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Posts from the ‘Music’ category

Inspired by the “Cuba Is” exhibit at The Annenberg Photo Space in Los Angeles, I whipped up a symphony of tracks that inspire me on the island today, with a sprinkle of legendary ancestors whose shoulders we all rest on.


If you visit the Skylight studio at “Cuba Is”, you’ll enter the Resolviendo exhibit, which deep dives into Wifi Parks, DIY Magazines, and modern day Cuban content (a collaboration I was honored to curate through Commonwealth Projects). After 6 months of boasting beautiful works from Cuba, both exhibits will end early March with a closing bash on March 3rd. To bottle the spirit of Resolviendo, I’m posting the mix online. Here is a bit of old-school meets new school — a mash-up of modern day Cuba.

Upon hearing the assemblage of tracks, it can appear seamless to move between the voices of the past and the voices of today. It’s evident the rappers are contemporary, but the percussion and words of the ancient Yoruba language are still woven into the fiber of todays Cuban millennial. Tradition is paramount in Cuba, and history is bookmarked through music, dance, and spoken word. First, it was through “cabildos”, the underground slave jam sessions of the 1500’s, all the way up to the Rumba’s and Cha Cha Cha’s of the 1960’s. Today, a Perez Prado mambo still roars on the streets, but instead, a DJ is flipping it with a remix, lifting the original to newer heights. Listen for yourself. Achè.

RESOLVIENDO (Track list)

Ellegua Invocation – Orishas

Rumba Pa’ofrendarle – Telemary Diaz

No te olvides de tu Son – Yelsy Heredia

Bonito y Sabroso – Beny More

Para Bailar el Montuno – Arsenio Rodriguez

Watermelon Man – Mongo Santamaria

Palabras Manuales – Danay Suarez

River – Ibeyi

Corazon de Melon – Rosemary Clooney with Perez Prado

St James Infarmary (Perez Prado vs Wichy de Vedado)

Fundamento – Edgar Productor’n’Jefe

Rico Vacilon – Orquesta American de Ninon Mondejar

Julian Monsieus – Bola de Nieve

Habanera Repartera – Soandry

Tu Seras – Danay Suarez

Cubanacan – Lecuono Cuban Boys

Madres – Daymé Arocena

The Rumba Experiment – Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura Band

Exhibit Diaz – Ibeyi

3 Mujeres – IFE Havana Remix Feat Con100cia, Positivo Siempre, Amehel Mission Raiz

Negra Caridad – Dayme Arocena

Fever – La Lupe

Lean On (Salsa) – Major Lazer with Havana Maestros

Mis Raices – Yelsy Heredia

Bossa Cubana – Los Zafiros

Soledad – Bahama Soul Club feat Telmary

Papa Aggun – Celeste Mendoza y los Papines

Encantamiento Yoruba

Guajira Guantamera – Joseito Fernandez

Weird Latin – feat Pedrito Martinez & Paul Carlon

Negro Mi Cha Cha Cha – Facundo Rivero


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I’m thrilled to announce a cool music festival happening in Cuba this March called Havana World Music. What’s more exciting is that The New Cuba will be hosting guests from abroad to come attend the festival with VIP access. There will also be a few days of fun to explore Havana’s best and brightest spots.

But first… what is Havana World Music?

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(Eme Alfonso. Photo: May Reguera for Garbos Magazine)

“We were a group of friends, talking one day” said HWM Founder, Eme Alfonso (pictured above). “We thought, in Havana, there is nothing like an event for young people where we can enjoy ourselves and say this is the music that I listen to, this is the music that I want my friends to listen to. Then we said to ourselves, we have to do something. Let’s do something.”

Enter Havana World Music. Three days of unfettered music, art, culture, diversity, people, emotions, and energy. It’s a mix of artists both inside and outside the island, bringing fresh sounds to the forefront while honoring ancestral roots. This March 22,23,24 marks the 5th year of this gathering of international music buddies throwing it all down hard in Havana.

This years lineup includes:

The Orishas

The Orishas are Cuba’s most globally known Cuban Hip Hop band, having exploded onto the scene in 2000 with their premiere album, A Lo Cubano. The record defined the sound of what Cuban rap would be — a mix of local flavor, traditional Afro-Cuban nodding & rhymes on the motherland. For those that haven’t heard the album yet, give it a listen here.

Gato Preto

Gato Preto is a tropical bass thunderstorm. The booty shakin’ beats are produced by Lee Bass, who rolled out the perfect sound carpet for the Emcee Gata Misteriosa and her Portuguese power punchlines. The collective members members unveil African sounds reflecting their roots in the polyrhythm of Bass from Ghana, the Portuguese slang of Gata’s Mozambique and the incredible Djembe Power of Moussa Diallo from Senegal. Dive into their sound here.


If you’ve been hanging out in the Havana music scene the last few years, it’s impossible to have missed Interactivo, who hosts one of the most well attended weekly parties, a live jam featuring a rotation of band members.

Interactivo is a music collective begun by Roberto Carcasses, Yusa, Francis de Rio, William Vicanco and Telmary Diaz. The bands Director, Roberto, prides himself on Interactivo’s free-form, experimental, and collaborative nature. The mix of Jazz, Funk, Salsa, Hip-Hop and general Cubaneo is swirled up into an audio feast.

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Hailing from Spain, Marinah dons a flamenco skirt and head wrap representing Afro-Cuban spirit — think Flamenco Latin Jazz. She is the ex-singer of the Catalan band Ojos de Brujo for over a decade. In 2016, Marinah & Chicuelo launched the album “Sintonias” where, with his flamenco guitar, they infused sounds of rumba, flamenco, Afro-Cuban and Caribbean music. More here.

…And now for The New Cuba Travel package to attend festivities.

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Our weeks program will be held from March 21-26, with 3 of those days attending the Festival (22,23,24). The trip includes 5 nights & 6 days of sight-seeing, music, art, culture, and the best food spots in town. The advantage of our package is that we will schedule you to be at the right place at the right time every day this week.

Price: $2,200 per person. Payment must be complete 3 weeks prior to trip.

Price Includes:
_5 Nights stay in a Casa Particular
_VIP Access to Music Festival & After parties
_Full Time Guide/Concierge, English Speaking
_Curated activities for the week (please reach me for specific itinerary)
_Welcome Package
_Private Transfer to and from Havana International Airport with Guide
_Private Transportation for all activities of the week
_Pre-Trip Concierge (Additional pre-trip planning such as flight purchase assistance and pre-departure information)

Price does not include:
_Airfare & Visa  (we can assist/advise this process)
_Tips for Vendors – Driver, Waiters, Housekeeping, Guides, etc
_Rooming Incidentals – Minibar, etc.
_Meals/Drinks – Note: From past experience with seasoned travelers, I’ve noticed that NOT including dinner fees is a better offering for the traveler. It means the guests can avoid “cookie-cutter” price fixes, and order more luxuriously to their liking. We reserve you at the best restaurants, and you order as much or as little as you’d like.


Special Deal:
For the first 8 people to confirm, I will offer a 15% discount, and personally guide the crew myself all week.

To assure proper attention for all visitors, anyone beyond the first 8 reservations will still be guided by an expert and cool local from our crew of “new Cuba” tour leaders. Groups are capped at 10 people to insure best attention. Keep in mind, all groups will be celebrating together anyways for opening cocktail event, as well as all Festival events & after parties.

Our itinerary and program is compliant with US Treasury Department regulations. This trip is permitted through the “people-to-people” general license category authorized by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Our program of activities offers meaningful interactions with the Cuban people under an authorized tour leader according to US regulations. For more details, visit US Treasury Gov.

For any further questions, I’d be happy to get on the phone and discuss deeper. Please email to open dialogue.

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(Eme Alfonso. Photo: May Reguera for Garbos Magazine)

“That’s it” in the words of Eme, “Music is the excuse. We are going to meet and we will have a great time.” About the musician herself, having been raised in a legendary family of recording artists, and part of the successful band Sintesis for two decades, Eme is formally breaking out on her own this month with a fresh solo album. To read about Eme’s vision and voice for music, download the latest issue of Garbos Magazine.

We look forward to celebrating the best of this new Cuba together.

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If you’re a fan of Major Lazer, here’s a doc you’ll appreciate. If you have no idea who Major Lazer is, yet have a deep curiosity for Cuban youth culture, then this doc will equally intrigue you. In full disclosure, I worked on this film as one of the Producers, with the excellent team of Matador films (shout-out to Director Austin Peters), who visited Cuba to document this band on their most epic journey.


Let me say that working on this project, as a Cuban-American, has been the most therapeutic process in facing my proverbial brothers (and sisters) on the other side of the pond. For me, it has been a long soul journey returning to the motherland, with an insatiable appetite to better understand the future of this country through the eyes of its youth. What we discovered was an island nation in transformation, full of curiosity and creativity, with an equal appetite to absorb American culture as well. For one shining day, ideologies didn’t matter, and instead, music was the glue.

As Major Lazer entered Cuba, our whole team expected maybe 20,000 to 50,000 fans to attend. As you will discover from watching the film, approximately half a million cool young folks showed up on on the streets that day, eager and excited to enjoy the show.

Here’s 3 reasons you should watch the doc:

(1) Meet Young Cubans

Artists like Iliam Suarez are bold, eloquent, and have something to say. Give Me Future enters their home and minds… a portal into youth culture that is generally overlooked.

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(2) People Power in Action

The big question we always get is, “How did Cubans know about Major Lazer?” and “How did you promote the show?”. Enter the Paquete. If you understand the birth of Paquete, you can better understand the ingenuity, resilience, and innovation created by the younger generation. By the middle of the documentary, we arrive to the actual day of the show. We see the crowds beginning to collect on the streets in droves. Slowly but surely, it was evident this was going to a BIG show. Finally, while gazing at the crowd of 450,000 fans, the bands manager, Andrew McInnes, says, “Well, the Paquete worked!”.

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(3) Real US/CUBA Cultural Exchanges

During Major Lazer’s quick sojourn into the country, the director of Musicabana, Fabien Pisani, brought the band to the Ludwig Foundation to introduce Cuban DJ’s and Producers to the trio of DJ’s for a discussion on software, production resources, and give an overall general pep talk. It was a lovefest exchange between Cuban and US artists. The wholesome interaction acted as a bit of healing balm between two nations previously estranged for half a century. The concert and DJ panel occurred during Obama’s reconciliation days (March 2016), however now that Mr. Trump has iced our relations yet again, it is important to continue these healthy artistic exchanges more than ever.

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The Synopsis of the film is as follows:

In March 2016, following the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, electronic dance music trio Major Lazer made history, becoming one of the first major American acts to play in the communist state. Unsure how their descent on Havana would be received and hoping to reach a few tens of thousands, the epic concert unexpectedly drew in close to half a million fans. Much more than a garden variety music film, “Give Me Future” begins as a behind-the-scenes look at the historic concert and evolves into a masterful exploration of Cuba’s inspirational youth movement and its ingenious DIY information culture. Capturing exhilarating performance footage and authentic stories highlighting the country’s cultural growth and desire for inclusion in the global community, director Austin Peters conjures a transcendent, rhythm-laced depiction of the powerful catalysts driving a country on the brink of change.

To watch the whole film, download here: APPLE MUSIC.

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Recently, we wrote about the big Cumbancha Irma Relief bash we’re throwing in New York, with proceeds going to The New Cuba, featuring the best Cuban DJ’s floating around the big apple right now. It’s going to be a booty shaking set of Afro Cuban Deep house and a proper Latin & Cuban mashup of sounds that will keep you hooked on the weekly event. This one will take place at Trophy Bar, 351 Broadway, Brooklyn 11211.

The door funds will personally be distributed by me (Jauretsi) from Oct 25-30th in Cuba, as I embark on a 3 city tour with CubaOne Foundation into the cities most deeply affected by Hurricane Irma. The relief work will be held within 3 provinces — Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus and Santa Clara. Signups are officially closed for that trip, but if you’d like to be involved in any other way, email to inquire.

The DJ crew includes: BJoyce (CUBA), Mey (CUBA), Derek Turcios (USA/CUBA), Edgaro Gonzalez (CUBA), Mickey Perez (USA/CUBA) with friends equally committed to “la causa” Marcus Aurelius Rosario (USA/PR), Sabine Blaizin (HAITI), Andrew Licata (EUA), and RioBamba (ECU). Expect some live percussion as well.

Can’t make it to the trip? Imagine yourself in Brooklyn that night, play this mix at home, and deposit money into our GoFundMe campaign instead. See how easy that was?

The fund is our backup plan collector for those who are missing the party, but want to help. Anything counts — $5, $25, $50. All the money is coming to Cuba into direct hands. Sending mad love to all our supporters who have contributed so far, in each and every way.

See you on the NY dancefloor, then Cuba. We shall document the progress report as it occurs.


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The Cuban diaspora in New York is pulling together in full force to make a difference for our people on the island. Mark your calendars for Oct 19th. We’re doing the thing we do best, THROW A PARTY! To keep the flavor real, we invited several DJ’s that are very closely connected to Cuba.

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(DJ BJoyce)

The DJ crew includes: BJoyce (CUBA), Mey (CUBA), Derek Turcios (USA/CUBA), Edgaro Gonzalez (CUBA), Mickey Perez (USA/CUBA) with friends equally committed to “la causa” Marcus Aurelius Rosario (USA/PR), Sabine Blaizin (HAITI), Andrew Licata (EUA), and RioBamba (ECU). Expect some live percussion as well.

(DJ Mey)

For our particular mission, the Cumbancha crew wants to hook up the children post-Irma. We plan to use the funds to buy school supplies, toys, and necessities for the kids. The NY party is on October 19, 2017 from 7pm until 1am. The donations given at the door will go towards purchasing and distributing kids goods that Jauretsi (of The New Cuba) will distribute during her mission with CubaOne from October Oct 25-20th, in Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus and Santa Clara — the most affected cities.

The NY party will take place at Trophy, a cool spot in Williamsburg Brooklyn that normally plays vintage soul, Brazilian, deep house, and cosmic disco. On this particular night, the Cuba-centric fam is taking over with some Afro-Cuban-house.

To support the CubaOne Foundation trip (which The New Cuba is proud to partner with), sign up or donate at the Irma Relief Trip page. The trip is also spearheaded by respected companies like Cuba Educational Travel.
 Remember, the trip is October 25-30. We invite any curious friends to come to Cuba and join Jauretsi on the ground.

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(DJ Rio Bamba)

All these organizations and contributors are legit. We will be sharing photos of all our missions, the kid toys, the CubaOne journey, etc as they occur. Sending mad love to all the cohorts and co-conspirators for making this happen.

For any questions, please contact


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Utah is getting a big injection of Cuban fever at the start of 2017. We’ve spent the better part of the year reading about the importance of Cuba/US engagement from media outlets like New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and a myriad of other outlets. Journalists have played an important role in opening this discussion while reporting a balanced story line.

This Jan 2017, it’s the filmmakers and artists who will show us what exactly engagement looks like. We’ll see curious cameras entering homes, filmmakers having “on the ground” discussions with every day Cubans, and putting a mirror up to Cuban society. None of the films are about the normalization process per say, but each of the tales are of everyday life — an American concert on the malecon, the only State-run phone company in Cuba (ETECSA), the selling of a home in Cuba, and a school that teaches English to Cubans, and more. Because all these films were captured in 2016, it is all the more reason to pay attention to what these local Cubans are expressing as we enter the Trump administration in 2017. It will take an act of Congress to fully lift the US embargo, but the more that Americans understand Cuban society today, the better it will respond to its needs in order to grow and prosper in this new era. We cannot affect Cuban policy, but we CAN affect American policy through phonecalls to our legislators, and shifting the American consciousness towards a more open relationship with Cuba. Of course Cuba will need to determine their own future, but these films are a peek into a society seeking to redefine itself.

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(Casa en Venta – a short film on the the new real estate sector for homeowners)

I’m lucky enough to have worked on two of these films (Films #1 and #2 below) which will premiere at the festival this January, one as a Story Producer and the other as a Cuba Production Consultant. Upon entering Pre-Production, each of the teams asked a bevy of questions which opened healthy dialogue — including the current state of Cuba, its relation to the US, its complex history, its challenges with filmmaking, the US Embargo laws, the tone of questions permitted, the current reforms in Cuba, the spectrum of characters, etc. etc. It seems that answering one question in Cuba begets another 50 questions. Something as simple as weak internet on the island poses enormous challenges during production, including emailing local staff or sending large files to the States. It’s a rabbit hole of lessons, but each production diligently pressed forward and managed to capture their stories with tight deadlines, frustrating conditions, an open heart, and limited budgets. Together, both films bookmark the gamut of the population today — from the elder tales of Buena Vista Social Club to the hungry young tech scene of Major Lazer’s audience. One film presents the bowing out of an older generation, while the other film introduces the future of Cuba. Both generations are very dear to me, and both being an honor to explore with Directors Austin and Lucy respectively (and their film families) who all came to Cuba in 2016.

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(Conectifai – a short film on Cuba’s phone company and internet status)

The other 3 films playing at the Sundance Film Festival this January are mini docs, but despite their short length, they are all paramount stories to explore in Cuba today. These include the story of technology today (the phone company and the emerging internet), the new home “buyers market”, and the tale of a small school that teaches Cubans to speak English as they prepare to work with “La Yuma” (nickname for the Americans).

All three storylines share the urgency of Cuba’s desire to integrate into the global economy and international community. The most interesting part of these 3 shorts is that it was nurtured by an American Institute, Sundance Labs (who attended the Havana Film Festival the last two Decembers to workshop scripts and stories with local filmmakers). Together, the 3 shorts are presented as a collection entitled “Made in Cuba”, an an example of the Sundance Institute’s “longstanding commitment to international artists” says Paul Federbush who spearheads the lab. These films were guided by the Institute’s Documentary Film Program in collaboration with La Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV) and Guardian documentaries.

… and now a breakdown of all 5 films:

Screen Shot 2016-12-26 at 6.57.46 PM.png1- Give Me Future: Major Lazer in Cuba – Director: Austin Peters / USA – FEATURE FILM

In the spring of 2016, global music sensation Major Lazer performed a free concert in Havana, Cuba—an unprecedented show that drew an audience of almost half a million. This concert documentary evolves into an exploration of youth culture in a country on the precipice of change. World Premiere U.S.A., Cuba

Austin Peters is a director living in New York. Raised in Los Angeles, he went on to study film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has directed two short-form documentaries: Braids, starring Lupita Nyong’o for Vogue, and NYC, 1981, a companion piece to the recent film A Most Violent Year. His music videos for Chvrches’ “Empty Threat” was named one of the 10 best music videos of 2015 by Rolling Stone

Screen Shot 2016-12-23 at 11.06.50 PM.png2- Buena Vista Social Club Doc / “Untitled” -Dir: Lucy Walker / USA,UK-FEATURE FILM

The musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club exposed the world to Cuba’s vibrant culture with their landmark 1997 album. Now, against the backdrop of Cuba’s captivating musical history, hear the band’s story as they reflect on their remarkable careers and the extraordinary circumstances that brought them together. World Premiere.

Lucy Walker is an Emmy Award–winning director and two-time Academy Award–nominee. She is renowned for creating riveting, character-driven nonfiction that delivers emotionally and narratively. Her films—including Waste Land, The Crash Reel, Devil’s Playground, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, and The Lion’s Mouth Opens—have won over 100 awards and honors. Her new film, the untitled Buena Vista Social Club documentary, is her fifth feature (and ninth film) to screen in official Sundance Film Festival selection.

Screen Shot 2016-12-26 at 7.01.58 PM.png3- “Connection” or “Conectifai” – Dir: Zoe Garcia

ETECSA—Cuba’s only telephone company—installed Wi-Fi routers in 18 public parks in 2016. For many Cubans, this meant being able to go online for the first time. Now connected to a technology that is entirely new to them, we see how Cubans explore social media, online dating, and the ability to reconnect with family members living just 90 miles away. U.S. Premiere
Director Zoe Garcia graduated in mass communication studies, specializing in photography, at the Higher Institute of Art in Havana, Cuba. In 2008 she took a course on documentary cinema and TV at the International School of Film and TV in Cuba. Garcia has worked as a screenwriter, assistant director, and photographer.

Screen Shot 2016-12-21 at 9.50.48 PM.png4- Film: “Great Muy Bien” – Dir: Sheyla Pool

After the United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, it was no longer unrealistic for Cubans to dream of one day living and working abroad. Citizens of all ages, with diverse aspirations, enroll at the makeshift Big Ben English school in Havana in order to prepare themselves for a future of normalized relations between Cuba and the United States.

Director Sheyla Pool graduated from the University of Havana in Hispanic languages and in sound from the International School of Film and TV at San Antonio de los Baños. She wrote and directed Protege a tu familia and Frágil. Pool was a consultant for the script of Esteban. Currently she is working on the script for Vínculos.

Screen Shot 2016-12-21 at 9.49.24 PM.png5- “Casa en Venta” or “House for Sale” – Dir: Emanuel Giraldo

After over 50 years, the ban disallowing citizens of Cuba from selling their own houses is lifted. Three Cuban families invite us into their homes as a showcase to prospective buyers — to hear their “sales pitch.” Filled with memories, souvenirs, and family members, these intimate spaces are filled with affection, highlighting a country on the verge of historical change.

Director Emanuel Giraldo Betancur was born in Medellin, Columbia in 1989 and graduated in film directing from the International School of Cinema and Television. Some of his projects are 1,2,3. . . Let’s Dance! and Amapearte. In December 2015, he participated in Nuevas Miradas in Cuba with House for Sale (2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest), which was supported by Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program.


Stay tuned for more information as these films screen at the festival (or follow @TheNewCuba on Instagram for live activities).

For media inquiries, contact Jauretsi at

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I first met Edgar when he was 16 years old in early 2000’s out of his bedroom making beats in the secluded neighborhood of Alamar (the Bronx of Cuba). Since then, his hunger and passion for music has grown and grown. Once the new kid on the block, he is now a forefather to Millennials making music in Cuba. His style has been shaped by a range of genres as its permeated the island, from traditional, raw guajiro, to rap music, and electronica. DJ and Producer Gilles Peterson once referred to Edgar as the “J Dilla of Cuba”, always pushing boundaries, maintaining Cuba’s sonic identity, yet redefining the new Cuban sound.

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Here at The New Cuba, Edgar is part of our stable of artist for various music productions, so we’re proud to give him a shout for this beautiful new portrait piece done by the crew at WeTransfer. The web series is called “The Creative Class” and features soulful artists and innovative minds in Cuba.

Watch the whole video here:

For more episodes of The Creative Class visit

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