The middle of yet another week brings about the need to update you on all of the daily and nightly goings on in Cuba’s capital for the next seven days. Packed full of daily and nightly entertainment options to experience the best of Cuba’s music and arts, this is the place to find out where to go in the city to have a memorable good old’ time.
My favourite pick in Havana's cultural calendar this week is, as you can guess from the title, the last few concerts now being staged across various locations in the capital as part of Les Voix Humaines Festival 2015, bringing to Cuba a variety of renowned artists from all over the world and from every music genre. If you are and Havana and you like to listen to classical, contemporary, regional as well as fusion music definitely try to attend one of these very last few concerts before the festival ends. My personal pick among these is the Havana Classical Rave which is a powerful eclectic mix of talented music prowess and which I go into more detail about below.
But the real pick of the bunch and the week’s most anticipated performance is that of Oscar-winning singer Jorge Drexler, who will also be participating in Havana’s Les Voix Humaines Festival. Go see him perform this Saturday 3rd October at the Teatro Mella where he will be staging a fully charged concert part of his "Bailar en la Cueva" Tour in which his fans will be treated to the songs of his latest CD which he launched in collaboration with a variety of artists. Jorge Drexler famously received an Oscar accolade for his song Al otro lado del rio which featured in the Che: Motorcycle Diaries film.
The Music Scene
For all those interested in fully soaking up Havana’s nightlife scene what follows is the day-by-day list of this week’s hottest music acts, special one-off concerts and live performances. Read on to find the highlight of each of your nights in Havana if you happen to be in Cuba’s capital this week (or in the first half of the next).
It’s on tonight!
Quite packed and for all tastes tonight truly has something for everyone.
To kick off things with refreshing afternoon entertainment 5 p.m. is the time to be at the Café Cantante Mi Habana to catch the performance of popular Cuban fusion group, Qva Libre, who will be performing their catchy fusion tunes for an upbeat encounter with contemporary Cuban music you can dance to.
You can follow either of these two acts with a very special evening performance part of Les Voix Humaines Festival taking place this week in Havana. A number of prestigious musicians and invited guests of honours from all over the world will be performing in “Havana Classical Rave”, a special concert staged at Fabrica de Arta Cubano (popularly known as FAC) with an eclectic mix of participating artists that Brendan Jan Walsh, Djoy de Cuba, Havana’s Chamber Orchestra (Orquesta de Camara de la Habana) and many more.
To give a salsa-tastic finishing touch to the evening (if you’re not too partied by the previous performances) dance to the beats of Adalberto Alvarez y Su Son, who will be performing at the Casa de la Musica de Miramar starting at 11 p.m.
Thursday - 1st October
If you’d like to get a taste of contemporary Cuban trove in an authentic non-touristy ambience where you can mix with the locals head to El Diablo Tun Tun to see the performance of popular troubadour Ray Fernandez this Thursday at 5 p.m. and let his intoxicating melodic tunes help you unwind and enliven your senses.
On the other hand the Les Voix Humaines Festival currently being celebrated in Havana brings yet another great performance to the table today with yet another opportunity to attend an eclectic concert with a variety of artists from the international scene. It all kicks at 8.30 p.m. and the Teatro Marti is the chosen location this time. The name of the event is Concierto Klagendlieder which is named after the music genre it celebrates.
Friday - 2nd October
The end of the week brings yet another concert brought about by Les Voix Humaines Festival – Havana 2015. This time Franz Schubert is responsible for organising a very special evening with an impressive line-up of artists with Sytse Buwalda and Asteria Ensemble. The theme is called “On the wings of a song” and the concert kicks off at 8.30 p.m. Once again Teatro Marti will be hosting it.
If you want to be about and about enjoying music performances from much earlier on in the day you can head to El Jelengue del Areito at 5 p.m. to enjoy an Afro-Cuban show put together by Rumberos de Cuba.
If you fancy a bit of salsa to round up your evening head to the Casa de la Musica in Miramar at 11 p.m. to dance to the rhythmic songs of Jose Luis Cortes y NG La Banda – the true legends of a Cuban genre of salsa called Timba.
Saturday - 3rd October
There’s not that much variety this coming Saturday night in Havana, but having said that there are a couple of places I’d recommend depending on what kind of show you’re in the mood for.
If it’s an opportunity for salsa dancing practice you’re seeking, then head to the Casa de la Musica in Centro Habana at 11 p.m.to dance to the tunes of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor.
For a completely different kind of entertainment and for a chance to check out Havana’s LGTB scene, Proyecto Divino takes off at 11 p.m. with their usual variety show held at the same place every week (Café Cantante Mi Habana).
Sunday - 4th October
The fact that it’s Sunday and the following day spells the start of the working week for most Cubans doesn’t necessarily mean this is a slow day for the party goers but it does mean that there are no concerts to be found after 6 p.m.
Nevertheless, this is a fantastic day to check out Cuba’s rock scene at its most nostalgic rock spot – El Submarino Amarillo (a.k.a The Yellow Submarine and you can instantly see why). The local popular cover band Los Kents will put on a show at 2 p.m. creating the perfect ambience for an after-lunch mellow down.
Afterwards, if in the mood to finish the day on a high embracing Cuba’s Afro-Cuban culture and getting introduced to the guagancó beats, Yoruba Andabo will be performing at Casa de la Musica in Centro Habana at 5 p.m. It’s the perfect place to pick up a move or two or simply sit back and admire the soulful Cuban music with deep African roots.
Monday - 5th October
This is the weakest day in all of our calendar as nothing much goes on a Monday night in Cuba's capital (no surprise there as people have just started the daily work grind).
Regardless, there is one place to go after the sun comes down if you want to dance to the conga stylings of Sur Caribe who will be performing at Miramar's Casa de la Musica from 11 p.m.
Tuesday - 6th October
This is when things start picking up once again and the caledar warms up as it gets closer to approaching the end of next week’s first half.
At 5 p.m. the Casa de la Musica in Miramar is the place to be if you’re serious about first-class quality salsa. Grammy-winning Alexander Abreu y Havana D’ Primera will be putting on an excellent show starting 5 p.m. Don’t miss it, not if you want to attend the hottest salsa event in the week!
Later on, Pedrito Calvo y la Justicia will be performing at the same venue from 11 p.m. That is if you’re still in the mood for salsa and want to cary on dancing, of course – and why shouldn’t you? You’re in Cuba after all so make the most of it!
Up until 11th October the Pintura Fresca II art exhibition continues to be showcased in Galeria Habana. This expo features the collective work of various contemporary Cuban artists and is an emotive treat for the eyes.
Likewise, the Candela photograph exhibition will remain open until 11th October with various pieces from national and international artists on display at the Fototeca de Cuba. Part of the second edition of the Habanarte Festival 2015, this collection includes a selection of photographs capturing a variety of Cuban cane field landscapes.
Lovers of the Art Naïf movement (Naïve Art) should head to the Armadores de Santander hotel in Old Havana to admire the work of three excellent Cuban exponents of this style with a collection entitled De mujeres, ciudades y flores (Of women cities and flowers).
New on the scene this week is the Ritmos exhibition being shown at the Museo de Arte Colonial. If you want an artistic encounter with colonial Cuba, this is the place to be. Here you can feast your eyes on a collection of vintage advertisements and drawings by Jaime Valls, centred around topics like afro-Cuban folklore and traditional Cuban costums. All of these works are originally from a collection at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and they will be displayed at the Museo de Arte Colonial until 15th November.
Last but not least and for a limited time, the exhibition Los Hijos de Matias Perez (Matias Perez' sons)by Cuban artist Alejandro Lescay is on display at the Casa del ALBA Cultural. Go check it out this week before it closes on 11th October.
There’s not much on for families this week in Havana but that is not to say you can still take your little ones to one or two events created especially for them.
The most popular of these is the Circus Matinee at Carpa Trompoloco and you can catch its very last show this coming Sunday 4th October at 11 a.m. before it says goodbye for the season. Conveniently, this circus tent sits right next to La Isla del Coco theme park, so if you’re up for some thrills this is the place to round up your day out with the kids.
And for children who love the natural world Cuba’s first ever and newly unveiled butterfly garden or Mariposario at Quinta de Los Molinos is sure to fascinate them. You’ll need to book in advance to arrange a visit though and the guided tour starts at 11 a.m. on Saturdays.