Casa De La Musica De Miramar
Whether you want to polish your skills on the dance floor or see how the locals let their hair down, head to Casa de la Música in Miramar. Chances are, you'll see global superstars of salsa for just a few CUC. Put on your dancing shoes - the Cuban who asks you to dance is unlikely to take no for an answer!
This is one of the popular Casas de la Musica, a set of state-run venues for concerts which is open to the general public. They feature concerts every afternoon and evening for a small part of the price that it would cost to see these bands and artists in the US or Europe. Many of the acts are internationally acclaimed and - this is Cuba, after all - whether you recognise them or not, they are all are excellent.
Enjoy top class Cuban music and dancing
Smaller and older than the more central Casa de la Música on Galiano, the Miramar venue has become legendary for its salsa bands. It is located in a beautiful old Havana mansion and has a great atmosphere. For those who don't dance, salsa is an impressive spectator sport when performed by Cubans. Not that any of the locals who ask you to dance will take your two left feet as an excuse - they'll gladly accept the challenge!
Aficionados of the Cuban music scene can expect to see big names such as Los Van Van, Adalberto Alvarez y Su Son, Bamboleo, Chucho Valdés, Alexander Abreu or Pupy y Los Que Son Son.
Most Cubans can't afford the evening prices at Casa de la Música and those who are there are often accompanying a tour group or being subsidised by a foreign tourist. On the other hand, someone in the audience might be a Cuban musical or acting superstar - this is their favourite hangout when they are in town.
Access and entrance fee
Casa de la Música is on 20th Street between 33th and 35th Streets in the Miramar/Playa neighbourhood. There are two sessions each day, matinees in the afternoons and another slot at night. Note that each of the two rooms at Casa de la Música de Miramar has a different programme, so make sure you enter the venue where the band you would like to see is due to play!
In the evenings, the venues are open from 10pm-3am and tend to focus on salsa. Despite the claims on the posters, the headliner doesn't normally get started until at least 23:30, but it's worth arriving early to secure a seat at a table. (There is no evening band on a Monday). After the band, a DJ takes over. Depending on the live act, the cover charge is typically $10-25 CUC and a mojito will set you back $4 CUC.
Experienced dancers or those wishing to explore other types of Cuban music may prefer the matinee concerts in the afternoon (between 5pm and 9pm), which tend to be cheaper (so less touristy and with more locals) and often feature other musical genres such as son, trova, or rock. A special treat is the weekly concert by popular local salsa band with a global reputation, Alexander Abreu & Havana D' Primera - every Tuesday afternoon. Entrance to the matinees is $5 CUC.
Whether you are looking for a hot salsa scene to participate in, or as more of a spectator activity, Casa de la Música de Miramar is not to be missed!
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