Hot in Cuba - Havana Carnival and Habana Ensemble

Another week brings yet another whole set of events taking place all over Cuba's capital, from salsa concerts and music shows to jazz sessions, art exhibitions and special summer activities for the whole family to enjoy. So, if you're in Havana this week, this is the events calendar to check out before you get there.

Hot in Cuba - Havana Carnival and Habana Ensemble

Follow where the music leads

Havana is a city full of music and movement, so it's only natural that you'll find the biggest choice of events taking place in the capital to be about music, music-related or involving music in some way. At any given time, music in Cuba will offer the most possibilities for enjoying a good night out.

Salsa hotspots and dancing venues

This week music scene in Havana packs a few nice surprises, the most recommended of which (in my humble opinion) is the concert by Alexander Abreu y Havana D’ Primera, which will be staged next Tuesday, 11th Agust at the Casa de la Musica in Miramar. For me this will be the week’s piece de resistance and nobody in Havana on those dates should dare to miss it – not if you’re serious about Cuban music, and particular popular dancing music (or “musica bailable” as the locals call it). The show starts at 5 p.m.

My recommendation for tomorrow’s Friday night if you like to listen and dance to a bit of live salsa is to head to Casa de La Musica de Miramar, which this time will be hosting Jose Luis Cortes (a.k.a. “El Tosco”- an accomplished musician responsible for the creation of the Cuban music genre known as “Timba”) y NG LA Banda with their infectious Cuban fusion rhythms – a night to thoroughly enjoy and remember no doubt. It starts at 11 p.m. Be there!

Saturday night brings a fresher perspective and numerous more options for having a great musical evening in Havana. On 8th August, Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco will be performing in the Casa de la Musica in Centro Habana and this is my recommendation for your night out this Saturday if you like salsa and popular Cuban music.

Alternatively, if you want to get a taste of Havana’s emerging gay scene and LGBT pride, the Café Cantante Mi Habana is the place to head to, home to a weekly show of special acts full of music and colour that officially kicks off at 11 p.m and is entitled Proyecto Divino. Prepare to enjoy a light-hearted session of laughter and flamboyance Cuban style.

Sunday afternoon can treat you to a live concert from Lazaro Valdes y Bamboleo at the Casa de la Musica in Miramar, bringing you yet another opportunity to salsa dance your way into the evening.

Lastly, if you like carnival rhythms and the hypnotic sounds of conga, the Casa de la Musica in Miramar is the place to head to next Monday night (10th August). The popular band from Santiago de Cuba, Sur Caribe will be performing there from 11 p.m. Don’t miss it!

A lil’ bit of Jazz in motion

If Jazz is your thing, my recommendation for this week is to head to Havana’s Jazz Café (inside Galerias Paseo facing the Malecon) at 11 p.m. to listen to saxophonist and composer Cesar Lopez and Habana Ensemble. A quality outing to listen to some quality soulful tunes and check out Havana’s jazz scene.

Art Exhibitions and Fairs

Arte en la Rampa continues its variety of exhibitions in Pabellon Cuba, as mentioned in last week’s calendar, with something for adults and children alike.

On another note, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Old Havana will be opening this week a new exhibition entitled El Mapa del Silencio (The Map of Silence), a collection of arts work by former carpenter, Alexander Arrechea. Highlights include a wall-hanging and mural measuring 25 metres, which according to curator Corina Matamoros, reveals what hasn’t yet been said, even though this piece of reflection stands out as quite obvious (the collection’s name is quite a giveaway).

Recreational options for the whole family

Families with children in Havana this week will have a few shows and activities to consider. If you’d like to take your youngsters to watch a traditional puppet show, bring them along to the Teatro de Titeres, El Arca this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. Don’t let language be a barrier (the storytelling will be in Spanish) as they will most likely be familiar with the stories told (a free adaptation of The Little Mermaid based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale).

Alternatively, Cuba’s National Circus, Circuba will be performing a series of shows throughout August in Carpa Trompoloco. All shows are on Sundays at 11 a.m. with the last one scheduled for 30th August, so if you love the performing arts and happen to be in Cuba from now until the end of August, make sure to catch a show and bring your little ones along!

Something for everyone: Havana Carnival is coming

If you’re in Havana now, you can already see the colourful floats lining up Havana’s Port Avenue with men and women hurrying along to put the finishing touches to this year’s carnival.

Taking place over the next two weekends, kicking off on Friday night all the way until Sunday evening, the Havana Carnival is all set up and ready to dress the city in a flurry of colours and intoxicating tunes. From 7th to 9th August and then again from 14th to 16th August, a series of musical parades and ornate floats will take to the streets, passing through some of the city’s largest avenues and most popular arteries. One of the best places from which to watch the carnival is the Malecon, as the Havana Carnival totally invades it during the festivities. So, if you’re in Havana this weekend or next, don on a party hat and follow a conga line!

Susana Corona

Susana Corona

The islands' go-between

Having lived most of my life between Cuba and the UK and being half-raised in both island nations, I...

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