by David Creedon Published 01/10/2009
Una Corda is also the name of a non-profit organization run by volunteers from Ireland's music community, that works to train and equip Cuban piano-tuners. They are now in the final stages of being awarded charitable status as a cultural and educational exchange project.
Since 2006 Irish piano tuners have been going to Havana to tune and help train the local technicians and, working in conjunction with the Havana Arts Authority and the Cuban Ministry of Culture, they have now been given the responsibility of restoring and re-equipping the National Workshop there.
The organization has three objectives: sending a small number of piano-tuners to Cuba to tune pianos and train people locally; to help restore Havana's National Workshop of Instrument Repair; and to encourage Irish people travelling to Cuba on holidays to carry piano parts with them, which Una Corda supplies.
Over the last number of years tourists travelling to Cuba have made a real contribution to the project by becoming 'Una Corda's' mules. Volunteers simply carry a package of piano parts or tools with them in their luggage when they go. So far over 300 kilos of parts have been carried in luggage, all with the approval of the Cuban authorities.
The pianos that are being repaired and restored with the parts Una Corda is sending to Cuba belong to Havana's music schools. Up to 20 of them are in the workshop at any one time. Word has gone out across Havana, and there are many more pianos in the queue that are in need of restoration. The workshop itself is to be restored over time with money raised in Ireland.
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