Traveller Gareth Richards has just returned from our Songlines Music Travel trip to Cuba for the New Year and has been kind enough to share his photos and experience with us.
Just back from the Songlines Cuba trip, my second trip with Songlines – I went to Mali last year. It was a great way to see Cuba and experience its music. Most days we linked up with musicians in the afternoon and then went out to venues in the evening to see live sets. Some particular highlights:
- We were hosted by Pablo Menendez of Mezcla at his home in Havana, where we got an introduction to Cuban music and to life as a musician in Cuba.
- New Year was celebrated at our hotel in Havana where the band of the late Arsenio Rodríguez performed along with an excellent dance show. We even had a display of synchronised swimming in the hotel pool!
- We met a young Cuban rapper who came with us to see a show by the excellent Septeto Santiaguero at the Casa de la Trova in Santiago de Cuba.
- We saw Guasimal, a rootsy band featuring percussion and accordion, on the outskirts of Manzanillo.
- We visited the Cabildo de los Congos Reales de San Antonio in Trinidad, where we learned about Santería and about how strands of African culture survive in Cuba long after the end of slavery.
- Then there was Azucar Negra in Havana, Los Soneros de Canacho in Camagüey, Septeto Caribe Son in Trinidad, and many others!
All in all, a fabulous way to spend a couple of weeks.
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