Estefans bring Rhythm to Dubai fest



DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- From mambo to conga, the sounds of Cuba helped spice up the Dubai International Film Festival on Tuesday as the inaugural Rhythm & Reels sidebar kicked off with the help of a music power couple.

In a wide-ranging press conference to discuss their Rhythm & Reels entry "90 Millas el Documental" (90 Miles the Documentary), director Emilio Estefan and wife Gloria -- who appears in the film -- stressed how proud they are to be bringing Latin music to the Middle East thanks to DIFF.

The film chronicles the evolution of the Cuban sound and features key practitioners of the genre, including Jose Feliciano, Carlos Santana and Arturo Sandoval.

"Latin music and Middle Eastern music share the same kind of passion," said Emilio, who added that the film is "a tribute to my Latin heritage."

Gloria, who will perform for the first time in the Middle East after the film's outdoor screening at Dubai Media City Amphitheater on Thursday, repeatedly stressed how the 30-year bond between her and Emilio has enriched both her life and music.

"Music was a hobby that turned into a career because we met. I have a fantastic partner. He was my first and only boyfriend so it seemed like it was meant to be," she said, before generating laughter when she quipped, "he got a good deal."