Music Travel | Join us and welcome in the New Year in Cuba

Posted on October 24th, 2014 in Music Travel, News, Recent posts by .


Philip Sweeney is looking forward to his next Songlines Music Travel trip to the musical mecca that is Cuba

Oh my God, only 60 shopping days to Cuban New Year! I’m sipping a glass of ultra rare Pinilla rum while finishing my review of the excellent new Abelardo Barroso CD a mere ten days late, when a despatch arrives from Songlines Strategic Planning Directorate reminding me peremptorily that the next Cuba tour is a little over two months away and I’d better make sure this one is even better than the last, or I’ll find myself leading tours to the Songlines broom cupboard, as office cleaner. Well as it happens, I’m completely confident: it’ll be another cracker. Still a work in progress, obviously. The key to these tours, all of which are individually planned down to the last daiquiri, is to monitor events through a network of the best insider contacts available and then pounce at the precise moment the perfect gig, musician meeting or studio visit presents itself. This is then added to a skeleton itinerary meticulously planned for a comprehensive tour through the island and its varied musical styles.

For January 2015 I’m reviewing and strengthening the Buena Vista content.  Why? Because BVSC have recently announced their final ‘Adios’ tour, and an era is coming to an end. Or is it? Songlines has followed the BVSC story from the beginning, and indeed is stirring up Buena Vista controversy in a forthcoming issue [read the Cuban music debate in the next issue, out December 5]. Songlines music travellers have met many of the BVSC artists while in Cuba: a few of them have even played Rubén Gonzalez’ piano in the legendary EGREM studios. There are plenty of survivors from the original Buena Vista caste and new generation members to get to know today. The late Compay Segundo’s current group, for example, is on absolutely red hot form, the only outfit on the island deploying twin clarinets to such funky effect, and we’ll not just see them perform live but meet them too to find out the story in depth. And for those smart Alejandros for whom BVSC is a touch old-fashioned, we’ll also meet the best young movers and shakers on the scene in Havana, Santiago, Trinidad.

For more information about Philip Sweeney’s New Year tour to Cuba (December 29 to January 12 2015), call 01992 579697 or email

Find out more about all our music trips at

A clip from Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club documentary:

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