Afro-Cuban movement culture is Cuba’s major export. But where do its sounds come from – and how does one live and work there?
In cooperation with the music agency Endirecto, Musicboard Berlin grants one Berlin-based solo artist with an interest in Cuban musical culture a two-month residency in Havana, Cuba. It is aimed at artists from all genres of pop music, meaning all genres and styles that cannot be clearly designated as classical, new music or jazz. This includes all forms of cross-genre and experimental pop music. Besides the realisation of own music projects, the residency offers the possibility to collaborate with Cuban musicians and to explore the Cuban music scene.
The Musicboard residency programme intends to be accessible to everyone and as inclusive as possible. If you have special needs or questions about the accessibility of this residency, please contact Maureen Noe before applying: email@example.com.
We would like to bring to your attention that persons who have been in Cuba and wish to travel to the U.S. (including transit flights) are excluded from the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) following changes in U.S. immigration regulations, meaning they must apply for a visa. More information can be found in the travel and safety advice (in German) of the German Foreign Office for Cuba.
Eligible to apply are:
- solo artists who live and work in Berlin
- musicians from all genres of pop music who stand out through particular creative achievements and who work professionally
- musicians who have a high degree of independence and take their own initiative
- musicians who are particularly open to transcultural exchange and collaboration and have an interest in or a relation to Cuban music tradition
- Musicians who have (basic) knowledge of Spanish or are willing to acquire this knowledge prior to the residency. The project funds of the residency stipend can be used for a language course.
- Musicians who reflect on their own social position and are critical of power imbalances and discrimination. Prior knowledge of topics such as whitewashing, white saviourism and cultural appropriation is desired. Applicants will have the opportunity to acquire relevant information in a mandatory workshop on power relations.
- musicians with a valid vaccination against SARS-CoV-2
3 Time Frame
Stay in Havana: 2 months during November and December 2023
The exact period of the residency will be coordinated between the cooperation partners and the selected musician.
4 Residency Details
Endirecto is a music agency that is focused on Cuban music and operates internationally. In Cuba, it is involved in the production of the Baila En Cuba festival and with the Cuban music forum Primera Linea. The office in Havana is located in the Estudios Abdala, Cuba’s best-known recording studios.
Cuba is known for its musical tradition and its diverse range of rhythms and original music styles. Besides the small but very lively local »bottom up« scenes, most of the music industry in Cuba is state-organised. In Cuba, all musicians are affiliated with the Cuban Music Institute (ICM). Depending on the genre, the Musicboard resident will be linked via this institute, with the corresponding agencies for rock, pop, hip-hop, rap, electronic music, jazz, or classical music. Via this network, the Musicboard resident will also be connected to a Cuban musician who will act as a mentor. It will be possible for the resident to work together with this mentor in the studio, to implement specific own musical projects on-site, and to explore the Cuban music scene.
The Musicboard covers:
- the round-trip travel costs as well as costs for accommodation, food, local transport and visa costs
- a monthly contribution to project-related costs in the amount of 500 euros
The following information and documents must be supplied, in English, using exclusively the application tool that can be accessed via the button at the end of this page:
- completed application form
- artistic project & motivation
motivation and presentation of the planned artistic project in the context of the residency
- artistic resume
including a list of artistic milestones such as shows, productions, releases, collaborations, awards and grants
- three music samples
to be uploaded as mp3s
- scans of certificate of registration or personal ID (front and back)
indicating Berlin as place of residence
- for non-EU citizens: Passport scan
including residence permit, duration of stay, and type of work permit
In each round of funding, applicants may apply for more than one residency. In this case, separate applications must be submitted.
Only fully completed documents can be considered. All applications will be handled confidentially and used exclusively for decision-making and funding purposes. Publication of certain relevant details is granted by the applicant as part of the application process.
7 Selection Procedure
The residencies are awarded through Musicboard Berlin GmbH upon recommendation of an independent jury of Berlin-based pop experts and in consultation with the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Jury members are usually appointed for a period of three years. The following jury is appointed to the Scholarships & Residencies programme in 2023:
- Aida Baghernejad
- Ji-Hun Kim
editor-in-chief Das Filter, freelance lecturer, DJ and music producer
- Katja Lucker
managing director of Musicboard Berlin GmbH
- Thien Nguyen
label owner, DJ, music and film producer
- Pamela Owusu-Brenyah
A&R, music consultant and curator Pop-Kultur Festival
- Misla Tesfamariam
artist manager, label owner
A short description of the jury members is available here.
Due to the highly dynamic Covid-19 situation, Musicboard reserves the right to award its residencies conditionally and make adjustments to the terms of each residency in consultation with the applicants if necessary.
8 Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have collected here some frequently asked questions about Musicboard’s residencies. This information is intended for general advice, is not legally binding, and does not take the place of an examination of individual circumstances. We will gladly answer further, detailed questions on the funding programme by phone or by email. Please read the FAQs and other explanatory notes on this website carefully before contacting us. We also recommend the free services of the Kulturförderberatung by Kreativ Kultur Berlin, which supports artists in all disciplines in their search for possible funding, can offer tips for preparing applications and can provide review of applications.
- What is meant by »living and working in Berlin«?
- In the residency programme, Musicboard funds exclusively musicians and bands who live and work in Berlin. Residency and creative focus must be verified with residence permits or personal ID (front and back). The nationality of the musician is irrelevant to the funding decision. Anyhow, for non-EU citizens filing an application, it is necessary in addition to the Berlin residence certificate to provide a passport that includes residence permit, duration of stay, and type of work permit. Please note that Berlin residence must be officially verified. Rent contracts etc. are not sufficient for proof of residence. We kindly ask you to refrain from submitting such documents containing sensitive personal data.
- I have just submitted another application to Musicboard. Can I still apply for the residency?
- In general, it is possible for musicians to be funded repeatedly and in successive periods. In each round of funding, applicants may apply for more than one residency. In this case, separate applications must be submitted. It is also possible to simultaneously apply for a scholarship and one or multiple residencies. In this case, several applications must be supplied as well. In general, due to the large number of applications in a given funding round, the jury will recommend only one grant per artist.
- How do I submit my letter of motivation?
- Since 2023, the motivation can be entered into fields in the online application form. In the application form, applicants must explain, among other things, why they are applying for the residency and what artistic project or type of collaboration they would like to pursue as part of the residency. In addition, they are asked what they expect to gain from the residency for their own artistic and professional development. This information must be submitted in English when applying for a residency abroad, since in the event of jury approval, it will be sent to the foreign residency partner.
- How do I submit my artistic resume?
- Since 2022, the artistic resume can be entered into fields in the online application form. It is meant to describe the applicants’ artistic career. In the application form, we also ask for milestones in the artistic career in the form of a brief list of artistic milestones such as shows, productions, releases, collaborations, residencies, awards and grants. You are welcome to voluntarily provide information about your social position here (e.g. self-description, gender, disability, age, sexual identity) if it plays a role in your artistic identity and your work and you would like the jury and partners to be aware of it. This information must be submitted in English when applying for a residency abroad, since in the event of jury approval, it will be sent to the foreign residency partner.
- What songs can I submit as music samples? Are demos acceptable?
- The music samples should be three songs that represent you and your art. They need not be the newest songs, or the ones that you want to work on during your project. Demos can be submitted. Depending on their quality, it may be wise to provide in addition one or two fully produced works.
- Are your residencies accessible and/or family-friendly?
- The Musicboard residency programme is intended to be accessible to everyone and as inclusive as possible. Whether a residency is accessible or can be taken up accompanied by family depends very much on the particular location and the individual needs of the applicant. If you have special needs or questions about the accessibility of this residency, please contact Maureen Noe before applying: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When exactly is the application deadline?
- The application deadline for the residency is 1 March 2023 at 6 p.m. Until then, applications can be received online and will be posted as received before the deadline. The application is successfully received as soon as it appears in your user profile in the »Submitted Applications« section. We recommend allowing plenty of time for the application and its attachments to upload, and not waiting until the last minute to apply. The upload speed of our servers can decline with increased traffic to the site. If technical problems arise, please make a screenshot, save the application draft and advise us by email at: email@example.com.
- What are the selection criteria of the jury?
- The jury makes its recommendations primarily on the basis of the quality of artistic work, the chances of success and the conclusiveness of the proposed project. A particular focus of the jury is the music samples provided. In addition to these general criteria, transcultural criteria play a major role, especially in the awarding of international and Co-Creation Residencies, e.g. whether applicants have familiarised themselves with the residency location and its cultural context, whether they already have personal or professional connections to the local music culture or whether transculturality is reflected in the applicant’s proposal. Funding decisions are made with a view toward building the diversity of Berlin’s music scene. Musicboard and the appointed jury place great value on diversity, inclusion and gender balance.
- When will I be informed of their decision?
- The jury’s decision follows the application deadline by 4 to 6 weeks, and applicants are informed by email. Acceptances and declines are sent at the same time. Usually, more applications are received than can be funded, and Musicboard is not obliged to explain its decision. There is no legal entitlement to funding.
The application period for 2023 has ended. The next application deadline is expected to be 1.3.2024.