CUBA 50 Celebrating Cuban Culture  /  June 2019

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


Win a ticket to Cuban All Stars Salsa Festival this August

Want to learn to dance Cuban style at the seaside this summer?

Enter the draw to win a ticket to Cuba AllStars Salsa Festival in Bournemouth, hosted by Salsa Explosion. From son to Casino Cuban salsa style, rumba to orishas, with great teachers including Cubans Enrique Perez, Damarys Farres and Juan Carlos Pacheco and for all levels plus DJs and dance performances. Details how to enter and more about the festival here.


What's happening in Cuban music on the island: find out the winners of the Cubadisco awards + videos

The homegrown Cuban music industry is young, able to develop and reinvent itself. Find out the winners and nominees of the industry awards Cubadisco this May in Havana, with videos.  The overwhelming factor this year was the youth of artists and performers. "There is a lot of talent at stake; the awards are just the tip of the iceberg" said Cubadisco awards president, Jorge Gomez.


How does Cuba support its young artists?

How are young emerging artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, musicians, poets, cultural promoters and makers supported in Cuba to achieve their potential? The president of Cuban youth cultural network AHS was in the US to explain how young creators across the island in urban and rural areas are supported in their development through competitions, grants and training.


Miami Commission seeks to stop cultural exchange with Cuba

The tightening of the US blockade of Cuba affects culture too. Last week the Miami city Commission passed a resolution to ask US congress to veto recruitment of Cuban artists aiming to stop cultural exchanges with Cuba. It also urges other US states and local governments to ban recruitment of Cuban singers and artists from the island.


The Founding of Havana declared World Heritage

In the year of the 500th anniversary of Havana UNESCO has just declared the actual founding as World Heritage The documents are held in a specially built repository in Old Havana, amongst the picturesque plazas and historic buildings which have been systemically restored over the last 25 years, under the guidance of City Historian Eusebio Leal. 


Watch the video by Cuban hiphop royalty Telmary & HabanaSana based on the famous poem by National Poet Jose Marti ' Yo soy un hombre sincero' from 'Versos Sencillos' with the great line: "I am from everywhere and I travel everywhere"


Buy Cuban coffee, honey, chocolate 

Fresh and rich Crystal Mountain coffee, beans and ground, direct from the Escambray mountains of central Cuba, delicious honey from Matanzas and much more




Havana D'Primera at London SalsaFest,

Sat 22 June, London + Sun 23 June, Edinburgh

London weekender of Cuban dance workshops with 2 major live music shows including Cuban salsa timba big band Alexander Abreu & Havana D’Primera on Sat 22 June at London SalsaFest. Then Havana D'Primera will perform in Edinburgh on Sun 23 June.


Doc screening: Bakosó: Afrobeats of Cuba, Sat 13 July, London

Documentary by US director Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi follows Cuban DJ Jigue back o his hometown Santiago de Cuba to explore the origins of the Afrobeats/Cuban fusion genre bakoso invented by African medical students studying in the city. 


DJ Jigue at VAMOS! festival, Sat 13 July, Newcastle

As part of VAMOS Latin American festival in the North East – this free party features a headline set from DJ Jigue direct from Havana, with his self described ‘Afrofuturist Tropical’ style. Jigue is joined on the night by percussionist El Menor. Also at Love Carnival in London on 6 July.


Son Yambu at VAMOS! LEEDS 5, Sun 21 July, Leeds

Festival of live music and community arts celebrating Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures curated by DJ Lubi Jovanovich features UK-based Son Yambu who bring their Cuban son and salsa vibes to Leeds.


Omara Portuondo: Omara Es Cuba – El Último Beso,

Sat 28 July, London

With an artistic career spanning decades, Omara Portuondo is renowned for popularising Cuban music across the world. For one night only she will showcase some of her finest musical work. Her gestures match her vast vocal range, inherited from the ‘filin’ way of singing which mixes traditional bolero with American-influenced blues. She will be joined by superb Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca.


Charanga del Norte,

28 July, Huddersfield

Charanga del Norte, led by bandleader Sue Miller who studied flute improvisation with legendary Cuban musician Richard Egues from Oruesta Aragon, have been bringing wonderful Cuban charanga music to Britain for the last 20 years.


Rene Alvarez
& Cuban Combination at La Clave Fest,

Sat 3 August, London

Cuban Rene Alvarez leads this explosive 18 piece salsa big band, which was voted Best Tropical Act at the Lukas Awards last year in London, and headlines at this London festival of Latin American music and arts.


Havana After Dark,

5-25 August, Edinburgh

A new Cuban dance musical for hot summer nights. Starring singer Luna Manzanares, live salsa band, dancers from Acosta Danza, Ballet Nacional de Cuba and Ballet Revolucion, mixing ballet and salsa.


AcostaDanza: Evolution
11-12 November, Birmingham,
18-23 November, London

With its mix of ballet and contemporary dance, Carlos Acosta’s Cuban company brings a new programme, in which Acosta himself makes a guest appearance, which includes Paysage, Soudain, la nuit by visionary Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg; the iconic Rooster, choreographed by Christopher Bruce to music by The Rolling Stones; and a new work, Satori, by breakthrough Cuban choreographer Raúl Reinoso.


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