US singer-songwriter Barbara Dane on Thursday in this capital was made an honorary member of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) for "her artistic merits and her fidelity to the cause of the Cuban Revolution and its cultural policy."
Dane, 89, a well-known interpreter of folk music, jazz and blues, traveled to Cuba for the first time in 1966 and became the first US musician to tour the island after the triumph of the revolution led by Fidel Castro.
At a ceremony attended by Culture Minister Abel Prieto, UNEAC officials, intellectuals and artists, the president of the organization, writer Miguel Barnet, emphasized that Dane has been a "fighter for civil rights" and a "revolutionary woman" who risked her artistic future by singing in Cuba.
Dane thanked her hosts for the recognition and said that after the revolution "Cuba transformed itself into a cultural example for the whole world," emphasizing the cultural level of Cuban artists and intellectuals and saying that she was moved by the invitation to join UNEAC.
She also lamented the death in November of Castro, adding that "the world has lost one of its greatest teachers."
Dane was accompanied at the ceremony by her children - Nina and guitarist and composer Pablo Menendez, who lives in Cuba - and in the audience was US actor Danny Glover.
Next Wednesday, Dane will offer a concert at the Casa de las Americas cultural institution in Havana at which she will perform with the musicians who backed her on her latest album, along with her son and her grandson, Osamu Menendez.
Dane performed on several occasions in Cuba after launching her career as a blues singer during the 1950s, sharing the stage on various occasions with Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Pete Seeger.
She was well-known for her opposition to discrimination and the Vietnam War, as well as for her ties to other artists who defended social causes.