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Hot in Cuba - All-Cuban stars: Roberto Carcasses and Qva Libre

Find out what's hot this week in Havana with our weekly cultural calendar, where I personally handpick the very best highlights of this week's array of events in the capital. From a stellar concert by serial Grammy winner Descemer Bueno (the one to definitely not miss) to the best salsa bands playing live, the best jazz performances and the 7th edition of the Timbalaye Festival with the Rumba Route, this week is packed full of surprises. Lucky you if you're in Havana this week or the next!

Hot in Cuba - All-Cuban stars: Roberto Carcasses and Qva Libre

It's here, hot from the press and seductively inviting like the smell of freshly baked bread! Follow the sweet smell of Havana's sultry nights and plan your evenings in the capital with this full weekly calendar of events, ranging from music shows and concerts to festivals and family-friendly entertainment. Keep reading to get your juices flowing...

Follow where the music leads

This week comes fully charged and ready to please music lovers in some of Cuba’s most loved music genres. From traditional trova, to hip-shaking salsa tunes, infections Afro-Cuban rhythms and the finest jazz melodies, you’ll have a varied bunch to pick from.

What’s on tonight in Havana

If you love trova (or want the most perfect chance to get introduced to very best of Cuban trova) then I really wish you’re reading this today, on the date of publishing this edition of our weekly calendar, as tonight one of the biggest musical events of this week is taking place at 7 p.m. in the city’s Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Cuban composer, guitarist and singer, Pedro Luis Ferrer, a self-taught musician much loved and respected in the island and internationally, will be staging a special one-of-a-kind concert where you can enjoy his varied repertoire which ranges from: guarachas to guitar pieces, piano fugues and preludes among others. A very special evening to get to know quality Cuban music across a variety of genres. Don’t miss it if you can!

If you want to follow up this concert with more Cuban rhythms you have two choices: head to Corner Café in Vedado (1ra y B) at 10 p.m for yet more trova, this time with contemporary Cuban singer, William Vivanco or hit the Casa de la Musica in Miramar at 11 p.m. for some live salsa by Alexander Abreu y Havana d’ Primera.

If some soulful blues is what you’re after then head to the Valdes Jazz (you’ll find it in Vedado, on E Street, number 105, between 5ta and Calzada) at 11 p.m. to unwinding to the sultry voice of Cuban jazz singer Zule Guerra.

Picks of the week

The best of tomorrow brings a concert by three times Grammy award winner, Descemer Bueno at the Pabellon Cuba. He’ll be performing there at 6 p.m. but if you can’t catch him then or that’s a little early for all of you wild night owls then there’s a chance to catch him again that very night at 9 p.m. in a different location; the Salon Rosado at La tropical. Whatever you do don’t miss either chance, he’s one of the hottest artists in the Latin scene right now – and a very talented one at that (he recently won 3 Latin Grammys for his song “Bailando” in collaboration with Enrique Iglesias). The best about his performance is that he’s such a kaleidoscopic musician and composer that you’ll get to listen to various music genres: trova, son, guarachas and boleros sprinkled with hip hop, R&B and jazz. Seriously now, do-not-miss-it!

For a rare opportunity to experience what many Cubans will class as Saturday’s second-best option (or actually equally as good as Descemer’s one so in the most likely scenario many will go to his early concert at 6 to be able to catch the other one at 10 p.m.) head to the Corner Café to listen to the honey-sweetened voice and melodic tunes of Kelvis Ochoa.

For the very best in Cuban fusion music catch Qva Libre’s concert on Monday 26th August at the Café Cantante Mi Habana starting at 5 p.m. The perfect finish to the night would be to follow this performance with one by Roberto Carcasses & Interactivo at 10 p.m. in the corner café. You’ll get to listen to an amazing Latin fusion of jazz, funk and hip hop. It makes for an unforgettable night out in Havana discovering the depth and breadth of its musical talent.

If salsa is high on your list of priorities for nights out in Havana then you’ll have quite a selection to pick from but your best bets this week are Jose Luis Cortes y NG La Banda, playing tonight in El Diablo Tun Tun, tomorrow at the Casa de la Musica in Miramar and next Wednesday 26th August at Casa de la Musica in Centro Habana, in all cases at 11 p.m..

Other great salsa options include concerts by Alexander Abreu y Havana D’ Primera playing toning at Miramar’s Casa de la Musica and the Charanga Forever with their timba style also performing tonight at the same time but at the Casa de la Musica in Centro Habana. The rest of the week will see the infectious salsa and timba stylings of Lazaro Valdes y Bamboloeo playing on Saturday and Sunday at Miramar’s Casa de la Musica (at 11 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively).

For conga rhythms make sure you hit the Casa de la Musica in Miramar on Monday to catch Sur Caribe’s performance at 11 p.m.

For afro-Cuban folklore don't miss the show held at El Jelengue del Areito by Rumberos de Cuba. It's on this Friday 21st Augutst at 5 p.m. Or, you could always listen to the talented Yoruba Andabo musicians performing traditional guaganco tunes at the Casa de la Musica in Centro Habana on Sunday, also at 5 p.m. The choice is yours...if interested in afro-Cuban culture and only in Havana for a week I'd go to both.

If you want is a little jazz to unwind and set the mood then head to La Zorra y el Cuervo on Friday night (this Friday night, a.k.a. tomorrow!) at 11 p.m. to listen to the tunes of accomplished saxophonist, Michel Herrera. Alternatively you have another opportunity to catch Zule Guerra and her blues at the Jardines del Teatro Mella next Wednesday 26th August at 6 p.m.


For families and the youngest audience

Some of the family-friendly events we mentioned last week are still on and taking place this weekend and beyond all the way until the end of August, so for more variety and inspiration is worth checking out our blog post from the week before and read the children and families section.

This week, taking place every Saturday at 11 a.m. a clown show will be performed at the Parque Almendares in the Playa municipality. If your little ones like clowns this is a good one to join in, even if they don’t, the Parque Almendares is a relaxing spot often called Havana’s green lung.

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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