Santiago de Cuba



Santiago de Cuba
In co-operation with
Santiago de Cuba
Carnival, July 21-29
Havana Changes for
the Better
Gilles Peterson’s
love affair with Cuba
Santiago de cuba
Havana Guide
Restaurants — Bars & Clubs — Accommodation
by Nicolas Ordoñez
With a Passion for Cuba
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Cuartel Moncada
Museum-scool, Santiago de Cuba
Photo by Alex Mene
Cover picture by Alex Mene. A Santiaguero
plays the Chinese horn at the 2013 Santiago
de Cuba Carnival
July in Havana sees the thermometer rise and the pace of life slow down. Those poor unfortunates
who come from overseas dressed up in their finest Hugo Boss suits soon appreciate the futility of
keeping up appearances as the humidity envelops the capital in its warm and sticky embrace. You
can’t run and hide from the heat so we recommend that you go the other way—embrace it, make it
your friend, your companion, your energy source.
Where better to do this than Santiago de Cuba? Nearly 800km to the east, Cuba’s second city makes
Havana seem cool by comparison. July sees this city of music and dance come to life first with the
Festival del Caribe, Fiesta del Fuego, July 3-9 and then with Cuba’s best carnival, July 21-29. This
is the cradle of the Revolution, which is celebrated on July 26 for the anniversary of the attack on
In keeping with Santiago’s musical heritage, we have included articles on Manolito Simonet and
José Luis Cortés, “ElTosco.” Both born in the middle of the country, Camagüey and Santa Clara,
respectively, neither needs an introduction being amongst the most well-known and popular Cuban
musicians. Rounding out this section, we also feature Gilles Peterson, a renowned British DJ who
has maintained a love affair with Cuban music for many years and is currently helping a new wave
of Cuban musicians.
Thanks to Conner Gorry for her take on what she likes about the new Havana and if you haven’t yet
do check out Legendarios del Guajirito, a superb Buena Vista-style show in the heart of Old Havana.
Our Havana Listings is chock-full of art, dance, music and theatre. Don’t miss the Ballet Nacional
de Cuba performing with guest dancers from the National Ballet of China, June 24-26 and Retazos’s
Posible imposible July 11-12.
Do check out our expanded Havana Guide, which is growing to accommodate the new bars,
restaurants and casas particulares that continue to spring forth adding vitality and energy to
Havana’s entertainment and hospitality scene.
July 2014 Highlights (Havana, unless stated)
Festival del Caribe, Fiesta del Fuego, July 3-9
Santiago de Cuba Carnival, July 21-29
July 26: Anniversary of the attack on Moncada
Festival Nacional del Humor Aquelarre, July 6-13
Thanks to all of our contributors, sponsors, partners and readers. Do please keep providing us with
your feedback, comments and suggestions. All enquiries should be directed to Sophia Beckman at
[email protected] All the best. Viva Cuba!
july 2014
[santiago de Cuba]
Photo by Humberto Mayol
Santiago de Cuba Carnival p7
July 21-29
Havana Changes for the Better p10
by Conner Gorry
Gilles Peterson’s love affair with Cuba p13
Manolito Simonet p16
José Luis Cortés: El Tosco p18
Visual Arts p21 — Photography p23 — Dance p24 —
Music p25 — Theatre p32 — For Kids p33
Festival Nacional del Humor Aquelarre, July 6-13 p34
around cuba
July 26: A revolutionary day p40
Santiago de Cuba – An introduction p47
Highlights around Santiago de Cuba p50
Festival del Caribe, Fiesta del Fuego p53
July 3-9
Havana Style
Legendarios del Guajirito p56
A love affair with the Cuban circus p59
by Margaret Atkins
Havana Guide
Features — Restaurants — Bars & Clubs — Live Music —
Hotels — Private Accommodation p66
Not to miss during July 2014
June 30
A day of rest and
relaxation—smoke a
Big Fat One and take
the day off.
Semana de Salsa
Varadero Baila 2014
Monday night—go
traditional bar
hopping: Bodeguita
del Medio, Floridita,
Sloppy Joe’s.
Santiago de Cuba
Carnival, July 21-29
Enjoy Cuba’s richest
cuisine at the divine
Iván Chef Justo.
XI Festival
Internacional de
Coros Corhabana
Enjoy Varadero’s
Girl’s night out—El
beautiful beaches and Cocinero, Up &
warm waters—take
Down, Sangri-La
the heat out of your
day while waiting
for your next dance
Get a beer or six at
Havana’s best new
brewery: Cervecería
Antiguo Almacén
de la Madera y el
Enjoy the finale of
Santiago de Cuba’s
iconic carnival.
July 1-5, 2014
July 7-12, 2014
Qva Libre @ Café
Arte en Patineta.
Cantante Mi Habana, An exhibition of the
23 y G Project led
by Miles Jackson,
CubaSkate founder
and executive
director @ Casa de
las Américas
Matinee night at
Café Cantante Mi
Habana, from 6pm.
Festival del Caribe,
Fiesta del Fuego,
July 3-9, Santiago de
Dinner at Santy,
Jaimanitas’s off-thebeaten track world
class sushi restaurant.
Dinner at La
Guarida Havana’s
legendary restaurant
located in Centro
National Ballet of
Cuba and National
Ballet of China,
Teatro Nacional de
Cuba. July 24-26,
Enjoy Havana’s best
matinee at Delirio
Habanero (above
Casa de la Música,
Fiestón Ciudad del
Posible imposible,
Danza Teatro
Retazos, Las
Carolinas, July 11-12,
José Luis Cortés y
NG La Banda, Casa
de la Música de
Memorias del
Surrealismo, Museo
Nacional, de Bellas
Artes, opens July 24
Dinner at Mr Miglis’s
Swedish-Cuban fusion
oasis of good food
and style in Centro
Cecilia Valdés,
Sala Avellaneda,
Teatro Nacional, Sat.
July 12, 7pm & Sun
July 13, 5pm
El tío Vania,
Argos Teatro /
Directed by Carlos
Fri & Sat, 8pm; Sun,
July 26:
Anniversary of the
attack on Moncada
Do some shopping
at Alas de Hilo
for beautiful
La Máquina de la
Melancolía, with
Frank Delgado and
Luis Alberto García
@ El Sauce, 5pm
July 4-6, Cienfuegos
Dinner at El Litoral,
one of Havana’s best
new restaurants—
July 1-August 31, 2014
watch life pass by on
Feria de Arte en La
Festival Nacional del Beach day—Playas
Humor Aquelarre,
del Este to build
July 6-13
followed by pizza at
Piccolo in Guanabo
Escaleras al Cielo
LGBTI night, from
.com With a passion for Cuba
With a Passion for Cuba
what’s on havana
Carnaval de
Santiago de Cuba
.com With a passion for Cuba
July 21-29, 2013
Santiago de Cuba
Photos Alex Mene
The origins of the Santiago Carnival go back to the
end of the seventeenth century when processions
would wind their way through the city streets
celebrating the feast day of Santiago (St. James in
English), the Patron Saint of the city. During the
colonial period, the Spanish authorities granted
permission to the black slaves to have their
festivities on the Epiphany, putting on their typical
music and dances. At the end of the nineteenth
century the festivities were extended to the months
of June and July in order to celebrate the patron
saint days for St. John (June 24), St. Christina (July
24), St. James (July 25), St. Anne (July 26) and St.
Peter (June 29). At the beginning of the twentieth
century, parading comparsas would represent the
different neighborhoods; this tradition is still alive,
just like the dances held in the main areas of the
The carnivals have always given the people of
Santiago a means to release tension, to put aside
their worries and dance to the rhythm of conga
music. This year, like every year, locals and visitors
will keep up the tradition and pour onto the streets
in what is considered the most colorful carnival in
Cuba. This is one of the most important cultural
events in the city: many of its participants spend
the whole year preparing their routines for the
event. And don’t worry, it’s a family event. The
entire family will either participate in the parade
or at least help make costumes or embellish floats.
One way or another, everyone will do their bit.
(neighborhood dance groups whose choreographies
are generally related to Caribbean traditions and
the daily life of the people of Santiago) and the
processions of decorated floats that will parade, as
usual, mainly down Avenida Garzón, where a jury
will choose the best. The conga lines are perhaps
the most popular element of the carnival, but they
are meant to join, not watch.
Right at the end of the procession, mamarrachos
(characters in flamboyant, colorful costumes),
muñecones (huge papier mache figures) and
enmascarados (men and women wearing elaborate
masks), accompanied by parranderos who with
their drums, congas, rattles, catchy choruses and
cornetas chinas liven up the event—if that is even
possible. Inserted into carnivals as early as 1916, the
corneta china, or Chinese horn, was introduced in
Cuba by Chinese immigrants, adding another layer
to the festivities.
In recent years, the festivity has extended to
other open areas in the city where live music with
son, salsa, merengue as well as rock, pop, and
disco will be played by the most popular bands
.com With a passion for Cuba
of the moment. Free of all commercialization,
the Santiago Carnival is truly an opportunity to
celebrate this nation’s unique history and culture
in a riot of rhythms, drumming and color.
Although many Cuban towns hold their own
carnivals, none attracts the crowds of the Santiago
Carnival, so don’t miss out as the whole city moves
to the rhythm of conga lines, the sound of the
corneta china, drums, congas and French drums as
well as pots and pans turned into unconventional
percussion instruments, which lead dancing
crowds down the steep roads of Santiago de Cuba.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
.com With a passion for Cuba
Havana Changes for the Better
by Conner Gorry
El Cocinero
Photos by Alex Mene
I’m going through a sort of Marriage Encounter
phase with my adopted city, whereby my
enchantment or something similar, is being
rejuvenated. This is taking a conscious effort, I’ll
admit, but also seems to be occurring naturally, for
which I’m grateful/ If you sense that I’m adverse
to change, I am – when that change is inequitable,
disquieting, violently +/or stressfully attained or
more bad than good. And I’m quite clear that I
need to embrace Cuba’s changing socio-economic
landscape in a positive, proactive way. Those of
us who don’t are doomed – to angst, bitterness,
depression, anxiety, addiction, denial and other
not-so-desirable states.
The long and short of it? I’m trying to love the new
Havana even as foreigners move here in droves,
rush hour traffic worsens, and the unfortunate
combination of wealth and bad taste conspire
to give the city a flavor that’s starting to feel like
Hialeah. So I don’t get swept away by the black
cloud called Progress, I dedicate this post to the
great things about our economic renewal.
Late night noshing
Used to be that if hunger struck at midnight, you
were shit out of luck. Just a few years ago, dinner
after 11 would inevitably mean a microwaved
package of overcooked El Rápido spaghetti with
watery tomato sauce or some dry on the outside,
pasty on the inside croquettes at Ditu. News flash:
those days are as long gone as Alicia Alonso’s
eyesight. In today’s wee hours, you can choose
from Swedish, Russian, KFC-type fried chicken (our
crispy coating, however, is made with plantains
and officials put the kibosh on the drive-thru
window), sushi, pizza (delivered to your door in
under 30 minutes or it’s free), Mexican, tapas, and
my personal favorite: old fashioned comida criolla.
I get that extended hours, KFC wannabes and
delivery pizza may not be your idea of innovation
and I mostly concur. However, the Cuban in me
says ‘sushi?! Now that’s progress.’ Plus, there are
rumblings of some real foodie inroads being made,
including vegetarian cajitas (little boxed meals
for a buck or two), protein/veggie shake shacks
and various permaculture projects. Now if only
the concept of Sunday brunch with Bloody Marys
would catch on…
Ice cream, you scream, we all…
To say Cubans are fond of sweets is like saying
Warren Buffet is well off. You need only look at
the rapid proliferation of bakeries (some quite
good) as testament. Or the line at Coppelia. As an
ice cream fanatic myself, I’ve braved that colossal
line – regularly running to an hour or more in
the summer – many a time. Following on this
delicious tradition is the recent emergence of
several outstanding heladerias wholly (or partially)
privately-owned and -operated.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 10
I’d heard about the new ice cream place next to El
Palenque, but it took a while to jinetear a ride all the
way out there to the upper class suburbs to give it
a try. Once I stepped into the cool, air-conditioned
parlor with ice cream cone chairs and 25 different
flavors – hazelnut! tiramisu! pistachio! – I knew I’d
found my temple. It’s a state-Italian venture as far
as I can tell and a hell of an addition to Havana’s
gastronomical scene. The same can be said for the
spiffy new ice cream place on Calle 84 near 5ta B
in Miramar. Creamy, dense, in all sort of assorted
flavors – this is what folks tell me Coppelia was like
back in the day. One recommendation: someone
should open these types of parlors ‘for the hoi
polloi,’ closer to the more densely populated (and
less affluent for the most part) barrios of Marianao,
Centro Habana, Lawton, etc. Even though the stuff
is wicked expensive at 1 CUC a scoop, Cubans will
always find a way to finance their sweet teeth.
At your service
It’s amazing how many new, small private
businesses are providing one service or another.
Your Samsung Galaxy not receiving messages?
Need your bikini line (or back or upper lip) waxed?
I can hip you to half a dozen places within a mile
of here to fix you up. Car need a wash? Maybe
your dog does. Or perhaps you’re too uncertain
or mono-lingual to make that casa reservation in
Santiago de Cuba. No problem: in the “new” Havana
someone will do it for you – for a fee of course.
Today, you can get your iPhone unlocked, your
navel pierced, Botox injections (this is actually a
state enterprise; I don’t know if private individuals
are also doing it, though I wouldn’t doubt it) and
many more services we never dreamed of a decade
ago. Having such services available bestows a
sorely needed veneer of normalcy and efficiency
on our corner of the world.
Furthermore, the possibilities provided by the 200
and something authorized economic activities give
people breathing room, broaden their horizons,
and help loosen the (real or perceived) noose of
control that many Cubans feel outside or inside
forces exert over their lives. This liberty, for lack
of a better word, has taught a lot of people, fast,
the meaning of hard work, which my proletarian
background obligates me to view, always, as a
good thing. It’s empowering and for the first time,
Cubans are getting a sense of individual agency (as
opposed to agency as a nation). It’s refreshing. Now
however, the trick is to turn all these touchy-feely
intangibles into something good and sustainable
and not just a mechanism for making money on
the backs of their/our/your neighbors.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
Touchy-feely intangibles
Some of the positive aspects being felt after three
years of economic updating are unquantifiable and
quite possibly ephemeral (depending on what the
future holds). However, in the right now, relaxing
restrictions and regulations has unleashed a torrent
of pent-up creativity, which is exciting. More
importantly, it gives people the space to dream, to
put their ideas into practice and test their mettle.
Conner Gorry is one of the most insightful writers about Cuba. Author of Here is Havana blog
(, she also puts together the Havana Good Time iPad/
Phone/Touch application
(Android version) - essential guide to
What’s On in Havana.
.com With a passion for Cuba
US$ 2.99
Free updates
for life
Havana Good Time
Discover Havana on your iPhone, iPad and
Android, for the price of a mojito! Written
by resident author and travel expert,
Conner Gorry, Havana Good Time is:
Fully functional in Cuba
without internet connection
Top rates in iTunes
Scrupulously researched
and continually updated
Packed with the hottest new
clubs, bars and paladars
About the Author
Travel writer, essayist, and journalist Conner Gorry first landed in
Havana in 1993. Conner has traveled the length and breadth of Cuba
writing on everything from wild camping to disaster medicine,
5-cent cigars and funerals.
Photo Yadira Montero
Gilles Peterson’s
Love Affair with Cuba
by Margaret Atkins
The first thing that caught my attention were
his restless blue eyes which examined me briefly
before the required greetings. Without delay,
I started bombarding him with questions. His
answers came unhurriedly yet in a steady flow. It
looked like rain, but happily the sky cleared up.
And so, in the cool courtyard of Abdala Studios, on
the last recording day of the third chapter of his
love affair with Cuba, I met Gilles Peterson.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
in 1997, with the Talking Loud label. The roster of
his third label, Brownswood Recordings, launched
in 2006, includes British singer/songwriter
Ben Westbeech, 45 piece live act The Heritage
Orchestra, Japanese punk jazz band Soil & “Pimp”
Sessions, Brooklyn based pianist Elan Mehler; jazz
Someone once said that calling Gilles Peterson a
DJ was like saying that Usain Bolt goes jogging.
Besides performing in the best clubs in London and
the world; besides hosting music shows for major
radio stations like the BBC and Kiss FM; besides
maintaining and constantly expanding his record
collection (his former North London home now
serves as a warehouse for his immense collection
of vinyl records), Peterson has a special knack for
spotting artists, launching careers, and seeing and
hearing what others don’t see or hear at all.
His record labels have produced records for
many important artists, such as Brand New
Heavies, Jamiroquai, Corduroy, the James Taylor
Quartet, and Snowboy with the Acid Jazz label;
and Courtney Pine, Young Disciples, MJ Cole ad
4 Hero, all of whom received nominations for the
Mercury Prize, with Reprazent winning the award
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 13
developed by Havana Club International aimed at
launching Cuban artists from all disciplines. On
that occasion, Gilles traveled to Cuba to record a
CD at Egrem Studios with his hand-picked Havana
Cultura Band, led by the exceptional jazz pianist
Roberto Fonseca. The resulting double CD album
included Cuba’s brightest musical forces ranging
from Latin, Afro jazz and fusion to hip-hop, funk,
reggaeton and soul and everything in-between.
In 2010, Gilles began a European tour accompanied
by Fonseca, his band and vocalists Danay Suarez,
Ogguere and Obsesión. This was the first of three
tours organized with Havana Club. The Gilles
Peterson Havana Cultura band has now travelled
around Europe and beyond with shows in London,
Paris, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Berlin and Madrid. And
in the jazz circuit, they have made appearances
in Roskilde, Worldwide and the Bordeaux Jazz
In 2011, Gilles returned to Havana accompanied by
DJ Mala (Digital Mystikz) to record a new album
with other Cuban talent: Havana Cultura: The
Search Continues.
vocalist José James and Zara McFarlane,Mercurynominated artist Ghostpoet, Kenyan-British
group Owiny Sigoma and electric producer Gang
Colours; eight volumes of a soulful compilation
album series called Brownswood Bubblers and the
special Cuban project, Havana Cultura.
Gilles tells me about his early contact with Cuban
music when he attended London nightclubs to
hear the Cuban band Irakere. Despite never going
to the Havana-London Jazz Festival, his curiosity
was aroused. By then, he was always on the lookout
for whatever he considered good music, wherever
it came from. He mentions a list of musicians and
artists like Van Van, Celia Cruz, Paquito de Rivera,
Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaría, and rhythms
like salsa and timba, which along with hip hop,
electronic music, house, disco, Brazilian music
and Latin jazz have all been part of his DJ sessions.
“There’s nothing deeper, or more complex, or
better, than rumba,” he tells me with passion, and
you know that this passion for the music of this
island is not a whim or a passing love affair for
him—it’s the real deal.
But Gilles doesn’t stay in the past. Or in the present.
He is always looking ahead into the future. New DJs
come into action, which, while respecting tradition
and their roots, are part of what Gilles calls “New
Wave” and which he is very interested in. In fact,
the winners of a competition he organized for DJs
around the world are now recording alongside a
select group of Cuban artists. The album, which
will have 20 songs featuring a fusion of electronic
music with jazz, rumba, hip-hop and other
rhythms, will be released in September-October
this year.
Before we leave, Gilles tells us one last thing which
he is absolutely convinced of: “It’s difficult to say
where Cuban music is going, but I think that the
future is looking good.”
Amen to that.
Of course, I lead the interview to his involvement
with Cuba. The year 2009 saw the beginning of Gilles’
relation with Havana Cultura, a global initiative
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 14
Gilles Peterson (born 28 September, 1964,
France) is a British-based DJ, record collector
and record label owner residing in London. Via
his labels Acid Jazz, Talkin’ Loud, and latterly
Brownswood Recordings, he has been associated
with the careers of well-known artists of the 1990s.
Widely acclaimed as a musical taste-maker, he
spreads his influence on music listeners around the
world. His Worldwide radio show is re-broadcast
from eight European countries. Parallel to this, his
DJing gigs around the world also have cemented a
worldwide following.
Sony Gold Award - Best Specialist Music Radio
Show, 2000
Awarded MBE in 2004
Outstanding Contribution to Dance Music, 2011
Honorary Masters Degree Nottingham University
Photo Yadira Montero
AIM Independent Music Awards - Indie Champion
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 15
Manolito Simonet
by Margaret Atkins
Continue to read full article + slideshow
In Cuba, there is a saying for people unable to see
the obvious: Vive en el pueblo y no ve las casas (He
can’t see the forest for the trees). That’s how I feel
about popular Cuban dance music. Of course, I was
aware of the international success of son, salsa and
timba, but until I began this series of interviews
with musicians and band directors, I did not fully
appreciate the range in both quantity and quality
of this sector of Cuban culture.
Throughout his life he had several teachers. As an
adult he managed to finish the elementary level
in music at the Professional Development School,
but he never really had any systematic academic
music training. Even so, he became a drummer,
pianist, tresero and bass player. He also plays
the guitar and the cello to boot. Such a variety
of instruments provides him with an important
advantage for arranging music and leading a band.
The musician we’re talking about today is a unique
case since he is practically self-taught in a country
where almost all the important contemporary
musicians are graduates from the arts schools,
which are free and broadly accessible in all the
provinces of the country. This musician’s name is
Manuel Perfecto Simonet Pérez, or as he is better
known, Manolito Simonet.
At 15, he was already sitting in for professional
groups. While doing his mandatory military
service, he was part of a military band. Upon his
return to Camagüey, he was offered the chance to
become member of the most important popular
music band in the province, the Maravillas de
Florida, which today is still considered as one of
the most important in Cuba. For the first time, he
had the opportunity to be band director because
of his skill as a composer. But he also became an
arranger and orchestrator.
He learned percussion in the streets of his
native Camagüey and started playing the tres (an
instrument with three double strings, similar to
the guitar and very typical of Cuban country music
and son) following his uncle, Ramón Hernández.
As a child, he learned by himself and with a lot of
effort because, as a lefty, he had to invent his own
technique. His uncle was tremendously surprised
one day when he arrived at his house and saw his
nephew playing.
The band Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco was born
in 1993. “I have a bit of the Maravillas de Florida in
the Trabuco,” he tells us and then explains that his
band has flutes, violins and cellos besides trumpets
and trombones because, as he says, he “fell in love
with the sound of strings.” The band was an almost
immediate success. The TV show called Mi Salsa,
which had huge audiences those days, became his
natural promotional spot, and it was there that the
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 16
band was called first Trabuco. In Cuba, trabuco is
a word used for strong, powerful things. The word
itself comes from a medieval weapon used to topple
walls: the trebuchet. Manolito explains further:
“People started to make comments at rehearsals
saying, ‘Did you see the trabuco Manolito had
going?’ or ‘Hey, Manolito, your band is fantastic!
What a trabuco!’ And so, trabuco stuck.”
In a few short years, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco
have become famous. In 1999, the band won the
Cubadisco Grand Prize in Cuba and received five
nominations for the music awards in Spain. From
2001 to 2004, Manolito was even on the jury of the
Latin Grammies in the United States.
The band has gone on many national and
international tours. They played at the Royal
Wedding of Prince William of Holland and at
the birthday of Felipe, Prince of Asturias, Spain’s
brand new King Felipe VI. In twenty years, he has
recorded around one album every two years and
always with resounding national and international
accolades. Manolito’s tunes have gone on to make
up the repertoires of important salsa bands,
such as the Puerto Rican Latin Power and Andy
Montañés, who has four great hits composed by
Simonet. And in 2004, the album called Locos por
mi Habana became the most sold Cuban album in
the world.
At this point, Manolito’s wife interrupts with a
snack for which we are all grateful because it’s
getting late and the musician insists on showing
us his recently finished kitchen. It’s comfortable
and beautiful and has enough room for his friends
and family to get together. There’s a small bar for
mixing drinks using secret recipes that we failed
to steal from him. Otherwise, there he is, laughing
(he laughs a lot!) with his young daughter who has
jumped into his arms and doesn’t want to let him
go. He invites us to the upcoming inauguration of
the studio he’s building and he wants to turn it into
an important musical event. As I leave his home,
I think about my unforgivable ignorance about
Cuban music and musicians but with the steadfast
aim of continuing to search them out and get to
know them.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 17
José Luis Cortés: EL TOSCO
by Margaret Atkins
I ask José Luis Cortés to define himself for me
and he says: “Black. Rough neighborhood.” And
that kick starts about an hour of anecdotes. I try
to insert a few questions, to lead the conversation
towards subjects that could be interesting. I give
up. Nothing can stop this man’s flood of stories.
Why should I even try? He is perfect just as he is,
speaking his Spanish loaded with popular Cuban
expressions, even making it hard for a native to
understand everything he’s saying…and everything
he isn’t saying, because he also communicates
with gestures and facial expressions. He talks, tells
stories, recalls. Then he takes a break. He ends
the interview and while we wait for his agent to
bring us some material we’ll need for the video,
he barely says a word. It’s like the spring has run
dry. He intently watches a young English girl
singing on the computer monitor in his studio. He
scrutinizes her, much like a teacher. For some time
now he’s been teaching the flute and singing. Then
he turns to us with a sign of approval. He liked it.
He asks for soft drinks and beer to be brought in.
That’s when we meet “Veneno” (Poison), a sort of
assistant who always gets his errands mixed up.
“Once I asked him for pizza and beer and he came
back with hamburgers and rum. Oh, yeah, and a
pound of malanga (a root vegetable). Where did
he find the malanga?” He slowly sips his beer with
Kermato, while “El Negro,” a very bright young
man who looks after the technical aspects of the
studio, makes copies of everything we need.
El Tosco (literally roughhewn or uncouth), a
nickname José Luis Cortés wears like a second
skin, was born in the center of Cuba, in the city of
Santa Clara’s Condado neighborhood, one of the
roughest parts of town. He still has the attitude of
someone who has had to fight hard to get ahead,
a kind of rebelliousness that comes out in the way
he openly criticizes persons and institutions that
have put up the obstacles he has run into. Black.
That’s what he calls himself and with that single
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page 18
as the one when he saw a rat fall into a pot where
beans were being cooled (he makes sure to tell us
that the pot was boiling and so the rat ended up
being as clean and hygienic as any other piece of
cooked meat). But for many days following that
episode, he hardly ate anything, which gave him
an attack of gastritis sending him to hospital. Later
an allergy put him under medical care again until
someone finally realized that he would be doing
better playing in the military band and so he
spent the next three years in much better shape.
“Military service is a good teacher,” he says in spite
of it all. “You have to go through with it.”
word he paints a picture of the teenage sense of
challenge and pride that got him into the National
Arts School all on his own and without pulling
strings (“palanca” is the Cuban expression he
uses in referring to how influential people exert
pressure in order to help someone). In a short
time he became a virtuoso flutist. They called him
El Tosco because once when he arrived late for
the school’s morning exercises, he came dressed
in the clothes students wore for daily physical
labor (in those days, as at other times during the
Revolution, students were assigned part of each
day to work in the fields). The clothes he had for
that work were far too large for him, especially the
too-big boots. They started calling him “the man
with the clumsy-looking boots (botas toscas)” and
soon it got abbreviated to “El Tosco.” Somewhat
defensively, he explains that even through the
nickname seems to refer to someone who is rough
around the edges or unmannered, it is far from
being applicable to him because of his surname
Cortés (meaning “courteous” in English). Just
before he graduated, he became embroiled in a
fist fight with the then-school principal, becoming
a student body hero, thereby costing him his
graduation diploma. Cortés’ first love had been
boxing and he flattened the fragile academic with
one single punch. Immediately he became what he
had been born to be—a musician. It didn’t matter
that he didn’t have a graduation diploma. He ended
up in the Van Van Band, directed by Juan Formell,
and he immersed himself into the ups and downs
and the pleasures of professional life, which he has
never even thought of abandoning.
Once he took off the uniform, he returned to
the Van Van Band and later joined Irakere, “the
best band in Cuba” according to him. “You really
had to know how to play to be in that band.” He
improved his instrumental jazz skills with Irakere
without totally abandoning popular music. In 1988
he formed his own group: N.G. La Banda (New
Generation, The Band), the leading timba group in
Cuba that set the tone for popular Cuban music in
the 1990s. N.G. La Banda became so popular that
it had 25 numbers on the music chart, a number
In the midst of his euphoria at having “discovered”
show business, he got called up for mandatory
military service. He managed to avoid going
for some time. Finally, he was pressured into
answering the call to duty, partially responding to
his mother’s advice. He says that his mother, even
though her origins are very humble, is endowed
with incredible wisdom. And so the successful
flutist became a not-so-successful army recruit.
The stories he tells are both sad and funny, such
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page 19
unequalled even by the Van Van. The group was
loved for how it interacted with the audiences,
especially in a series of concerts they gave in
Havana neighborhoods. N.G. La Banda led the way
for a new Cuban salsa that was later adopted by
groups like the Charanga Habanera, Isaac Delgado
and his group, Paulito FG and others that rose
to popularity. The band’s brass wind section was
baptized as “The Brass Terror” and is one of the
group’s most remarkable characteristics. Cortés
tells us that unlike reggaeton, a genre that has
been under a lot of discussion lately, N.G. tries to
reach people with simple language and grass-roots
lyrics but always underpinned by good music.
In terms of his talents as an instrumentalist, Cortés
has been acknowledged to be an exceptionally
talented flutist, with a great gift for improvisation.
Had he followed the road of so-called classical
music, he could have become a first flutist with
the national symphony orchestra. But then we
wouldn’t have had N.G. La Banda, “la que manda” (a
slogan roughly translated as “the band that rules”).
And I certainly would not have enjoyed these two
couple of hours with El Tosco, who didn’t let me
ask him anything and yet told me everything.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 20
Visual Arts
Memorias del Surrealismo
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Edificio de Arte Universal
Opens July 24
Memories of Surrealism is the name of the
exhibition of 95 lithographs pertaining to five
different series of prints made by Salvador Dalí
using different printing techniques: “Les Chants
de Maldoror,” “Divine Comedy,” “Memories of
Surrealism,” “The Twelve Tribes of Israel” and “Dalí
Interprets Currier and Ives.” The pieces belong to
the the private collection of Dr. Alex Rosenberg
and others.
Factoría Habana, Through July 7
In Miradas artists from different generations
and trends combine efforts to celebrate the
30th anniversary of the Havana Art Biennale:
Juan Carlos Alom, Lidzie Alvisa, Belkis Ayón, Luis
Enrique Camejo, Felipe Dulzaides, Antonio Eligio
(Tonel), Roberto Fabelo, José Manuel Fors, Aimée
García, Ernesto Leal, Jorge López Pardo, Ibrahim
Miranda, Carlos Montes de Oca, Pedro Pablo
Oliva, Sandra Ramos, Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal
Eduardo Ponjuán and José Ángel Toirac.
Edificio de Arte Cubano. Museo
Nacional de Bellas Artes, Through July
Installations, sculptures, two-dimensional works
and photographs by Ricardo Rodríguez Brey
(1955), a member of the mythical group Volumen I
and a pioneer of conceptual art in Cuba, and who
lives abroad since 1990, in a retrospective that will
offer a comprehensive look into the work of this
artist throughout his life.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 21
Biblioteca Pública Rubén Martínez Villena
Jai-Q, a silkscreen exhibition by
Janette Brossard who emphasizes
cultural hybridization and the
reinterpretation of Asian poetics.
Casa de las Américas
Opens July 23
Arte en Patineta. An exhibition
of the 23 y G Project led by Miles
Jackson, CubaSkate founder and
executive director.
Hotel Ambos Mundos
Opens July
Rumor. Prints by Daniel Alberto
Rodríguez García in which the
artist uses abstraction to reflect on
the connections between people.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Edificio de Arte Universal
July 21
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Throughout Océano, five metal sculptures of
different sea species by French
Grabados ingleses de los siglos
xviii y xix. A selection of thirtyseven 18th- and 19th-century
English prints from the museum’s
collection. Some of the artist whose
works are being exhibited are
William Hogarth, Nathaniel Buck
and Antonio Canal (Canaletto).
artist Mauro Corda.
Centro Hispano Americano de Cultura
Opens July 31
Significado y sentidos. Graduation
work by Orlando Pérez Almanza
that is based on words and phrases,
which, for the young artist,
define Cuban history and cultural
identity, and that thanks to the
intervention of the artist and to the
dynamics of the events themselves
may acquire new meanings in the
midst of a changing reality.
A ambos lados del Atlántico.
Exhibition of 25 illustrations and
drawings made by 20th-century
Spanish, Mexican and Cuban
artists, such as Picasso, Miró and
Saura; Rivera, Orozco, López Loza
and Eloy Tarcisio; and: Amelia
Carlos Enríquez and Fidelio Ponce,
Galería Servando
Mujica. Solo show by Frank
Mujica, who in his short career has
carried out a very personal view of
Museo Nacional de la Cerámica Contemporánea
Throughout Julia González 80 años. Exhibition
of the work of this important
flowers, sculptures and vessels—
from the beginnings of her career
in the 1960s to the present day.
Palacio de Lombillo
Throughout Homar 20/100. Lorenzo Homar:
20 años de creación en su
celebrates the centennial of this
outstanding Puerto Rican graphic
artist with pieces made from
1962 to 1981 at the Graphic Art
Workshop of the Puerto Rican
Institute of Culture.
Teatro Mella
July 4-18
Aquelarre 2014. Exhibition of
competing works in the Salon of
Graphic Humor, which is part of
the Aquelarre Humor Festival 2014.
Galería Villa Manuela
Por si fuera la huella… Exhibition
of ten mid and large-scale canvases
which may be interpreted in many
different ways from each viewer’s
subjectivities and experiences.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 22
Año fotográfico 2014.
Casa de las Américas,Throughout July
Permanent exhibition of 80 photographs, basically
of Latin America, that are part of the Haydée
Santamaría Art of Our America collection.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
July 9-20
Exhibition of 12 large-scale pictures on the life and
works of the Peruvian poet César Vallejo.
Centro Cultural Cinematográfico ICAIC
(Fresa y Chocolate) , Through July 15
Through 16 photographs printed on photographic
paper and a video art work, artist Williams Cruz
Perdomo recreates Havana’s landscape with
the inclusion of iconic buildings from universal
architecture, thus stimulating the subjectivity
of the viewer transforming their horizons and
decontextualizing part of the geography.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 23
National Ballet of Cuba and National Ballet of China
Teatro Nacional de Cuba. Sala Avellaneda, July 24-26, 8:30pm
The Ballet Nacional de Cuba and guest dancers from the National Ballet of China will present a a special
concert program with Giselle (scene from Act II); El pabellón de la peonía; Spartacus; Danzantes; Le
Corsaire Pas de deux; Sacrificio and Don Quixote (scene from Act III);
Sinfonía española: de lo
clásico al flamenco
Mella Theater, July 4-6, Fri & Sat, 8:30 pm;
Sun, 5 pm
The Irene Rodríguez Dance Company will present
Spanish Symphony: From Classic to Flamenco with
the special performance of the National Symphony
Orchestra, conducted by Enrique Pérez Mesa. The
show includes choreographies based on musical
pieces by great Spanish composers, such as Falla,
Vives and Sarasate, as well as flamenco music
arranged for symphonic music.
Posible imposible
Danza Teatro Retazos, Sala Teatro Las
Carolinas, July 11 & 12, 7pm
Possible Impossible takes off from a landscape
where the known laws of time, space and power
have ceased to be valid…In this surprising world of
dreams, the door opens to other universes where
the mind is free and the impossible becomes
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 24
Contemporary Fusion
Los Desiguales, 2014
Photo Alex Mene
The contemporary fusion and electronic music
scene has expanded recently as new bars
and clubs have opened party promoters have
organized events in parks and public spaces.
Good live music venues include Bertolt Brecht
(Wed: Interactivo, Sunday: Déjá-vu) and El Sauce
(check out the Sunday afternoon Máquina de la
Melancolía) as well as the newly opened Fábrica
de Arte Cubano which has concerts most nights
Thursday through Sunday as well as impromptu
smaller performances inside.
In Havana’s burgeoning entertainment district
along First Avenue from the Karl Marx theatre to
the aquarium you are spoilt for choice with the
always popular Don Cangreco featuring good live
music (Kelvis Ochoas and David Torrens alternate
Fridays), Las Piedras (insanely busy from 3am) and
El Palio and Melem bar—both featuring different
singers and acts in smaller more intimate venues.
Café Cantante, Teatro Nacional
Tercera y 8
Wednesdays Performances by Qva Libre
5 pm
11 pm
Diablo Tun Tun
Café Concert El Sauce
Wednesdays Gerardo Alfonso
5 pm
La Máquina de la Melancolía, with
Frank Delgado and Luis Alberto
Wednesdays Mucho Ruido
Submarino Amarillo
9 pm
5 pm
5 pm
Baby Lores
Los Kents
10 pm
July 26
Leoni Torres
11 pm
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 25
Photo by Alex Mene
Alexander Abreu
Salsa / Timba
Casa de la Música de Galiano
11 pm
Casa de la Música de Miramar
Charanga Latina
Diablo Tun Tun
Wednesdays To Mezclao
11 pm
José Luis Cortés y NG La Banda
5 pm
Sur Caribe
11 pm
Pedrito Calvo y La Justicia
5 pm
Juan Guillermo
5 pm
Manolito Simonet y su
5 pm
11 pm
El Niño y La Verdad
11 pm
5 pm
Manana Club
Teatro Nacional
July 12
8:30 pm
5 pm
José Luis Cortés y NG La
Lázaro Valdés y Bamboleo
Jardines del 1830
Concert with the Caro Band,
David and Ernesto
Blanco, Yoruba Andabo, Manolito
Simonet and others.
Dancing casino with Moncada
8 pm
Tercera y 8
Wednesdays Alain Daniel
11 pm
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 26
MUSIC jazz
Café Jazz Miramar
Shows: 11 pm - 2am
This new jazz club has quickly established itself as
one of the very best places to hear some of Cuba’s
best musicians jamming. Forget about smoke filled
lounges, this is clean, bright--take the fags outside.
While it is difficult to get the exact schedule and in
any case expect a high level of improvisation when
it is good it is very good. A full house is something
of a mixed house since on occasion you will feel
like holding up your own silence please sign!
Nonetheless it gets the thumbs up from us.
Café Miramar
July 1
composer) y grupo Cauce
July 2, 9, 16
& 23
Yasso and Cuban Funk
July 3, 10, 17
& 24
Francis del Río, his band & guests
July 4
Harold-López-Nussa (pianist) and
his band Electro Jam Session with
Dj D´Joice
July 5
DejaVu Electro Jam Session with
Dj D´Joy de Cuba
Emir Santa Cruz (clarinetist/
saxophonist) & band
July 8 & 15
Julito Padrón (trumpet) & Santa
Amalia Friends
July 11
Telmary (rapper) & her band
Electro Jam Session with Dj D´Joice
July 12
composer), Trio Salvaje & guests
Electro Jam Session with Dj D´Joy
de Cuba
Proyecto Jazz and Creative
July 18
Alexis Bosch (pianist) & Jazz
Cubano Electro Jam Session with
Dj D´Joice
Roberto Carlos (pianist) & his band
Electro Jam Session with Dj Wichy
July 22 & 29
Carlos Miyares (saxophonist), his
band & guests
July 26
July 27
Zule Guerra (sinfer and composer)
and Blues d’Havana. (admission
2 pm
Peña La Esquina del Jazz hosted by
showman Bobby Carcassés.
Pabellón Cuba
July 9
11 pm
Michel Herrera (saxophonist and
Asociación Cubana de Derechos de Autor Musical
July 17
6 pm
Proyecto de Jazz Cubano with
Alexis Bosch (piano).
Centro Hispano-Americano de Cultura
July 19
5 pm
Oscar Valdés (percussionist and
singer) and Diákara
Fábrica de Arte Cubano
July 19
July 25
8:30 pm
July 10
July 6
July 13, 20
& 27
July 4
Carlos Miyares Cuban Quintet
11 pm
La Zorra y el Cuervo
July 3
Carlos Miyares (saxophonist)
11 pm
Yasek Manzano (trumpet) & Wichy
DJ Electro Jam Session with Dj
composer), Trío Salvaje & guests
Proyecto Jazz and Creative
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page 27
MUSIC Bolero, folklore, son & trova
Casa Memorial Salvador Allende
Asociación Yoruba de Cuba
Obiní Batá (Folkloric group)
5 pm
8 pm
July 25
Los Ibellis (Folkloric group)
4 pm
Centro Iberoamericano de la Décima
July 27
Café cantante, Teatro Nacional
Waldo Mendoza
4 pm
8 pm
Plus Trova with Charly Salgado
and guests.
Frank Delgado
Ivette Cepeda
11 pm
Singer Yaíma Sáez
5 pm
Centro Memorial Martin Luther King, Jr.
Obiní Batá (Folklo ric group)
5 pm
Wednesdays Trovando, a meeting with good
5 pm
Hurón Azul, UNEAC
5 pm
Instituto Internacional de Periodismo José Martí
Peña El Canto de Todos, with
singer-songwriter Vicente Feliú
Singer songwriter Liuba María
Hevia and actress and director
Verónica Lynn join forces in the
concert So many Lives, Poems and
Casa de la Cultura Comunitaria Mirta Aguirre
June 27
5 pm
Get-together with trovador Ireno
July 25
6 pm
Peña with Marta Campos.
Peña La Pupila Asombrada with
singer-songwriters, music videos
and shorts made by students from
the Audiovisual Media Faculty of
the University of the Arts.
Pabellón Cuba
5 pm
5 pm
Peña Tres Tazas with trovador
Silvio Alejandro
Peña with trovador Juan Carlos
Piano Bar Tun Tun (Casa de la Música de Miramar)
Casa de la Cultura de Plaza
June 12
Mundito González.
Eduardo Sosa and guests
Casa de las Américas. Sala Manuel Galich
July 15
Ivette Cepeda.
10 pm
7 pm
6 pm
Hotel Telégrafo
July 12
Casa del Alba
July 31
Sexteto Habanero
9:30 pm
3 pm
July 4
Marta Campos
El Jelengue de Areíto
Casa de África
july 12
El Jardín de la Gorda with trovadors
from every generation.
4:30 pm
11 pm
July 19
5 pm
July 27
Café Concert El Sauce
Peña La Juntamenta, with trovador
Ángel Quintero.
Peña with trovador Ray Fernández
5 pm
7 pm
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 28
classical MUSIC
XI Festival Internacional
de Coros Corhabana 2014
July 1-5, 2014, Concert halls in Havana
Founded in 1999 as the Havana Choral Meeting,
for three years the event was the meeting place
for choruses from Cuba and the United States. In
2002, however, it became an international festival
and changed its name to Corhabana. Presided by
Digna Guerra, who is the director of the National
Chorus, this year, besides its customary concerts,
the festival has programmed workshops and
lectures on the techniques of choral arrangements,
as well as the production and interpretation of
works from the Cuban and international choral
Program XI Festival Internacional de Coros Corhabana 2014
Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís
July 1
Children’s choir of the Coro Nacional and Coro Nacional de Cuba.
6 pm
Salón Dorado del Museo de la Revolución
July 2
6 pm
July 3
6 pm
Junio 4
6 pm
University choirs from Cuba: University of Havana, Universidad of Medicine from Villa Clara
and Universidad of the Arts.
Student choirs: Coro Infantil del Conservatorio Guillermo Tomás, Coro Masculino del
Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán, Coro Femenino de Matanzas and Coro Escuela Nacional de
Choirs from Venezuela: Ensemble Vocal Guayana, Coral Polifónica de Valencia, Coral
Polifónica de Cojedes y Coral Voces de Barlovento.
Hemiciclo del Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Edificio Arte Universal)
July 2
3 pm
July 3
3 pm
July 4
Ensemble Vocal K’ay Há (Mexico), Coro D’ Profundis (Cuba), Ensemble Vocal Guayana
(Venezuela) and Cantoría Solecito Cantor (Cuba).
Cantus Nostrus, Coro de Cámara ISA, Cantoría Pequeños Príncipes (Cuba); and Coro Enkanto
3 pm
Jóvenes Cantoras de Luna (Cuba), Coro Caminares de Córdoba (Argentina), Coro Voces de
Ébano (Cuba) and Cantoría Coralillo (Cuba).
July 5
Vocal Imago (Cuba), Coro Créole Vocal de Manizales (Colombia) and Coro Entrevoces (Cuba).
3 pm
Oratorio San Felipe Neri
July 2
Coro Caminares de Córdoba (Argentina), Ensemble Vocal Luna (Cuba) and Coro Exaudi (Cuba).
4 pm
July 3
4 pm
Coral Polifónica de Cojedes (Venezuela), Camerata Vocale Sine Nomine (Cuba) and Vocal Leo
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 29
classical MUSIC
Centro Hispano Americano de Cultura
July 2
5 pm
July 3
5 pm
Cantoría Infantil Solfa (Cuba), Ensamble Vocal AudiNos (Cuba), coros Voces de Barlovento
(Venezuela) and Comunicación Vocal (Cuba).
Cantoría Infantil Mi-Sol (Cuba), Coro Créole Vocal de Manizales (Colombia) and Coro
Polifónico de Pinar del Río (Cuba).
Plaza de San Francisco de Asís
July 5
Cantorías infantiles and Banda Nacional de Conciertos.
5:30 pm
Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís
July 2
6 pm
July 3
Polyphonic choirs from Pinar del Río and Havana (Cuba), and Coral Médanos and Luna
6 pm
Ensamble Vocal AudiNos (Cuba), Coral Polifónica de Valencia (Venezuela) and Schola
Cantorum Coralina (Cuba).
July 4
Vocal Imago (Cuba), Coro Créole Vocal de Manizales (Colombia) and Coro Entrevoces (Cuba).
6 pm
July 5
6 pm
Works from the Cuban Music and German Romanticism Workshops; tribute to maestros Leo
Brouwer, Frank Fernández and Guido López-Gavilán
Concert directed by Guido
Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís
Saturday, July 12, 6pm
The Música Eterna chamber orchestra conducted
by Guido López-Gavilán, along with guest flutist
Antipe D’Stella (Switzerland), flutist Alberto Rosas,
oboíst Joanna Lugo, guitar duo Con Trastes and
guitarist Galy Martín will play works by Bach,
Vivaldi, Scarlatti abd Fasch.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 30
classical MUSIC
Photo by Ivan Soca
Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís
July 15
6 pm
The orchestra of the Gran Teatro
de La Habana along with soloists
from the National Center for
Concert Music will perform works
by Beethoven, Mozart, Handel,
Rossini, Haydn and Dvorák,
conducted by Eduardo Díaz.
July 19
6 pm
July 23
6 pm
Concert with the Camerata Romeu
conducted by Zenaida Romeu.
Pianist Maité Aboy, clarintist Mahe
Martí, cellist Alejandro Rodríguez
and violinist Desiré Justo will offer
a concert with works by Ravel,
Milhaud, Muczynski and Suk.
Biblioteca Nacional José Martí
Performances by soloists and chamber ensembles.
5 pm
Casa del ALBA Cultural
July 6
5 pm
July 13
5 pm
En Confluencia, conducted by
guitarists Eduardo and Galy
Tarde de Concierto, conducted by
the soprano Lucy Provedo.
July 20
5 pm
July 27
De Nuestra América, conducted by
pianist Alicia Perea.
Concert by guitarist Rosa Matos.
5 pm
Sala Covarrubias, Teatro Nacional
Concerts by the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.
11 pm
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 31
El tío Vania
Argos Teatro / Directed by Carlos Celdrán
Fri & Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm, Argos Teatro
With the classic of universal theater, Uncle Vanya,
by Anton Chekhov, Carlos Celdrán aims to dissect
today’s Cuban ordinary man, who bears a burden
of conflicts, contradictions, anguish, frustrations,
lost ideals and disagreements.
Antigonón, un
contingente épico
Teatro El Público / by Carlos Díaz, Teatro
Trianón, Fri & Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 5pm
Antigonón, un contingente épico, Carlos Diaz
and his troupe, Teatro el Publico’s most recent
performance involves a trip back to the classics,
guided and partnered by Rogelio Orizondo who
wrote Antigonón, un contingente épico especially
for them. Carlos is the most well-known and
brilliant Cuban theatre director with a reputation
for directing plays with abundant nudity,
transvestites and subtle winks at the Cuban
national reality. Antigonón does not disappoint–
go see it for yourself!
Señor Mermelada (Mi
amigo imaginario)
Extravagante Teatro , Fri & Sat, 8:30pm; Sun,
5pm, Sala teatro El Sótano
In Noah Haidle’s Mr. Marmalade, Lucy is a child
who has been abandoned by her father and
traumatized by family conflicts. She meets Larry,
another intelligent and sensitive child who has
been physically abused and has tried to kill
himself. Together they find comfort and strength
to overcome their problems and go in search of
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 32
For kids
July 20, 10:30am, Cinemateca de Cuba
Premiere of a film in 3D by Cuban filmmaker
Ernesto Padrón. This free version of the story
Monique takes place in the 5th century in the
imaginary kingdom of Guanacabo, a kind of
medieval Caribbean where famous witches, grants,
dragons and fairies from classical fairy tales live
along with adventure characters from Cuban and
Latin American culture. The film’s soundtrack
includes original songs especially written for the
film by Silvio Rodríguez.
Teatro La Proa, Fri, Sat & Suun, 3pm, Teatro
de títeres El Arca
This play for children written by Blanca Felipe
Rivero and directed by and produced by Arneldy
Cejas, is a contemporary look into classical
stories. This is the story of a Shoe who discovers
that Cinderella doesn’t want to wear it and prefers
to go barefooted; of Prince Charming, who is tired
of his fate; a couple of stepsisters who are the
victims; and a favorite antagonist of all time: the
wicked Stepmother.
En Buena Compañía
Carpa Trompoloco
Sat & Sun, 4pm & 7pm
The magical and adventurous world of the circus
continues. Cuba’s prime circus venue, Carpa
Trompoloco, presents “En Buena Compañía” (In
Good Company), the new show featuring, among
other acts, tightrope walkers, acrobats, clowns,
gymnasts, trained animals, and the fascinating
flying trapeze, which was awarded the Grand Prix
during the past CIRCUBA 2013 Festival.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 33
July 6-13
Reir es cosa seria
Festival Nacional del Humor Aquelarre
When seeking relief from the summer heat in
Havana, it has become a very welcome habit to
be refreshed by the best of Cuba’s humorists who
make us both think and laugh. In the competition
section of the event, theatrical humor (comedy
shows, plays, monologues, one-man shows,
comic sketches, original songs, musical parodies,
male and female performances, staged scripts),
literature (decimas, short stories, books of stories,
novels, unpublished scripts for film, radio, TV or
live theater, essays) and graphic humor (painting,
caricatures, drawings, prints, photography) are all
categories inviting participants to show off their
2013 Review
Once again, the Aquelarre National Humor Festival
took place during one of the hottest months of the
year to ease us into the hot summer days with
refreshing performances of the best comedians
in the country. With stand-up comedians, variety
performers, sketch troupes and much more, the
2013 Aquelarre began on June 30. The city, however,
had already begun rocking with laughter on June
21 with the show De Doime son los cantantes
Osvaldo Doimeadiós
The organizers have announced that this year’s
Aquelarre, which will be dedicated to the recently
deceased Luis Carbonell, the Watercolorist of
Antillean Poetry, will put on 11 different shows by
comedy groups from the cities of Havana, Sancti
Spíritus, Holguín and Santa Clara, as well as special
guest performances. It is precisely the presence of
artists from different parts of Cuba what makes
Aquelarre, Cuba’s top comedy event, different from
other festivals. Meanwhile, the Museo Nacional de
Bellas Artes will host a theoretical meeting about
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page 34
The presence of artists from all over Cuba makes
Aquelarre different from other festivals. Fifteen
groups from 11 different provinces participated in
2013 during Cuba’s top comedy event, so this was
a fantastic opportunity for both Habaneros and
visitors to fully appreciate comedy from the rest
of the nation.
Year after year, tickets are often sold out days
before the shows, so be prepared. If you cannot
find a ticket, look for people selling an extra ticket
or two for up to five times their value outside of
the theater!
by 2012 National Humor Award winner Osvaldo
Doimeadiós, who is considered Cuba’s most
important comedian in the last 20 years and was
paid tribute during the festival’s closing ceremony.
Organized by the Centro Promotor del Humor, the
opening and closing ceremonies of Aquelarre 2013
were held at the 8,000-seat Karl Marx Theater
in Miramar. Enrique “Kike” Quiñones, Director of
the Centro Promotor del Humor, had previously
announced that the program included workshops
(one on drama and situation comedy by Doimeadiós
himself), and lectures open to the general public at
Casa Cultural ALBA and a season of Italian comedy
films at the 23 y 12 movie theater.
If you’re in town and attend one of the shows,
you’ll soon realize, paradoxical as it may seem, that
Cuban humor—cutting and thought provoking—is
actually no laughing matter.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
Grupo: Pago la paga
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 35
events in havana
July 1-August 31, 2014
Pabellón Cuba, Havana
Feria de Arte en La Rampa
Pabellón Cuba, Havana
As is customary every summer since the year
2000, the Art at La Rampa Crafts Fair opens its
door at the Pabellón Cuba, emblematic building
of the architecture of the 1960s, with an attractive
offer that includes the sale of serigraphs, footwear,
clothing, costume jewellery, fans, household goods,
furniture, ornaments, and much more, all made
by Cuban artisans, and which will be showcased
in over 100 stands. Fashion shows, concerts and
activities for the kiddies will also take place during
the Fair.
Saturdays and Sundays, from 6pm to 8pm have
been reserved for performances by popular bands
and soloists, including David Álvarez y Juego de
Manos, Raúl Paz, Telmary, Arnaldo y su Talismán,
Ivette Cepeda, Polito Ibáñez, Tony Ávila, Luna
Manzanares and Qva Libre, among others. July
28 will be dedicated to Juan Formell, musician
and leader of the emblematic band Van Van, who
recently passed away. A photographic exhibition of
blowups created from pictures taken by Iván Soca
of milestones in Formell’s career will open that day
at 4pm. opens the 28th a, These pictures will be on
sale on August 2. And at 6pm, musicians from Van
Van and children actors from La Colmenita will
perform Van Van all-time favorites.
Epopeya, a photo show of Cuban masters of
photography Alberto Korda, Osvaldo Salas,
Perfecto Romero and Liborio Noval will open July
3. The public will be able to purchase a folder
with reproductions of the pictures on exhibition.
Tuesdays, at 4:30pm, are devoted to trova with
performances by singer-songwriters of different
generations, while Thursdays at 4pm, the public
will be have the chance to dialogue with wellknown figures of Cuban culture. And, as usual,
there will be different activities for the kids on
Saturdays and Sundays, at 11pm.
Open Tues-Fri, 2-8pm; Sat & Sun, 10am-8pm
(closed on July 30)
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page 36
events in havana
Taller Internacional de
Verano del Ballet Nacional
de Cuba
July 14-24, 2014, Havana
The International Summer Workshop is organized
by the National Ballet of Cuba for children from 10
upward who have basic knowledge of dancing. The
children will be placed in elementary, intermediate
and advanced level classes and will receive lessons
by teachers from the Cuban school of ballet,
internationally acknowledged for its technical
perfections and unique expressivity.
July 14-27, Havana
Ballet Español de Cuba headquarters:
Antiguo cine Mara: Juan Delgado #6 e/ Gral Lee y
Lacret, Santos Suárez
Teléfono: (+53) 7-641-5543
This dance course for all people 5 years old and
upward includes lessons in flamenco techniques,
stylization of Spanish traditional dances, workout,
participation in putting on choreographies,
and lectures on artistic appreciation and basics
on Spanish dance. The course will close with a
concert program given by the students on July 26
and 27 at Sala Covarrubias of the Teatro Nacional
de Cuba.
Taller de Verano de danza
BB Compañía
July 14-August 3, Calle # 6 e/ 3ra y 5ta, El
A dance workshop for people of all ages that will
include ballet, contemporary dance, workout,
flamenco, Cuban, South Anericac and North
American dances and rhytms, wardrobe and
Festival Circuba
Carpa Trompoloco, Karl Marx Theater, Copa
Room of the Habana Riviera Hotel, July
31-August 5, 2014
Circuba 2014, the most important circus event in
Cuba, has announced the participation of circus
artists from many different countries who will
compete in gymnastics, acrobatics, juggling,
tightrope, and much more. A special treat will
be the performances of the juggling duo Sychev,
the acrobatic act Spirin and the tightrope walker
Maxim Helmut, all of international fame from
the Moscow-based Rosgoscirk, the biggest
circus company in the world with national status
comparable to the Bolshoi Ballet.
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page 37
events in havana
Rutas (Routes)
Tues, July 8 & 22, 10am
Casa de Asia, Casa de África, Casa de los
Tues, July 15 & 29, 10am
Handicrafts related to traditional festivities, myths
and customs - Guided visits to museums
Casa Benito Juárez, Casa Oswaldo
Guayasamín and Casa Simón Bolívar
Tues, July 8 & 22, 10am
Planetario, Aqvarivm, Sociedad Patrimonio,
Comunidad y Medio Ambiente
Tues, July 15 & 29, 10am
Museo de la Farmacia Habanera, Farmacia
Johnson, Farmacia Taquechel
Tuesdays, 10am
Museo de la Ciudad, Museo de Arte
Colonial, Museo de la Cerámica
Contemporánea Cubana, Museo
Numismático, Museo de la Orfebrería,
Museo Armería 9 de Abril, Casa de África
Tuesdays, 10am
Earth in its relation to medicine and water- Guided
visits to museums
Earth in its relation to medicine and water- Guided
visits to museums
Birds - Guided visits to museums
Quinta de los Molinos
Visit to the Quinta de los Molinos - gardening, birds
and trees
Fridays, 10am
Italian Renaissance – videos
Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís
Tuesdays, 2pm
Art historians in Cuba - Lectures and visits to cultural
Factoría Habana
Thursdays, 2pm
Centro Hispano-Americano de Cultura
Hispanic America. From Classical to Contemporary
– dances, music, lectures
Andares (Walks)
July 9, 10am
Iglesia de Jesús del Monte
July 10, 10am
Architecture: Plazuela de Albear
July 11 & 18,
Conservation and
Plaza de Armas
Plaza Cadenas, Universidad de La
July 17, 10am Architecture: Plazuela de las
July 23, 10am Plaza de Armas
July 16, 10am
July 30, 10am Instituto Superior de Arte
July 31, 10am
Architecture: Plazuela de San Juan
de Dios
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 38
Around Cuba
Semana de Salsa Varadero Baila 2014
July 7-12, 2014 , Varadero
The perfect occasion to combine dance, sun and beach. The organizers have announced three-hour
dance lessons in mambo, cha-cha-cha, rumba and son; afternoons with performances; traditional music
concerts with musicians of Buena Vista Social Club fame; dancing to live music by Cuban bands; a salsa
marathon; a Casino festivity; and meetings with local dance clubs at the most famous beach in Cuba.
More information at,
Fiestón Ciudad del Mar
July 4-6, Cienfuegos
Organized by the band Karamba, this event
aims to celebrate the beginning of the summer
holidays and promote alternative music. Guest
performances will inlude Adrián Berazaín, David
and Ernesto Blanco, Qva Libre, Pedrito Calvo,
Pupy y Los que Son Son, Patricio Amaro, Jóvenes
Clásicos del Son, Bonni y Kelly, Moncada, Síntesis
and many other artists in over 20 concerts.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 39
July 26 Anniversary of the attack
on Moncada Barracks
by Victoria Alcalá
July 26th is a true celebration of Cuban
Revolutionary spirit. All across the country, you
will see communist banners and political graffiti.
Combining the anniversary of the birth of Jose
Marti and the attack on the Moncada barracks by
Fidel Castro, July 26 is one of the most important
days in the country’s calendar.
On July 26, 1953 a group of young men and two
women led by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada
Barracks in Santiago de Cuba while another group
attacked the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks
in the city of Bayamo. Although this was a defeat
for the revolutionaries, this event paved the way
for the insurrection against Batista. It was “the
small engine that ignited the big engine of the
people across the country, they began to obtain
uniforms, guns and ammunition to attack the
Moncada Barracks and other strategic targets.
A year later, those who were to participate in the
assault traveled to Santiago de Cuba, which was
celebrating its traditional summer carnival. The
date was chosen so that the authorities would not
suspect the young people who by train, bus and 17
cars were coming into the city with the apparent
purpose of enjoying themselves during the
festivities. The leaders of the attack were hoping
that the relaxed atmosphere, the distance from
the capital, the surprise factor, and the nearby
How many countries commemorate a military
defeat as their national holiday? Cuba does. In fact,
it celebrates the ill-fated events that took place on
July 26, 1953 with three days off.
The events began one year earlier in May 1952
whena group of young people grouped around
Abel and Haydee Santamaría, Melba Hernández
and Fidel Castro began meeting in an apartment
building in Havana to discuss their discontent with
the disruption of the constitutional order imposed
by the military coup launched by the dictator
Fulgencio Batista. All legal channels exhausted,
plans were made to start the armed struggle
and fight the de facto government. Working with
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page 40
Given the disadvantage of the assailants, many
were captured alive and killed. The group that
tried to gain the foothills of the Sierra Maestra was
captured several days later.
mountains of the Sierra Maestra would help them
achieve their goal.
Upon their arrival in Santiago, the revolutionaries
gathered together at the small Siboney farm
located near the city. During early morning, the
guns hidden inside a well were distributed. Then,
the details of the attack, which had been kept in
the utmost secrecy by the leaders, were given—
they were going to attack the Moncada and Carlos
Manuel de Céspedes Barracks and take over two
strategic places, the Saturnino Lora Hospital and
the Palace of Justice. The objectives: to disarm
the enemy and summon the people to take armed
revolutionary action that would lead to the
overthrow of Batista.
At 4:00 am on Sunday, July 26, 129 men and two
women left the Siboney farm. The plan was to have
the main body of the inexperienced troops (around
90 men) led by Fidel Castro advance to the army
facility; the two women (Melba Hernández and
Haydee Santamaría) and other fighters led by Abel
Santamaría would take over the hospital; and the
group of around 35 men led by Raul Castro would
seize the Palace of Justice. The last two groups
were able to achieve their goal, but the group
led by Fidel lost the element of surprise—after
reaching one of the posts, an unexpected patrol
that was doing the rounds because of the carnival
came across them. The guards alerted the troops
and a battle ensued outside the garrison.
The assailants and Fidel Castro were held for trial.
Fidel Castro assumed his own defense and he
gave a four-hour speech on October 16 that was
published under the title “History Will Absolve
Me,” which was his concluding sentence. Although
sentenced to terms of up to 15 years, many of the
survivors relocated to Mexico after having been
granted an amnesty and released from prison in
1955. In Mexico, they continued their plans to
form a disciplined guerrilla force to overthrow
the dictator Batista and returned to Cuba on the
Granma yacht in December 1956 to begin the
guerrilla struggle that culminated in the victory of
Since 1959, Cuba has commemorated July 26th
with rallies and speeches. In 1976, July 25, 26 and
27 were made holidays. As a verse of a song by a
popular Cuban band says, “The 26th is the happiest
day in history.”
Continue to read full article + slideshow
Continue to read full article + slideshow
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 41
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is Cuba’s second largest city and capital city of the province
of Santiago de Cuba, in the eastern region of Oriente. Founded on June 28, 1514,
Santiago was the sixth of the seven towns founded by Spanish conquistador Diego
Velázquez de Cuéllar in Cuba. The town, which already had a town council, became
a city in 1522 with the construction of its first cathedral; and from that moment
on to 1589, it was the capital of the Spanish colony in Cuba.
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page 47
The city, plundered by French and British forces
in 1553 and 1662, respectively, was appealing to
the Spanish metropolis for its gold. Gold exports
peaked in the 1520s and 1530s, and in the process
of obtaining the much coveted mineral, they
exterminated Santiago’s indigenous population,
which was replaced by slaves brought mainly from
Haiti. These slaves with different backgrounds
(Lucumi, Congo, Carabalí, Mandinga, etc.), their
descendants and the many immigrants that arrived
in Cuba after the Haitian slave revolt of 1791 would
end up being an essential part of Cuban culture,
ethnic character and nationality.
Santiago de Cuba is also known as la Cuna de la
Revolución (the Cradle of the Revolution) for its
active role in Cuba’s independence struggles. Back
on October 10, 1868, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
(1819-1874), born in Bayamo, a city 120 km (74.5
miles) from Santiago, came to be known as the
Padre de la Patria (Father of his Homeland) after
having initiated an uprising in his plantation La
Demajagua. His declaration of independence
started the Ten Years’ War, the first serious
attempt to achieve independence from Spain. This
war saw the emergence of one of Santiago’s most
distinguished sons, Antonio Maceo. Years later, in
1895, when the Independence War was resumed,
Santiago de Cuba rose up in arms again and
witnessed a number of decisive combats, including
the Combat of Loma de San Juan (the first defeat
of the Spanish troops during the Spanish-CubanAmerican War) and the Naval Battle of Santiago de
Cuba. José Martí, Cuba’s National Hero, although
born in Havana, died in combat in the province
of Granma and is buried in the Santa Efigenia
Cemetery in Santiago.
The 1959 Revolution too had the support of the city
of Santiago de Cuba. On July 26, 1956 Fidel Castro
led an armed attack on the Moncada Barracks. The
action was ill-prepared and led to the capture of
Fidel Castro and many other revolutionary rebels.
Shortly after this unfortunate event, Frank País,
a native of Santiago, forged what would come to
be a large-scale urban resistance movement. Four
months later on November 30, the city witnessed
what is known as the Levantamiento de Santiago de
Cuba, when the rebels wearing July-26 armbands
marched down the streets to provide cover for the
expeditionary force coming from Mexico aboard
the Granma yacht. During this action, revolutionary
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page 48
heroes Pepito Tey, Otto Parellada and Tony Alomá
lost their lives. Due to bad weather conditions, the
journey took longer than expected and Fidel and
the rest of the rebels arrived the coasts of Cuba on
December 2 instead of November 30. In 1957, two
years after his organization merged with the July
26 Movement, Frank País was betrayed and shot
shortly after his capture.
In 1958, rebel troops led by Fidel Castro and Juan
Almeida Bosque sieged the city of Santiago de Cuba.
By December 31, the Ejército Rebelde (Rebel Army)
was ready to take the city with the support of the
urban resistance movement. Finally, on January 1,
1959 Fidel Castro proclaimed the definitive victory
of the Cuban Revolution from a balcony of the City
Hall, across from Parque Céspedes.
Santiago de Cuba has been home to a number of
Cuban heroes and personalities, such as Antonio
Maceo, also known as the Titán de Bronce (Bronze
Titan) for his wartime heroics, whose military tactics
are still studied today; Frank País, who formed the
urban resistance cells against the Batista regime;
Compay Segundo, the most famous exponent of
traditional trova music; Frank Fernández, pianist,
teacher and composer, acclaimed worldwide for
his stunning technique; and Electo Silva, the main
promoter of choral music in the city and director
of the Orfeón de Santiago.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 49
Highlights around
Santiago de Cuba
Santuario de Nuestra Señora
de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre
This is one of the religious sites Cubans
venerate the most. Each day, over 500
people visit the shrine of Cuba’s patron
saint, the Virgen de la Caridad (Our Lady
of Charity), situated on the Cerro de
Maboa, 27 kilometers northwest of the
city of Santiago de Cuba on the old road
to Bayamo.
Legend says that the Virgin was
discovered by three fishermen, brothers
Juan and Rodrigo de Hoyos and a 10-yearold black boy named Juan Moreno in
1613, as they set out to the Bay of Nipe
for salt. They got caught up in a violent
storm and thought they were about to die
when they spotted a statue of the Virgin
Mary. To their surprise, they retrieved
it completely dry from the water, and
noticed the inscription “Yo soy la Virgen
de la Caridad” (I am the Virgin of Charity)
on the board the statue was attached
to. The storm subsided and their lives
were spared. After the miracle, the three
fishermen took the statue to the town
of Real de Minas, where people took it
as religious sign and built a church to
protect it. The church was erected by
the town’s copper mine, but it collapsed
due to the numerous explosions and
excavations. A basilica was then built
on the same spot and subsequently
inaugurated on September 8, 1927.
Access to the construction is through an
outside staircase flanked by a wall with
lamps. The statue of the Virgin is made
of gold and can be seen from anywhere
in the main nave. The altar is movable
and is made of marble and solid silver,
and is decorated with items of great
value. Downstairs from the chapel where
the Virgin is kept is the Capilla de los
Milagros (literally, Chapel of Miracles),
a small room where devout followers of
the Our Lady have left a large number of
offerings, including gold jewels, precious
stones, chains, dresses, Olympic medals,
baby clothes and many other objects
that are dear to their owners.
The Virgen de la Carida, or Cachita as she
is also known, is syncretized in Santeria
with Ochún, the Yoruba goddess of
love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and
diplomacy, and has become a religious
icon to many Cuban women. Ochún is
associated with the color yellow, metal
brass, mirrors, peacock feathers, honey,
the number nine and Saturdays (Ochún’s
principal day of the week). For many of
its followers, the two religious icons are
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 50
La Gran Piedra &
La Isabélica
Located on Carretera de la Gran Piedra,
kilometer 14, in Santiago de Cuba
province, this 63,000-ton boulder, 51
meters long and 25-30 meters wide, lies
1,225 meters above sea level, crowning
the Cordillera de la Gran Piedra. It is
famous not only in Cuba, but also in the
Caribbean islands for being the largest
rock in the region. In addition to being
a stunning natural viewpoint, the area’s
animal life is also appealing to many.
A number of bird species, including woodpeckers,
thrushes, Cuban todies, hawks, ground doves,
red-shouldered blackbirds and Cuba’s national
bird, the Cuban trogon, fly around this huge
boulder. Plant life, on the other hand, is nothing
but exclusive, with 222 and 352 varieties of ferns
and orchids, respectively, as well as many other
species, such as eucalyptus, pinos maestrenses (an
endemic species of pine trees), cypress trees and a
wide variety of fruit trees, among them, amazingly
enough, endemic apples and peaches. And just one
kilometer away are Santiago de Cuba’s Botanical
Gardens, where several specimens of heliconia,
dahlia, magnolia and other species endemic to
colder regions are grown thanks to the area’s
refreshingly cool microclimate. Visitors can relax
at the Gran Piedra Hotel, with 22 bungalows, where
nature lovers can enjoy a number of activities that
include hiking, mountain climbing, bicycle touring
and birdwatching.
The mountains also have a unique historical
heritage. Its approximately 60 coffee plantations,
set up in the late 18th century by French farmers
who fled Haiti after the 1791 slave rebellion, turned
Cuba into the world’s number-one coffee producer
in the early 19th century. The ruins of these coffee
plantations are now a UNESCO World Heritage
Site centered on the Cafetal la Isabélica. The area
is also included in the Baconao UNESCO Biosphere
Reserve, instituted in 1987.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 51
Gran Parque Natural Baconao
& Valle de la Prehistoria
Approximately 20 kilometers away from the city of
Santiago de Cuba is Parque Baconao with a surface
area of 84,600 hectares. The name Baconao comes
from the local legend of an indigenous child who
lived in southern Cuba in pre-Columbian times. It
is said that a magic Bacona tree taught the little
Indian how to play music using shells from a
nearby lagoon. One day, the child went out for a
walk and was never seen again, although his music
could still be heard in the woods. Locals thought
that the trees had absorbed the magic of the child
and over time started calling the area Baconao.
Listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Baconao
Park boasts over 1,800 endemic species of plants,
from craning royal palms to prickly cliffside
cacti, and a large number of endangered bats and
spiders. Baconao is also famous for its crabs. From
mid-March to early May, tens of thousands of large
land crabs congregate along the coast beyond
Playa Verraco, where unfortunately many of them
get squashed by passing cars.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
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page 52
July 3-9, 2014
Santiago de Cuba
Festival del Caribe, Fiesta del Fuego
Each year in July, the Festival del Caribe, Fiesta del
Fuego takes place in Santiago de Cuba. Considered
Cuba’s most Caribbean city, Santiago is the natural
venue for this colorful and joyful celebration that
aims at harmonizing the identities of the peoples
of the region beyond geographic and linguistic
diversity. It also seeks to promote the exchange
of opinions and experiences among artists of
different styles.
pace from Plaza de Marte to Parque Céspedes,
displaying the spiritual richness of the men and
women of the Caribbean, in a colorful display of
contagious rhythm.
Initiated in April 1981, the Festival del Caribe
received the support of many Latin American
Fernández Retamar, Barbadian George Lamming,
Dominican Juan Bosch, Brazilian Thiago de Mello,
Colombian Gabriel García Márquez and Jamaican
Rex Nettleford. One of the reasons why it became
so popular so quickly is that it aimed at showcasing
a segment of Caribbean folk culture that hadn’t yet
received the level of recognition it deserved.
The “El Caribe que nos une” (The Caribbean which
Unites Us All) international colloquium focuses on
issues related to the preservation, development
and dissemination of Caribbean cultural diversity,
as well as actions which could contribute to
the unity of the region and promote a cultural
exchange with the rest of America and the world.
As is traditional, the 2014 Festival del Caribe will
feature the Desfile de la Serpiente, or the Serpent
Parade. Locals and visitors seem to enter into a
kind of collective trance as they move at conga
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page 53
Preview of the 2014
Festival del Caribe
For eight days, Santiago de Cuba will get no rest or
sleep as its people, the true leading figures of this
festival, immerse themselves in the cultural events
that will occupy nearly 50 venues in the city, most
of which will be open spaces. Santiagueros are
experts at hosting this 34-year-old festival and at
welcoming over 1,000 visitors that will be arriving
from all over the Caribbean and other parts of the
world. The week-long Fire Festival literally fires up
the streets of Santiago de Cuba and its people.
The Quema del Diablo (The Burning of the Demon)
marks the end of the festival when all of its
participants head to the seaside and there burn
the Great Demon, which symbolizes all bad things.
When it is burned, it is believed that the way is
paved for the next year’s meeting.
This year’s Fiesta del Fuego will be dedicated to
Suriname, a South American and Caribbean country
that is made up of elements that are present in all
the region. Audiences will surely enjoy the music,
dance, literature, cuisine, theater and visual arts
proposals from Suriname in the eastern city of
Santiago de Cuba, home to the largest festival
dedicated to the Caribbean influence in Cuba. Six
communities from Suriname have been proposed
to receive the Casa del Caribe International Prize,
which is awarded since 1999 to outstanding
figures involved in the research and promotion of
traditional popular culture.
The 34th edition of the Fiesta del Fuego will
also honor the Colombian writer Gabriel García
Márquez and Dominican singer, Sonia Silvestre,
both recently deceased. Sonia Silvestre, who was
very popular in Cuba since her beginnings in show
business, was the star of the 2006 Festival, which
was dedicated to her country, the Dominican
Republic. The Festival will also pay posthumous
tribute to the Jamaican politician and academician
Norman Girvan.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
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page 54
Fiesta del Fuego Program
July 8
Casa del Caribe, 10am.5pm
July 2
Countryside-style fiesta “El Platanal de Bartolo”
Casa del Caribe, 9pm
Comunidad Nuevo Vista Alegre, 10am
Welcoming show.
Gran gagá (festivity of Haitian origin)
July 3
Teatro Heredia, 12m
Teatro Heredia, 3pm
Closing ceremony of The Caribbean which Unites
Us All Colloquium
Opening gala
Playa Juan Gonzalez, 4pm
Casa del Caribe, 7pm
Opening of exhibition of works by sculptor
Alberto Lescay
CIROA, 10pm
Inauguration of Casa de Suriname
Ode to Yemayá
Casa del escultor Alberto Lescay, 5pm
Garga de la mpaka (symbol of the Festival del
Caribe) and community artistic show
July 3
July 4
Casa del Caribe, 10am
Teatro Heredia, 9am
Inauguration of The Caribbean which Unites Us
All Colloquium
Teatro Heredia, 10am
Workshop on religions of the peoples of the
Rumba meeting
Centro de Prensa del Festival del Caribe, 11am
Presentation of the 35th Festival del Caribe, 2015
dedicated to the 500th anniversary of f Santiago
de Cuba
Desde el parque Céspedes hasta la Alameda,
Casa del Caribe, 10am-5pm
Cuban-Haitian festivity.
Comunidad de Los Hoyos, 4pm
Fire Parade, dedication of the 35th Festival del
Caribe in 2015 and the Burning of the Demon.
The delegation from Suriname will receive the
keys to the community of Los Hoyos
July 5
Desde la plaza de Marte hasta el parque
Céspedes, 5pm
Serpent parade
July 6
Casa del Caribe, 10am-5pm
Antillean fiesta
Fortaleza San Pedro de la Roca, 5pm
Traveling show
Teatro Heredia, 9pm
Suriname Gala
July 7
Conjunto monumentario Loma del Cimarrón,
El Cobre, 5pm
Show honoring the slave rebelliousness
Galas: México, Argentina and Curacao
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 55
El Guajirito
Nightly from 9:30pm
Legendarios del Guajirito
by Margaret Atkins
Are you a Cuban music lover? Real Cuban music?
The one that puts spice to the hips, wings to the
feet and fire in the heart. The kind of music that no
one is indifferent to. The one that has traveled the
world and never seems to grow old or outdated.
So if you are in fact one of those people, there is
one place you cannot skip on your visit to Havana,
and that is El Guajirito. Because at 9:30 pm on the
dot, El Guajirito stops being just a restaurant with
beautiful and friendly waitresses, delicious Criollo
and international cuisine and attractive cocktails,
and becomes a temple to Cubanness, with
incredible musicians of incomparable rhythms,
passion filled singers and tireless dancers. These
are Legendarios del Guajirito—the Legendary
Musicians of El Guajirito…and of Cuba.
You will be amazed by the tremendous display of
pep of Benito Policarpo, who sings and dances
without missing a step or falling behind his
beautiful, young partner. This would not be news
except that Benito is 81 years old. He was the
leader of the famous Caney band and producer of
Compay Segundo’s first 45 rpm record. The guys at
El Guajirito jokingly call him “chama” (the kid) and
while he shows off his skills back at his dressing
room before the show starts, he tells us that the
secret to his longevity and spirit probably lies in
the power that emanates from this island’s music
that has always accompanied him.
Legendarios, which is the name of the show
that is put on there every night, comes from
the musicians who have become true legends of
international fame. While you dine, you can enjoy
the unique Maida Mitchell, one of those Cuban
women who are more charming as years go by.
Her voice rises in temperamental interpretations
that have matured throughout her performances
at the famous Tropicana cabaret and which she
now offers in a style that is marked by the constant
exchange with the audiences.
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 56
At El Guajirito, you will have the unique privilege
of enjoying the performances of a number of
musicians of Buena Vista Social Club and AfroCuban All Stars fame: Luis Mariano Valiente, better
known as “Betún,” whose display of virtuosity at the
drums is enough to make the night unforgettable;
Lázaro Villa, who stands out for his elegant singing
style; Felix Baloy Jr, Luis Bárzaga, Alberto Virgilio
Valdés... The popular actor Alden Knight hosts
the show and the charismatic showman Jeiler will
make you sing, dance and laugh with his art. The
powerful sounds of the Sierra Maestra and Caña
Santa bands fill the room and at that moment, you
fall inevitably under the spell of Cuban rhythms.
By the end of the night, you too will have become
singer and dancer overcoming whatever trace
of shyness or stage fright you might have had.
Such is the irresistible charm of these veritable
musicians and singers. The show closes with the
Guantanamera, which has become a symbol of
Cuban identity, and with “Viva Cuba!” which sums
up the spirit of the show.
As I read what I have just written, I realize that
I have failed to describe fully what my eyes saw,
what my ears heard, what my feet danced. As I
said earlier, you have to experience Legendarios
del Guajirito for yourself. And when you do, you
will have come to know and enjoy the spirit of the
people of this island—this resilient people who
cry and laugh with the same intensity as they
dance and who make jokes of their hardships. At
El Guajirito, you will have been part of the legend
that takes place there every night, in this temple of
all things Cuban.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
CUC 50 for dinner & show
Every night from 9.30pm
Reservations can be made through your travel
agent or directly at “El Tablao de Pancho”
(restaurant at same address).
Zulueta No. 660 entre Apodaca y Gloria,
Habana Vieja
Tel: +53 (07) 861-7761
+53 5 422-3648
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 57
A love affair with the
Cuban Circus
by Rigel
It doesn’t seem real, but my grandmother swears it’s
true: One time, when she was little, one of the many
circuses that visited the sugar mill brought a Polar
bear to the sweltering island of Cuba.
When the children at the Covadonga Sugar Mill
saw that great white beast, their mouths dropped
open. The only thing that dragged them away from
the cage was the certain punishment awaiting
them at home if their escapade was to be found
out. Driven by their curiosity, girls and boys had
come to see the exotic animal on their recess
The escape from the schoolyard was worth it. It
isn’t every day that you can say: “They’ve brought
a Polar bear!” People talked about how the circus
performers had to throw buckets of ice water
every so often to cool off the poor animal who
only moved his head back and forth and huffed
and puffed, half dead from the heat.
The adventure that is the Cuban circus is
surrealistic and amazing, involving more than 200
years of history. The first wandering artists were
the ancestors of what became, with the passage
of time, two branches of the theatrical arts, many
times sharing a symbiotic relationship between
them—the circus and the vernacular theatre. By
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 59
around 1800, in what would become the Plaza
de Marte, a canvas lean-to called Circo Ecuestre
(equestrian circus) was erected; in time, this
came to be called the Cuban Circus. The Circo
Ecuestre was the oldest of its kind and became the
artistic training ground of Francisco Covarrubias,
considered to be the Father of Theater in Cuba.
But it wasn’t until the first years of the 20th century
that a veritable explosion of circuses occurred
in Cuba. There were all types and sizes, from the
two-bit tents with artists accompanied by their
children to the great glamorous Cuban circus
companies that toured the entire island.
The circus was the last of the theatrical enterprises
to be completely nationalized after 1959. The
National Circus of Cuba debuted at the well-known
Parque del Curita in Centro Habana. In February of
1962, the young Revolutionary Government gave
the Tourist Attractions and Centers Enterprise a
four-masted blue tent, a 34-car train with kitchens,
dormitories, offices, restaurants, electrical
generator, drinking water tank, bathrooms and a
daycare center for the artists’ children. The Blue
Tent toured the entire country for ten straight
Born in 1981, the Circuba Festival was forced to
take a long hiatus in 1991 due to the profound crisis
in the country. In 2008, it returned to the circus
world of Cuba. Since then, it has become the
largest circus festival on the American continent
and one of the most important festivals in the
world. Great State companies such as those from
Russia, China and Vietnam attend the event as well
as European, Latin American and North American
artists. The Circuba Festival culminates with the
national Circuba Tours Cuba event, which takes
the best acts to other cities outside the capital
throughout the island.
In 2005, the Trompoloco Tent was inaugurated
at its site on 5th Avenue and 112 in Playa, next
to the former Coney Island—now Isla del Coco
Amusement Park. The tent is headquarters for the
National Circus and gives shows every Saturday
and Sunday at 4 pm and 7 pm. Cuban circus artists
can also be seen at the Mella Theater and in night
clubs such as the Tropicana Cabaret and the Meliá
Cohíba Hotel’s Habana Café.
Continue to read full article + slideshow
.com With a passion for Cuba
page 60
El Litoral
Havana’s best places to eat
El Atelier
Café Bohemia
Café Laurent
CA 4+
La California
CA 5
Experimental fusion
Beautiful décor, interesting
Bohemian feel. Great
sandwiches, salads & juices
Beautiful penthouse restaurant
with lovely terrace.
Beautiful C19 colonial building.
Great fresh pastas.
Calle 5 e/ Paseo y 2, Vedado
(+53) 7-836-2025
Calle San Ignacio #364, Habana
Calle M #257, e/ 19 y 21, Vedado
(+53) 7-831-2090
La Casa
Casa Miglis
Calle Crespo #55 e/ San Lázaro
y Refugio, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-863 7510
CA 4+
CA 5
CA 5
Contemporary fusion
Swedish-Cuban fusion
Walter’s place. Great pizza.
Quick & reliably good
VIP service. The Robaina family
place. Thurs Sushi night.
Oasis of good food & taste in
Centro Habana
Fabulous value hole in the wall
tapas. Trendy.
Ave. 3ra #3804 e/ 38 y 40,
(+53) 7-203 0261
Calle 30 #865 e/ 26 y 41, Nuevo
(+53) 7-881-7000
Lealtad #120 e/ Ánimas y
Lagunas, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-864-1486
Teniente Rey #457 bajos, Plaza
del Cristo, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-872-8227
El Cocinero
Corte Príncipe CA
Cocina Lilliam CA
CA 5+
Il Divino
CA 4+
Beautiful garden setting, quite
Spectacular industrial chic
alfresco rooftop with a buzzing
Sergio’s place. Simple décor,
spectacular food, excellent
Set in huge gardens outside
town. Great for the kids.
Calle 26, e/ 11 y 13, Vedado.
(+53) 7-832-2355
Calle 9na esq. a 74, Miramar
(+53) 5-255-9091
Calle Raquel, #50 e/ Esperanza
y Lindero, Mantilla, Arroyo
(+53) 7-643-7734
D. Eutimia
La Fontana
Calle 48 #1311, e/ 13 y 15,
(+53) 7-209-6514
CA 5
CA 5+
CA 4+
CA 4+
Cuban fusion
Calle38 #705 e/ 42 y 7ma, Playa
(+53) 7-209-3260
Absolutely charming. Great
Intimate, idiosyncratic &
charming (although not cheap).
Consistently good food,
attentive service. Old school.
Callejón del Chorro #60C, Plaza
de la Catedral, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7 861 1332
Calle 16 #105 e/ 1ra y 3ra,
(+53) 7-202-4361
Calle 46 #305 esq. a 3ra,
(+53) 7-202-8337
La Guarida
Iván Chef
El Litoral
CA 5+
CA 5+
CA 5+
CA 5
Justifiably famous. Follow
footsteps of Queen of Spain &
Brilliantly creative and rich
Watch the world go by at the
Malecón’s best restaurant.
Aguacate #9, esq. a Chacón,
Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-863-9697
Malecón #161 e/ K y L, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-2201
Interesting and varied menu.
Lovely second floor terrace in
quiet neighborhood.
O’Reilly 304
Concordia #418 e/ Gervasio y
Escobar, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-866-9047
CA 5
Homely & intimate
environment. Quality food in a
beautiful setting.
Calle 5ta #204 e/ E y F, Vedado
(+53) 7-831-2255
San Cristóbal
CA 5+
CA 4+
CA 4+
Calle 13 #406 e/ F y F, Vedado
(+53) 7 832 4894
Río Mar
CA 5
O’Reilly #304 e/Habana y
Aguiar, Habana Vieja
(+53) 5-264-4725
Kitsch pizza place with animals.
Great after the beach.
Contemporary décor.
Wonderful sea-view.
Calle 5ta A #50206 e/ 502 y
504, Guanabo, Habana del Este
(+53) 796-4300
Ave. 3raA y Final #11, La Puntilla,
(+53) 7-209-4838
El Templete
CA 5+
CA 5
CA 5-
Deservedly popular.Consistently
great food. Kitsch décor.
Authentic fisherman’s shack
servicing world-class sushi.
Spacious. Serving some of
Havana’s best food at present.
Overlooking harbor. Good
quality but expensive.
Calle 29 #205 e/ B y C, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-0711
Ave. del Puerto #12 esq. a
Narciso López, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-866-8807
San Rafael #469 e/ Lealtad y
Campanario, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-860-9109
Calle 240A #3023 esq. a 3ra C,
(+53) 5-286-7039
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page 66
El Cocinero
CA 5+
Style of food
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Fabulous industrial chic alfresco
rooftop with a buzzing atmosphere, great
service & good food.
Don’t miss The best parties in Havana, held
on the rooftop attracting a new crowd of
Cuban entrepreneurs.
Calle 26, e/ 11 and 13, Vedado.
(+53) 7-832-2355
La Guarida
CA 5+
Style of food
Contemporary fusion
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Authentic, charming and intimate
atmosphere in Cuba’s best known
restaurant. Great food, professional. Classy.
Don’t Miss Uma Thurman, Beyoncé or the
Queen of Spain if they happen to be dining
next to you.
Concordia #418 e/ Gervasio y Escobar, Centro
(+53) 7-866-9047
Iván Chef Justo
CA 5+
Style of food
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Spectacular innovative food. Light
and airy place where it always seems to feel
like Springtime.
Don’t Miss The lightly spiced grilled mahimahi served with organic tomato relish.
Try the suckling pig and stay for the cuatro
Aguacate #9, Esq. Chacón, Habana Vieja.
(+53) 7-863-9697 / (+53) 5-343-8540
El Litoral
CA 5+
Style of food
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Quality décor, good service and
great food. Best new place recently opened.
Don’t Miss Drinking a cocktail at sunset
watching the world go by on the Malecón
Malecón #161 e/ K y L, Vedado.
(+53) 7-830-2201
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page 67
CA 5+
Style of food
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Fabulous sushi, wonderful ambience
overlooking fishing boats heading out to sea.
World class.
Don’t miss Getting a reservation here.
Calle 240A #3023 esq. 3raC, Jaimanitas.
(+53) 5-286-7039
CA 5
Style of food
Experimental fusion
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Interesting menu, beautiful building
with great décor and service.
Don’t miss Dinner on the breezy terrace
during summer.
Calle 5ta e/ Paseo y 2, Vedado
(+53) 7-836-2025
[email protected]
La Casa
CA 5
Style of food
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Warm hospitality and openness
from the four generations of the Robaina
family. Quality food.
Don’t miss Thursday night sushi night.
The Piña Colada.
Calle 30 #865 e/ 26 y 41, Nuevo Vedado.
(+53) 7-881-7000
[email protected]
Casa Miglis
CA 5
Style of food
Swedish-Cuban fusion
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for The beautifully designed interior,
warm ambience and Miglis’s personality
create the feeling of an oasis in Central
Don’t Miss Chatting with Mr Miglis.
The Skaargan prawns, beef Chilli and
Lealtad #120 e/ Ánimas y Lagunas, Centro Habana.
(+53) 7-864-1486
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page 68
La California
CA 5
Style of food
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Beautiful C19 colonial building.
Popular place with quality food and great
service. Love the fresh pastas.
Dont’t Miss The interesting history of the
neighbourhood, where Chano Pozo (legendary Afro-Cuban jazz percussionist) hung out.
Calle Crespo #55 e/ San Lázaro y Refugio,
Centro Habana
(+53) 7-863-7510
Corte del Príncipe
CA 5+
Style of food
Type of place Paladar (private)
Best for Spectacular homemade Italian pas
tas. Cozy atmosphere, excellent service.
Worst for Getting a reservation. Not cheap
(although its worth it)
9na esq. 74, Playa
CA 5
Style of food
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Homely & intimate environment.
Quality food in a beautiful setting. By
reservation only.
Don’t miss The fresh pasta & vegetarian
dishes. Having a game of pool in elegant
Calle 5ta #204 e/ E y F, Vedado
(+53) 7-831-2255
[email protected]
Café Bohemia
CA 5
Style of food
Type of place Private (Paladar)
Best for Bohemian feel. Great sandwiches,
salads & juices
Don’t miss Thursday night happy hour
Ground floor of the Palacio de la Casa del Conde
de Lombillo, Calle San Ignacio #364,
(Next to Factoría Plaza Vieja)
[email protected]
.com July 2014
page 69
Sloppy Joe’s
Havana’s best Bars & Clubs
Traditional Bars
El Floridita
CA 4+
Hemingway’s daiquiri bar.
Touristy but always full of life.
Great cocktails.
Obispo #557 esq. a Monserrate,
Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-867-1299
Plaza Vieja
CA 5
Microbrewery. Serves ice
chilled bong of light locally
brewed beer. New locale as
well overlooking Havana bay.
San Ignacio esq. a Muralla,
Plaza Vieja, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-866-4453
Joe’s Bar
CA 4+
Recently (beautifully)
renovated. Full of history.
Popular. Lacks a little ‘grime’.
Ánimas esq. a Zulueta, Habana
(+53) 7-866-7157
Antiguo Almacén
Madera y el Tabaco
CA 5+
Stunningly well done larger
version of the microbrewery
on Plaza Vieja. Located by
the waterfront area. Simply
Avenida del Puerto y San
Ignacio, La Habana Vieja
Contemporary Bars
El Cocinero
CA 5+
Fabulous rooftop setting, great
service, cool vibe.
Calle 26 e/ 11 y 13, Vedado
(+53) 7-832-2355
CA 5-
Laid back contemporary bar
with a real buzz in the back
Calle 10 #510, e/ 5ta y 31,
(+53) 7-836-3031
CA 4+
Spacious modern bar. Good
service and nice cocktails. Nonsmoking inside.
Calle B e/ Línea y Calzada,
(+53) 7-836-3031
Contemporary bars/clubs
Bertolt Brecht
CA 5
Think MTV Unplugged when
musicians play. Hip, funky and
unique with an artsy Cuban
Calle 13 e/ I y J, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-1354
Meliá Sports Bar CA
Big-screen sports-bar in
modern outdoor terrace
with cooling air jets (when
working!). Good for sports
and live music, not cheap for
Meliá Habana Hotel
Ave. 3ra e/ 76 y 80, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-8500
CA 4
Über modern and stylish indoor
bar/club. Miami style crowd
and attitude.
CA 4+
Popular modern bar. Can get
smoky and a little tight on
space by the bar.
de Arte
CA 5+
X Alfonso’s new cultural center.
Great concerts, funky young
Calle 26 e/ 11 y 13, Vedado
(next to the Puente de Hierro)
(+53) 5-329-6325
CA 5
For the cool kids. Basement
bar/club which gets packed at
Calle 94 #110 e/ 1ra y 3ra,
(+53) 7-206-4167
Ave. 1ra e/ 58 y 60, Miramar
Ave. 21 e/ 36 y 42, Miramar
(+53) 7-264-8343
Las Piedras
El Tocororo
Don Cangrejo CA
CA 4+
Large mansion functioning as
bar of choice for the after-party
(3am+), when it gets packed to
the rafters.
Ave. 1ra y 32, Miramar
(+53) 7-202-9486
CA 4+
Expat favorite hangout. Small
indoor bar with live music and
eclectic clientele.
Calle 18 e/ 3ra y 5ta, Miramar
Love it/hate it—they have at
least filled in the pool—this is
the oldest Friday night party
place and is still going strong.
Outdoor by the sea.
Ave. 1ra e/ 16 & 18, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-3837
rk and smoky but
show (11pm) from
ne of Cuba’s most
hed drag acts.
4 e/ 25 y 27, Vedado.
CA 4
al Cielo
CA 5
Friday night attracts a LGBTI
crowd. Great bands, hip crowd,
pole dancing—what more
could you want?
Zulueta #660 e/ Apodaca y
Gloria, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-861-9198
Bar Havana
CA 5
A superb example of
queer class meets camp,
accompanied by a fantastic
floor show.
Humboldt 52
CA 4
Humboldt #52 e/ Infanta y
Hospital, Centro Habana.
(+53) 5-330-2989
San Juan de Dios, esq. a
Aguacate, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-867-1676
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page 71
Bertolt Brecht
CA 5
Contemporary Bar/clubs
Service & drinks
Best for Hanging out with hip & funky
Cubans who like their live music.
Don’t Miss Interactivo playing on a
Wednesday evening.
Calle 13 e/ I y J, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-1354
Escaleras al Cielo
CA 5
Gay friendly
Service & drinks
Best for Interesting venue with good décor
and great bands. Busy
Don’t Miss Friday night attracts a LGBTI
crowd. Great bands, hip crowd, pole
dancing—what more could you want?
Zulueta #660 e/ Apodaca y Gloria, Habana Vieja
(+53) 5-2861-9198
Fábrica de Arte
CA 5+
Contemporary Bar
Service & drinks
Best for X Alfonso’s superb new cultural
center has something for everyone
Don’t Miss Ne pas manquer Les meilleurs
musiciens cubains
Calle 26 e/ 11 y 13, Vedado
(next to the Puente de Hierro)
Don Cangrejo
CA 4+
Service & drinks
Best for Interesting venue with good décor
and great bands. Busy.
Don’t Miss Friday night attracts a LGBTI
crowd. Great bands, hip crowd, pole
dancing—what more could you want?
Ave. 1ra e/ 16 y 18, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-3837
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Privé Lounge
CA 5
Service & drinks
Best for Intimate lounge club with quality
decor and great acoustics.
Don’t Miss Sunday night jazz – brilliant
musicans play here.
Calle 88A #306 e/ 3ra y 3raA, Miramar
(+53) 7-209-2719
Humboldt 52
CA 5
Gay friendly
Service & drinks
Best for Hot staff, comfortable setting, and
welcoming vibe at Havana’s first full-time,
openly-gay bar
Don’t Miss The disco ball, a talented opera
duo performing Wednesdays and karaoke
and drag performances other days of the
Humboldt #52 e/ Infanta y Hospital, Centro Ha(+53) 5-330-2989
CA 5+
Contemporary Bar/CLUB
Service & drinks
Best for Hanging out with the cool kids on
the Havana Farundula in the most popular
Don’t Miss The best gin and tonic in Havana.
Ave. 21 e/ 36 y 42, Miramar
(+53) 5-264-8343
CA 5-
Contemporary Bar
Service & drinks
Best for Laid back lounge atmosphere in
the garden area which often has live music.
Good turnover of people.
Don’t Miss Ray Fernandez, Tony Avila, Yasek
Mazano playing live sets in the garden.
Calle 10 #510 e/ 5ta y 31, Miramar
(+53) 7-202-2921
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Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís
Havana’s best live music venues
Concert venues
Karl Marx
CA 5
World class musicians perform
prestigious concerts in Cuba’s
best equipped venue.
Calle 1ra esq. a 10, Miramar
(+53) 7-203-0801
Café Jazz
CA 4+
This newish club is clean,
modern and atmospheric
where Cuba’s best musicians
jam and improvise.
Cine Teatro Miramar
10:30pm – 2am
Ave. 5ta esq. a 94, Miramar
Café Cantante
Mi Habana
CA 4
Attracts the best Cuban
musicians to play including for
matinees. Recently renovated
with an excellent new sound
Ave. Paseo esq. a 39, Plaza de la
(+53) 7-878-4273
Café Teatro
Bertolt Brecht
CA 5
Think MTV Unplugged when
musicians play. Hip, funky and
unique with an artsy Cuban
Calle 13 e/ I y J, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-1354
Trova & traditional
Pepito’s Bar
CA 4+
Some of the best Cuban Nueva
Trova musicians perform
in this small and intimate
Calle 26 esq. a Ave. del
Zoológico. Nuevo Vedado
(+53) 7-881-1808
Basílica Menor CA 5 Fábrica de Arte CA 5 Sala CovarrubiasCA
de San Francisco de X Alfonso’s new cultural center. Teatro Nacional
Great concerts inside (small
Recently renovated, this is
and funky) and outside (large
A truly beautiful church,
which regularly hosts fabulous
classical music concerts.
Oficios y Amargura, Plaza de
San Francisco de Asís, Habana
Jazz Café
CA 4
A staple of Havana’s jazz
scene, the best jazz players
perform here. Somewhat cold
atmosphere wise.
Galerías de Paseo
Ave. 1ra e/ Paseo y A, Vedado
Casa de la
CA 4
and popular!). Great mix of
Calle 26 e/ 11 y 13, Vedado (next
to the Puente de Hierro)
Privé Lounge
CA 5+
Small and intimate lounge
club with great acoustics and
beautiful decor. Jazz groups
play Sunday night.
Calle 88A #306 e/ 3ra y 3raA,
(+53) 7-209-2719
Casa de la
CA 4
Centro Habana
A little rough around the edges
but spacious. For better or
worse, this is ground zero for
the best in Cuban salsa.
Smaller and more up-market
than its newer twin in Centro
Habana. This is an institution
in the Havana salsa scene
although probably seen better
Galiano e/ Neptuno y
Concordia, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-860-8296/4165
Don Cangrejo CA
Calle 20 esq. a 35, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-0447
Love it/hate it—they have at
least filled in the pool—this is
the oldest Friday night party
place and is still going strong.
Outdoor by the sea.
Ave. 1ra e/ 16 y 18, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-3837
Gato Tuerto
CA 4+
Late night place to hear
fabulous bolero singers. Can
get smoky.
Calle O entre 17 y 19, Vedado
(+53) 7-833-2224
El Sauce
CA 5-
Great outdoor concert venue to
hear the best in contemporary
& Nueva Trova live in concert.
Ave. 9na #12015 e/ 120 y 130,
(+53) 7-204-6428
de Guajirito
CA 5
See Buena Vista Social Club
musicians still performing
nightly from 9pm. Touristy but
Zulueta #660 e/ Apodaca y
Gloria, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-861-7761
.com July 2014
one of Cuba’s most prestigious
venues for a multitude of
Paseo y 39, Plaza de la
La Zorra y el
CA 5
Intimate and atmospheric,
this basement club, which
you enter through the Red
telephone box, is Cuba’s most
famous jazz club.
Calle 23 e/ N y O, Vedado
(+53) 7-833-2402
Salón Rosado
de la Tropical
CA 5
The legendary beer garden
where Arsenio tore it up in
the 40s Look for a salsa/timba
gig on a Sat night and a Sun
matinee with an older crowd.
Ave. 41 esq. a 46, Playa
Times: varies wildly
(+53) 7-203-5322
Teatro de
Bellas Artes
CA 4+
Small intimate venue inside
Cuba’s most prestigious arts
museum. Modern.
Trocadero e/ Zulueta y
Monserrate, Habana Vieja.
CA 4+
Salón 1930
‘Compay Segundo’
Buena Vista Social Club style
set in the grand Hotel Nacional.
Hotel Nacional
Calle O esq. a 21, Vedado
(+53) 7-835-3896
page 74
Havana’s Best Hotels
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Simply the best…
Parque Central
Luxury hotel overlooking
Parque Central
Neptuno e/ Prado y Zulueta,
Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-860-6627
Santa Isabel
CA 5+
Luxurious historic mansion
facing Plaza de Armas
CA 5+
Stunning view from roof-top
pool. Beautiful décor.
Narciso López, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-860-8201
CA 5
Wonderful ocean front
location. Newly renovated.
Paseo del Prado #603 esq. a
Dragones, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-860-8201
Malecón esq. a Lealtad, Centro
(+53) 7-862-8061
Boutique Hotels in Old Havana
CA 5
Beautifully restored colonial
Obispo #252, esq. a Cuba,
Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-862-4127
Business Hotels
Meliá Cohíba
CA 5
Oasis of polished marble and
professional calm.
Ave Paseo e/ 1ra y 3ra, Vedado
(+53) 7- 833-3636
Palacio del
CA 5
Cuban baroque meets modern
Oficios #152 esq. a Amargura,
Habana Vieja
Meliá Habana
CA 5
Attractive design & extensive
CA 4
A must for Hemingway
Mercure Sevilla CA
Stunning views from the roof
garden restaurant.
Calle Obispo #153 esq. a
Mercaderes, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7- 860-9529
Trocadero #55 entre Prado y
Zulueta, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-860-8560
Economical/Budget Hotels
CA 3
On the banks of the Río
Calle 28-A e/ 49-A y 49-B,
Reparto Kohly, Playa
(+53) 7-204-9232
CA 3
Lack of pretension, great
Galiano e/ Sán Lázaro y
Malecón, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-866-8812
Immensely charming, great
Oficios #53 esq. a Obrapía,
Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-867-1037
CA 4+
Good value, large spacious
modern rooms.
Ave. 3ra y 70, Miramar
(+53) 5-204-8500
For a sense of history
Ambos Mundos
Hostal Valencia CA
Conde de
CA 5
Delightfully small and intimate.
For cigar lovers.
Mercaderes #202, esq. a
(+53) 7-862-9293
H10 Habana
CA 4+
Cascades of glass. Good wi-fi.
Ave. 5ta. e/ 70 y 72, Miramar
(+53) 7-204-3583
Ave. 3ra. y 70, Miramar
(+53) 7 204-0100
Hotel Nacional
CA 5
Eclectic art-deco architecture.
Gorgeous gardens.
CA 3
Spectacular views over wavelashed Malecón
Calle O esq. a 21, Vedado
(+53) 7-835 3896
Paseo y Malecón, Vedado
(+53) 7-836-4051
Saint John’s
CA 3
Lively disco, tiny quirky pool.
Calle O e/ 23 y 25, Vedado
(+53) 7-833-3740
.com July 2014
CA 3
Good budget option with a bit
of a buzz
Calle O e/ 23 y 25, Vedado
(+53) 7-836-4072
page 75
Havana’s best private
places to stay
Rosa D’Ortega
For Help reserving any Private Accommodation (Casas Particulares) in Cuba please contact
[email protected]
Mid range - Casa Particular (B&B)
CA 4
Carlos in cuba
CA 5
Gay Friendly BED and
Breakfast in Havana
Visually stunning, historically
fascinating. Welcoming.
Campanario #63 e/ San Lázaro
y Laguna, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-863-6203
Calle 2 #505 e/ 23 y 21, Vedado
(+53) 7-833-1329
(+53) 5-295-4893
[email protected]
CA 5
Beautiful colonial townhouse
with great location.
Julio y Elsa
CA 5
Cluttered bohemian feel.
Calle Habana #209, e/
Empedrado, y Tejadillo, Habana
(+53) 7-861-0253
Consulado #162 e/ Colón y
Trocadero, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-861-8027
Hostal Guanabo
Up-scale B&Bs (Boutique hostals)
Rosa D’Ortega
CA 5
Beautiful and welcoming large
Patrocinio #252 esq. a Juan
Bruno Zayas, 10 de Octubre
(+53) 5 403 1568
[email protected]
CA 5
Hospitable, attractive and
reliable boutique B&B with 9
Habana #106 e/ Cuarteles y
Chacón, Habana Vieja
(+53) 7-866-2607
CA 5+
Ydalgo Martínez Matos’s
spacious and contemporary
3-bedroom penthouse is
CA 5
Beautiful 4 bedroom seafront villa in sleepy Guanabo.
Excellent food.
Calle I #260 e/ 15 y 17, Vedado
(+53) 5-830-8727
Calle 480 #1A04 e/ 1ra y 3ra,
(+53) 7-799-0004
Habana Vista
Suite Havana
Apartment rentals
Bohemia Hostal CA
Gorgeous 1-bedroom
apartment beautifully
decorated apartment
overlooking Plaza Vieja.
San Ignacio #364 e/ Muralla
y Teniente Rey, Plaza Vieja
Habana Vieja
(+53) 5- 403-1 568
(+53) 7-836-6567
Luxury Houses
CA 5
Rent Room elegant and wellequipped. Beautiful wild
garden and great pool.
Calle 17 #1101 e/ 14 y 16, Vedado
(+34) 677525361
(+53) 7-832-1927
(+53) 5-360-0456
Casa Concordia CA
Beautifully designed
and spacious 3 bedroom
apartment. Spanish colonial
interiors with cheerful, arty
CA 5
Two-storey penthouse b&b
with private pool
Calle 13 # 51 esq. a N, Vedado
(+53) 5-388-7866
Lamparilla #62 altos e/
Mercaderes y San Ignacio,
Habana Vieja
(+53) 5-829-6524
Concordia #151 apto. 8 esq. a
San Nicolás, Centro Habana
(+53) 5-254-5240
CA 5
Elegant well-equipped villa
formerly owned by Fulgencio
Batista. Beautiful wild garden.
Morro-Cabaña Park. House #29
(+53) 5-294-5397
and María Elena
This leafy oasis in western
Havana has an attractive
mosaic tiled pool and three
modern bedrooms.
Calle 66 #4507 e/ 45 y Final,
(+53) 7-209-0084
.com July 2014
CA 5
Elegant 2-bedroom apartment
in restored colonial building.
Quality loft style décor.
CA 5
A sprawling vanilla-hued
mansion with 6 rooms
decorated with colonial-era
lamps, tiles and Louis XV
(+53) 5-370-5559
page 76
Artedel Luxury
CA 5+
3 Bedroom penthouse
Best for Stylish and contemporary furniture
along with a beautiful 360-degree view over
Don’t Miss Ydalgo – an impeccable host,
discreet or gregarious, as you prefer
Calle I #260, e/ 15 and 17, Vedado
(+53) 7-830-8727
Bohemia Hostal
CA 5+
Gorgeous 1 bedroom apartment
Best for Independent beautifully decorated
apartment overlooking Plaza Vieja.
Don’t Miss Spending time in Havana’s most
atmospheric Plaza.
San Ignacio 364 e/ Muralla y Teniente Rey, Plaza
Vieja, Habana Vieja
[email protected]
(+53) 5 4031 568: (53) 7 8366 567
Casa Concordia
CA 5
3 Bedroom apartment
Best for Beautifully designed and spacious
apartment with 5 balconies offering views of
the city and sea.
Don’t Miss Feeling a part of Centro Habana,
the beating heart of the city.
Concordia #151 apto. 8 esq. a San Nicolás, Centro
(+53) 5-254-5240
Rosa D’Ortega
CA 5+
Boutique Villa
Best for Large elegant villa away from the
bustle of downtown Havana. Gracious hosts,
beautiful rooms.
Don’t Miss Exploring the off-the-beaten
track neighbourhood.
Patrocinio #252 esq. a Juan Bruno Zayas, 10 de
(+53) 7-641-4329
.com July 2014
page 77

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