.icrt.cu