Making A Cuban Music Video | The Search for a Freelancer

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Che Guevara Guitar | Cuba

The Mission

Cuba is musician's paradise.

When I arrived there in late 2016, I was looking for street musicians who could teach me how to play like a Cuban.

If I could find the right people, learn the guitar chops and build a relationship with them, I might be able to record a music video in the music-soaked streets of Santiago de Cuba.

This could provide the perfect boost for the full launch of my Guitar Education Website, Open Sauce Guitar. I didn't yet realise just how much of a role would play.

Open Sauce Guitar

The Opportunity

After meeting Rudy Daquin and Los Jubilados del Caribe (The Pensioners of the Caribbean), I began to believe that I just might be able to pull it off.

Los Jubilados del Caribe

After weeks of practice and wrestling with the Cuban accent, just as my trip was coming to end, an opportunity presented itself.

The guys wanted to record a version of the Buena Vista Social Club classic 'El Cuarto de Tula'. Tucked away in my bag, I had a tripod and 2 cameras: my Galaxy Note 4 smartphone and a GoPro.

I quickly set up the cameras, grabbed my guitar, took my position amongst the band and waited for the count-off.

The Performance

Kieran Gilchrist

A crowd started to form and as the song began, I felt myself being swept away by the cacophony of Afro-Cuban percussion, the infectious lilt of the double bass and the hypnotic tones of the lead singer.

As we approached the middle of the song, a passer-by approached and - despite the best efforts of the percussionist - walked straight past the camera. The percussionist stopped and I thought my big moment may have been ruined.

But the percussionist re-entered the fray, smack bang on the beat, and the rollercoaster ride continued. By the time the song came to an end, I'd completely forgotten about the interruption.

I was thrilled and proud to have taken part. I shook the hands of my new musical friends and considered myself an honourary Cuban Pensioner, growing old disgracefully. Makes an Entrance...

The only problem I had now was that my old MacBook Pro just didn't have the processing power to edit the videos, and I had so many recordings from my musical travels that I really needed to find a outsourcing solution.

  • Was there somebody out there who could edit them for me?
  • Could I find someone who had the craft and musical sensitivity to edit out or make the best of the quirks and interruptions in the recording?
  • Could this be the beginning of a longer-term professional relationship and business outsourcing solution for me?

A Freelancer Contest?

I decided to post a contest on with a detailed list of highlights and suggested edits for the video.

I wasn't sure whether the performance could be presented convincingly enough with just the two cameras, and the interruption, whilst maintaining the focus on the song and the quality of the audio and video.

But I figured that the only way to find out was to open it up to the crowdsourced market of ideas and talent that Freelancer offers.

Fingers crossed...

Let The Contest Begin...

The first few entries came in and some good editing ideas entered the mix. I would check the contest constantly, trying to make sure that I could give as much constructive feedback as possible and give everyone the best chance of producing the best edit possible.

After much toing and froing, and different entries taking the top spot, one particular entry came to the fore.

Ultimately, it would be the balance of well-timed, eye-catching effects with a respect for the song and the delivery from each musician that would seal the deal.

I chose the entry from freelancer ReeSee and within hours I had my full-quality video files on my hard drive.

So with that problem solved and a long-term professional partnership on the cards, it was a case of solve one and get another: I now need to get the video the online promotion that it deserves.

I wonder if Freelancer could have the answer again...

Posted 24 June, 2017

Kieran Gilchrist

Guitarist, Teacher, Sound Engineer, Music Research

Independent world music genre researcher, guitar teacher and course creator, performer, audio engineer and producer. - Guitar Performance Transcription - Guitar Course Creation - Bespoke Guitar Backing Track Creation - Guitar Chord Diagram Production - Interactive Music Notation Module Embedding - TEFL English Quiz / Course Creation

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