Friday, January 21, 2011

You should be dancin - PlazaCuba is back in business!

In 2003 I helped lead two amazing trips to Cuba co-sponsored by CubaNola and PlazaCuba.

One trip was centered around Havana's Jazz festival "Jazz Plaza" while the other took us to Santiago to learn about that city's history, culture, and carnival tradition.

As many of the participants hailed from New Orleans, there was special emphasis on that city's shared cultural and musical heritage with Cuba.

Santiago has a conga line.
New Orleans has a second line.

'Nuf said!

I even happened to meet the postmambo and ethnomusical guru Ned Sublette on that trip to Santiago.

Well, thanks to the Obama administrations new travel regulations that allow for much expanded cultural, educational, religious, and other people-to-people contacts, these kinds of programs are back on the front burner.

Go here to see what CubaNola has planned in terms of any upcoming trips to the island.

After the break there's some info about PlazaCuba from an e-mail I just received from them.

Nos vemos en la casa de la musica!

Summer Programs in Havana
Music, Salsa and Folklore
June 26 - July 10, 2011
Popular Music and Percussion Program offers music classes on all instruments, including percussion, drum set, piano, bass, tres/guitar, trumpet, trombone, flute, saxophone and vocals. Four to five hours of instruction daily including classes on your instrument, arranging, rhythm workshops and ensembles. Classes are separated by interest and level, and feature lectures and presentations with local musicians.

Salsa and Afro-Cuban Dance
Beginning to advanced dancers welcome. You can choose to focus on Salsa and other popular dances like Son, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha and Rueda de Casino. OR combine salsa with Afro-Cuban dances like Yoruba, Rumba, Arará and Palo styles. Afro-Cuban classes have live percussion. Dancers are separated by interest and skill level.
Price:  Double  $2,750  /  Single  $2,995

Includes accommodations with breakfast daily, ground transportation to group events, travel license, classes, lectures, parties and performances. Airfare not included.

Humanitarian Aid and Culture
June 26 - July 3, 2011
Features daily excursions to deliver books and medicine to local neighborhood centers, urban community gardens and schools. Evening concerts and performances focus on Cuban music and its cultural significance.
Price:  Double  $2,150  /  Single  $2,295

Havana Jazz Festival
December 12 - 20, 2011 (Date Subject to Change)
Join PlazaCUBA for an exciting week of concerts and excursions during Havana's Jazz Festival. Cuban piano legend Chucho Valdes performs and presides over a variety of Latin jazz, pop, timba and straight jazz groups at multiple venues. You will see hundreds of groups from all over the world, featuring Cuba's best musicians, like Harold Lopez Nussa, Bobby Carcasses, Giraldo Piloto, Pupy Pedroso, Joven Jazz, NG la Banda and more!  
Accommodations at the Hotel Nacional: Includes accommodations with breakfast at the Nacional, daily excursions and activities, ground transportation, travel assistance and travel license, and jazz festival pass, good for entry to all concerts.  Airfare not included.


PlazaCUBA is a humanitarian-based arts organization with more than 10 years experience organizing travel to Cuba for music, dance and humanitarian efforts.  Contact us to see how you can travel legally to Cuba as a researcher or under another type of license. For more information about us and our work, visit our website at

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