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Upcoming trip: Havana’s Jazz Plaza Festival, January 2018!

Coming up next January, visit Cuba for the annual Jazz Plaza festival! That’s Havana’s biggest jazz event of the year. Last year’s festival was hosted by Chucho Vald├ęs and featured such luminaries as Omara Portuondo, Christian McBride, and Terence Blanchard. (video below!)

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A Perfect Day at the Bay of Matanzas, Cuba

So last month I took a group of four to the Bay of Matanzas. We were hosted by a band I’m friendly with and their families, who threw us a big pig roast! It was their idea, and I gave them free rein. That’s a little risky, just because none of us knew exactly how it would go – but the risk paid off. One…

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Clouds bright with the colors of sunset

A visit to rural Cuba

Dayron is a friend of mine from the province of Matanzas, Cuba. He’s a musician and used to belong to Quinteto Cubanacan before joining a new band closer to home. In fact, in the first video at that link, Dayron’s the one playing guitar. Nice guy. (Scroll to the bottom for a video of him playing and singing.) Dayron invited me to visit, as he…

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Older man playing a lute

Quinteto Cubanacan and music of rural Cuba

So I’ve mentioned that I tend to connect with musicians in Cuba – often by singing with them. One of my favorite groups is the Cubanacan Quintet, a group of guys from rural Cuba. If you ever travel with me through central Cuba, there’s a good chance you’ll see them… because I pull strings to cross paths with them whenever I can. I first took…

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Singing my way across Cuba

I can sing. I’m not a rock star – but I’m decent enough to play around. I’ve made friends with a number of GGG musicians in Cuba. Once I let on that I know some Cuban songs, we get to singing, and it’s all downhill from there! Whenever they see me coming, they know I’ll join them for a song or two. This helps make…

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Havana does Rent

I just caught part of the Havana production of Rent. I arrived late and left early – the life of a busy tour operator! – but I did catch a lot of it. And I was delighted to catch 525,600 minutos – my favorite song from the show. I used my phone to record the audio. Here it is, in all its bootleg glory: I…

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