Havana's Jazz Festival, Jazz Plaza, starts up on 18th January

Havana's Jazz Festival, Jazz Plaza, starts up on 18th January

Havana's Jazz Festival, Jazz Plaza, starts up on 18th January

 13 January 2022   Cartelera Cuba

The Caribbean island of Cuba, known for its wonderful culture of music, is celebrating Jazz Plaza from 18th - 23rd January, a festival of all things jazz, to put the swing back into one of the world's great cities! Read on and find out more!

If music be the food of love, play on!

Any traveller visiting Cuba will immediately be seduced by the stunning history of the island's musical scene. The list of musical styles that Cuba has produced is huge, and involves Danza Habanera, Danzon, Rumba, Son, Afro-Cuban Jazz, Mambo, Chachacha, as well as all manner of fusion music that mixes Afro-Caribbean styles with Spanish and other European heritages. After all, who can forget the magnificent Buena Vista Social Club?

Strolling through the winding streets of Old Havana or along the Malecon seafront promenade will mean that you'll hear all manner of live musical delights, whether they're drifting out of bars and restaurants, or simply being played for the love of it by street buskers.

This is an island with music in its soul, and Cuba proudly never stops tapping her feet along to the rhythm of life!

Jazz Plaza in Havana

After the tough couple of years that Cuba has faced due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with dwindling tourist numbers and a struggling economy, things are looking up.

Jazz band jamming for its public at the Jazz Festival

The borders opened up again on 15th November and more and more visitors are coming through the country's airports to enjoy the plethora of charms that Cuba offers.

As a result, the events that kept cities like Havana swinging are starting up again, and from 18th - 23rd January, the 37th edition of the "Jazz Plaza" jazz festival is taking place.

Who's making an appearance at Jazz Plaza?

Some of the most recognised artists in the jazz world are scheduled to arrive from no fewer than ten countries, such as the American-Argentine guitarist Dominic Miller, famous for playing alongside Sting in the group he formed after he left The Police.

Drum player performing at the Jazz Festival

Among other prestigious guests due to play, is Javier Malosetti, who will play in three separate performances, one of which is with the group "La Colonia", with whom he has just won Best Argentine Jazz Album at the Gardel Awards.

Brazilian Ray Lema, who is scheduled to play alongside French pianist Laurent De Wilde, two regular attendees, are also expected to attract big crowds who will no doubt enjoy the marvellous music they make.

The National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba will also accompany the presentation of "Lema".

Bringing in the local talent!

Of course, although Jazz Plaza is honoured to be able to welcome these international stars, there's enough talent in Cuba to make for a wonderful festival with a very Cuban twist!

Fan takes photos of a jazz band in the stage

Celebrated local artists like Ernan and Harold Lopez Nussa, Gaston Joya, Rodney Barreto, Roberto Fonseca, German Velasco, Cesar Lopez, Joaquin Betancourt, Orlando Valle "Maraca" Valle, Rolando Luna, Yaroldi Abreu and Roberto "Bobby" Carcasses, the latter the founder of the festival, will also be playing.

What are the COVID-19 protocols?

In order to keep people safe given the fact that Cuba, like anywhere, is recovering from a pandemic, each performance will be held with an empty seat in between guests at all venues, including the "Avellaneda" and "Covarrubias" rooms of the National Theatre; the "Tito Junco", from the Bertolt Brecht Theatre, as well as the Sala Dolores and the Iris Jazz Club.

Similarly, to avoid crowds, the organisers will be making use of open spaces such as the beautiful gardens around the Mella Theatre, the Patio Jutia Conga and Parque Dolores en Santiago de Cuba, as well as the outdoor area of the Casa de la Cultura de Plaza, the very place where this festival was initiated 37 years ago!

Jazz - uniting Cuba across the world

Curiously, the Jazz Plaza 2022 will also be the first major face-to-face event in which the UNESCO Trans-culture programme is involved, which works towards "cultural twinning".

Saxo player in concert at Jazz Festival

This essentially means that the project promotes the artists to travel to parallel workshops and festivals in various different countries, as a type of exchange, therefore culturally twinning the two nations through jazz.

In the long term, the purpose is to better connect Cuba with similar festivals across the whole Caribbean region and in turn, to help these promising musicians to break into the European market.

They say that music is a universal language, and very few people speak it as the Cubans do!

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