CUBA 50 Celebrating Cuban Culture  /  July 2018

All the latest cultural news from Cuba and events coming up around the UK


How important is dancing together in Cuba?

“For Cubans, dancing is at the heart of their cultural identity." Dancers in Cuba were put under the spotlight by BBC World Service CrowdScience team recently to find out why humans like to dance and just how deeply rooted dance is in Cuban society.

Listen to the radio programme and watch the video trailer.


Havana close to 500 years old 

With less than 500 days to go to the 500th anniversary of Havana, more plans for improvements to the city have been announced.
"Havana is the city of teachers, of those who went out to fulfill the mission of the literacy campaign and returned with the most precious prize in their hands. It is the city, moreover, of music, of poetry, of literature, of circles of thought, the city that does not have to be ashamed of anything. It is the city that saw the birth of thought," said city historian, Eusebio Leal.


"where you least imagine it, there is a good story in Cuba"

Cuban director Raquel Gonzalez is interviewed as the second drama series of ‘Of Loves and Hopes’ begins on Cuban TV this month.  Based in a collective law firm, it combines the drama of human conflict and dilemmas with an educational edge, as it explores family rights, sexism, racism and domestic violence.


Young voices in film: combining play and learning 

A children and young people's filmmaking project in Gibara near Holguin carries on the legacy and dream of the late director Humberto Solas by passing on the skills to the youngest members of society to give them a voice to explore the issues in their local community. They presented their work at the Gibara international film festival this month.


Watch new Havana Cultura mini documentary on their latest music project Subelo, Cuba!

The beautifully shot film profiles the artists including Cuban DJ Jigüe, whose Guampara label has charted new directions for Cuban music, and his network of collaborators, connecting Afro-Cuban traditions with contemporary movements and ideas. UK DJ Gilles Peterson's Brownswood label and Havana Cultura released the album Subelo, Cuba! this June.


Cuban coffee - ground or beans

Try 100% Cuban coffee, beans or ground, direct from the Escambray mountains in central Cuba.
Strong high quality coffee with very low acidity. 





Congratulations to all the Cuban musicians, and those dedicated to performing and developing Cuban music in the UK amongst the winners and runners up for Lukas Awards this year including Omar Puente, Wara, London Lucumi Choir, Cuban Combination, Sara McGuinness and well done to all those nominated. Awards on 9 Aug.


AfroSalsa Festival

21-22 July, Cambridge

Annual weekender with great teachers and performers including Cubans Yasmaray Chacon Aspirina and Damarys Farres plus live Cuban music from Rene Alvarez and his band.



Tues 24 July, Sat 28 July, London

BFI Screenings of short documentaries by Agnes Varda about her fascination with photography including the classic Salut les cubains (1963), narrated by Michel Piccoli, featuring images Varda shot on her 1963 visit to Cuba.


Documenting Black Perspectives on Cuban Revolution, 

Thu 26 July, London

Screening and discussion of Afro-Cuban Filmmakers’ documentaries on the 65th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada barracks, as precursor to the Cuban revolution of 1959. Laura Lomas will be in conversation with Pedro Pérez-Sarduy, London-based Cuban writer and journalist and Conrad James, scholar of Caribbean culture, University of Birmingham.


Cinecuba screening: Clandestinos, 

Mon 30 July, London

Free screening of 1987 feature film  by Cuban director Fernando Perez set pre-1959 in the last days of revolutionary struggle against Batista and a love story of two clandestine fighters who work printing subversive pamphlets.


Prom 23: Havana Meets Kingston

31 July, 3 August, TV

Drawing from the styles of roots reggae, dub and dancehall on the one hand and son, salsa, rumba and Afro-Cuban on the other, this project brings together top musicians from Jamaica and Cuba, including female percussionist Brenda Navarrete. Live at the BBC Prom, London 31 July, then broadcast on BBC Four Friday 3 August.


Carmen La Cubana
1-18 August, London

Set against the backdrop of the revolution in Cuba, 1958 , Carmen La Cubana explodes onto the Sadler’s Wells stage this August in a cocktail of Cuban flavour. Mixing opera, salsa, mambo, rumba and cha-cha-cha, and including musical favourites such as Habanero, this sizzling new musical is the perfect summer treat.


Roberto Fonseca Trio
4 - 5 August, London

Ubertalented Cuban jazz pianist, Fonseca is part of a generation of musicians who feel that all sounds from all countries are accessible to them, either in acoustic, electric or digitised form. Accompanied by Ruly Hernández on drums and Yandy Martínez on bass it’s impossible to sit still when Fonseca’s trio takes off.


Sambroso AllStars present The Buena Vista
Sun 23 September, London

Is there a more iconic Cuban album than Buena Vista Social Club’s eponymous debut? Winning the Grammy for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album, it remains a high watermark not just for Cuban music but world music as a whole. Sambroso Noda brings together a bonafide ‘all star’ group of Cuban musicians who will pay their own unique and loving tribute to the landmark album.


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