CUBA 50 Celebrating Cuban Culture  /  January 2019

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


10 songs for Havana

Throughout 2019 Cuba celebrates 60 years of revolution but also the capital city Havana will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of its foundation. The city has fascinated many artists and writers and especially it has inspired musicians. Listen here to 10 popular Cuban songs,  from Gerardo Alfonso to Silvio Rodriguez to Los Van Van, about the city.


Roundup of new Cuban films in 2018 and what's coming up in 2019 (plus trailers)

With themes of friendship and solidarity across divides, Why do my friends cry and Sergio & Sergei have been big hits in Cuba in 2018. 2019 films coming up look to historical events to inspire and tell humanistic stories of transgression, individual courage and decolonisation, including Fernando Perez's 'Insumisas' pictured above. 


Dreaming Big: Carlos Acosta on biopic 'Yuli'

'Yuli' tells the story how the young man from Cuba become not only the Royal Ballet's first black Romeo but also one of the world's most famous dancers. It goes on release in the UK from February/March. Carlos Acosta, who has now been nominated for a Goya award for his performance in the film, is interviewed here about his big visions for the film, his new company and for fellow Cubans.


CIMAFUNK at the top: interview 

Cimafunk has exploded on the Cuban music scene in the last year picking up accolades including the Lucas award for most popular music video clip of the year with his track 'Me Voy'.  The talented force behind Cimafunk and the man up front is interviewed here about the concept, his eclectic music influences and ideas on recycling


Havana historian Eusebio Leal Spengler made Honorary Associate of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects has announced Dr Eusebio Leal Spengler is to be made Honorary Associate, an annual award given to people who" have expanded architecture in its broadest sense: its promotion, administration and scope".  Leal Spengler has led the restoration and renovation of old Havana over the last 10 years.


Play for Cuba appeal

PLAY  FOR CUBA is a collective project to gather together new and secondhand musical instruments and equipment to send in a container to Cuba in April this year, for use by children and young people, to counter shortages caused by the blockade against the island. You can donate instruments or funds for new instruments or for transport costs. There is a fundraiser in London on 27 January - see below for details. Read more about the project here.


Find out more: Buy books,poetry, fiction, music, films from Cuba

Order online books about and by Cuban writers, history and fiction, contemporary poetry, classic feature films from Cuba, documentaries, CDs of Cuban salsa, son, cha cha cha, jazz, hip hop and fusion, old and new.





Check out our list of Cuban dance classes on offer around the country, including by Cuban dance teachers. All offer Cuban style salsa but many also offer Son, rueda de casino,  Afro-Cuban dances, rumba, reggueton and more. From drop in classes to 8 week structured courses, plus masterclasses.  Regular dance nights with DJs and live bands to whole weekenders where you can really get deep into perfecting your moves and style or learn a whole new Cuban dance form. Learn to dance Cuban style in 2019!


Best of Cuba: Luanda Pau & Gerardo de Armas y su Rumbache

Sat 19 January, London

An irresistible mix of live rumba and Afro Cuban music from Rumbache with dance class led by Cuban choreographer Luanda Pau and Cuban DJ Javier La Maquina de Cuba supporting the night with a mix of salsa, timba Cubana, reggaeton, latin hip hop and R&B tunes.


Viva Cuba! Live Cuban bands every friday, London

Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club continues to host Viva Cuba! every friday night with a selection of UK based Cuban bands and DJs. 18 Jan - Javier Camilo, 25th Son Yambu, 1 Feb - Jesus Cutino (above), 8 Feb - Sarabanda. Check venue for up to date programme. 


Art: Ana Mendieta works in Still I Rise 

until 27 January, Nottingham

Catch some of the works of the late artists Ana Mendieta in this group show of Feminisms, Gender and Resistance.  Working from the early 1970s through to the mid-1980s, Mendieta pioneered themes such as displacement, identity politics and the female body. The exihibition moves to Bexhill on Sea on 9 February.


Play for Cuba presents: The NJE + Omar Puente + Ahmed Dickinson

Sat 27 January, London

Play for Cuba benefit concert raising funds to send musical instruments to Cuba. From funky sax from The Near Jazz Experience to Cuban jazz from Omar and contemporary Cuban acoustic guitar from Ahmed, it will be a fun, eclectic night. Get a discounted ticket if you take an instrument along to donate!


CineCuba screening: Maestra

Mon 28 January, London

The 1961 Cuban Literacy Campaign dramatically changed Cuba’s literacy levels in one year, with over 100,000 volunteers, over half of who were women, teaching in rural areas of Cuba. Catch this brilliant documentary featuring some of the women who participated in that amazing national cultural project.


Sambroso All Stars,

Wed 6 February, Leeds

Sambroso Noda, the beating heart of London’s Cuban community and flourishing music scene, has whipped up a bonafide ‘all star’ group of Cuban musicians who will pay their own unique and loving tribute to the landmark album of Buena Vista Social Club.


Winter AfroSalsa Festival: 

16-17 February, Cambridge

More than 10 hours of dance workshops including salsa and AfroCuban at all levels with Cuban teachers including Luanda Pau and others plus parties and live band Son Guaranchando on Saturday night.


Afro Cuban All Stars
4-5 March, London

Led by Juan de Marcos González, the Afro-Cuban All Stars features mainstays of the Havana music scene, alongside a younger generation. In a rare London appearance, they perform songs old and new, as music from the golden era of Cuban music is revived and refreshed with the incorporation of contemporary sounds and rhythms.


Cuba50 c/o CSC, 33-37 Moreland St • London, London EC1V 8BB • United Kingdom • Click here to unsubscribe.