We're back with our full weekly guide on Havana's nighttime scene and other daytime recreational and cultural options. This week's list once again favours the best musical performances across a variety of genres taking place along the next seven days. But there's also some space dedicated to entertainment events of other nature, like the latest art gallery exhibitions and the best place to take your children to if you and your family find yourselves in Havana this week.
What’s on tonight – take your pick from jazz, salsa, fusion music and rock
If you’re a jazz lover you’re in luck tonight as award-winning Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Carcasses joins fusion Cuban band Interactivo for a performance to remember at the Corner Café. Be there in time to catch the 10 p.m. show.
If you’re in the mood for some salsa later on, Jose Luis Cortes y NG LA Banda will be performing at the Casa de la Musica in Centro Habana at 11 p.m. while Adalberto Alvarez y Su Son will be performing at the same time in the Casa de la Musica de Miramar.
If you’re a die-hard rock and roller head to El Submarino Amarillo in the trendy Vedado neighbourhood at 9 p.m. to hear local rock band Los Tackson perform some quality rock classics in a nostalgia-filled, Beatlemania-inspired venue.
To fill your early afternoon with musical entertainment or for an alternative encounter with Cuban popular fusion don’t miss Qva Libre’s performance in the Café Cantante Mi Habana, kicking off at 5 p.m. But don’t worry if you can’t make it in time to catch them today, they’ll be performing again on Saturday at El Pedregal, at 10 p.m. this time (the only downside is that you’ll miss Descemer Bueno’s stellar Saturday concert if you attend this event).
Thursday - a bit of traditional trova and more salsa
Tomorrow doesn’t bring as many attractive performances as today but still there are a couple of options worth mentioning for a good night out.
You can start things off with an early afternoon concert at the hands of Ray Fernandez, a Cuban trouvador who will be performing at El Diablo Tun Tun at 5 p.m. Not as mainstream or known to most foreign visitors as other Cuban performers are, the critical tone of his lyrics are what draws the big crowds but that’s not to say his melodies aren’t enjoyable, they’re in fact beautiful pieces fusing traditional Cuban music with other Cuban genres from different time periods, an interesting one to enjoy.
Follow this up with a bit of salsa at 11 p.m. with Pupy y Los Que Son Son at Casa de la Musica in Centro Habana or Jose Luis Cortes y NG La Banda at el Diablo Tun Tun (I would personally pick the latter but if you’ve already attended one of their concerts this week go to the other one for a change).
Friday - the hottest ticket of the week is on tonight!
The open-air performance taking place this Friday can certainly be described as the week’s piece de resistance as internationally acclaimed musician and composer Descemer Bueno (who famously collaborated with Enrique Iglesias and Gente de Zona on their Latin hit phenomenon “Bailando”) will be staging a public concert at the top of the long staircase leading up to the University of Havana. Things will kick off at 9 p.m. and the concert will be dedicated to Cuba’s youth celebrating the start of the new academic year. Other guest performers will join Descemer Bueno for a spectacular night out to remember amongst the trendiest members of Cuba’s youth; from all backgrounds.
If after this concert you want to keep on partying or are interested in checking out Havana’s LGBT scene head to Café Cantante Mi Habana next to catch the performance of Proyecto Divino at 11 p.m.
Sunday - rock in motion and dash of Afro-Cuban folklore
If you’re a rock lover whatever you do please don’t miss one of Havana’s most popular cover bands, Los Kents’ performance at the Submarino Amarillo at 2 p.m. – yes I know that’s early but what better way to down your lunch on a hot Havana afternoon than with a few cooling drinks at an atmospheric bar? They play classic rock tunes for a rocking nostalgia-filled experience.
If you’re interested in getting to grips with Cuba’s African folklore and are looking forward to enjoying some good Afro-Cuban music, head to Casa de la Musica next where Yoruba Andabo will be performing some of their fusion classics at 5 p.m.
It’s Sunday after all and the following day most people in the city have to make it to work by 8 a.m. so no late performances on this night. It’s not like you’ll have to wait all the way until the next weekend though, this is just a break before Monday night comes.
Monday – a bit of conga to kick-start the week or some Cuban pop-rock?
You’ll have to decide which one of the highlights of Havana’s music scene you want to see on this day, as they are both held at similar times.
One is a ticket to see the traditional conga group from Santiago de Cuba, Sur Caribe, performing at the Casa de la Musica in Miramar at 11 p.m.
The other alternative is to get introduced to Cuba’s latest pop-rock band to emerge on the scene – Nuba Roja, a duo that will be performing their fusion tunes full of eclectic sounds at the Sangri La Bar at 10 p.m. Your pick, your choice!
Tuesday – early afternoon fusion music and a jazzy evening (or more salsa?)
If you want to meet the man responsible for revolutionising 21st century Cuban music, Tuesday brings you the chance to do so and enjoy a live concert held at 5 p.m. at the Café Cantante Mi Habana. You won’t regret it!
Follow this up with a jazz performance at the Corner Café where Roberto Carcasses & Interactivo will once again be performing for the second time this week. The show is on at 10 p.m.
Or, if in the mood to liven up the night with a spot of salsa dancing stay in the Café Cantante Mi Habana after Raul Paz’ performance to enjoy the musical stylings of Jose Luis Cortes y NG La Banda, who will put on their show at 11 p.m. Alternatively you can head to the Casa de la Musica de Miramar to dance to the salsa tunes of Adalberto y Su Son, also at 11 p.m.
Art - perusing the latest exhibitions in Havana
I admit this week in Havana is a little weak on the artsy side of things, but art aficionados will still find a choice of exhibitions to peruse.
The art collection CANDELA from British artist, Justine Ford will be on show at the Fototeca de Cuba every day at 6 p.m. until 11th October. The collection consists of beautiful photographs of Cuban cane fields.
Meanwhile, as announced last week the exhibition Pintura Fresca II (Fresh Paint) will also be on full display at the Galeria Habana until 11th October, grouping the work of several Cuban artists.
Families – what’s on for children
With the official start of a new academic year it’s not surprising to see that things are also slow when it comes to family entertainment options in the city. Still, there is one show you can take your children to during your time in Havana that everyone in the family will enjoy. The Variedades del Mar (Variety from the Sea) takes place every Saturday and Sunday at the Sala Teatro in the National Aquarium at 11:30 p.m. and is a worthwhile way to spend a mid-morning hour or two.