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I’m thrilled to announce a cool music festival happening in Cuba this March called Havana World Music. What’s more exciting is that The New Cuba will be hosting guests from abroad to come attend the festival with VIP access. There will also be a few days of fun to explore Havana’s best and brightest spots.

But first… what is Havana World Music?

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(Eme Alfonso. Photo: May Reguera for Garbos Magazine)

“We were a group of friends, talking one day” said HWM Founder, Eme Alfonso (pictured above). “We thought, in Havana, there is nothing like an event for young people where we can enjoy ourselves and say this is the music that I listen to, this is the music that I want my friends to listen to. Then we said to ourselves, we have to do something. Let’s do something.”

Enter Havana World Music. Three days of unfettered music, art, culture, diversity, people, emotions, and energy. It’s a mix of artists both inside and outside the island, bringing fresh sounds to the forefront while honoring ancestral roots. This March 22,23,24 marks the 5th year of this gathering of international music buddies throwing it all down hard in Havana.

This years lineup includes:

The Orishas
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The Orishas are Cuba’s most globally known Cuban Hip Hop band, having exploded onto the scene in 2000 with their premiere album, A Lo Cubano. The record defined the sound of what Cuban rap would be — a mix of local flavor, traditional Afro-Cuban nodding & rhymes on the motherland. For those that haven’t heard the album yet, give it a listen here.

Gato Preto
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Gato Preto is a tropical bass thunderstorm. The booty shakin’ beats are produced by Lee Bass, who rolled out the perfect sound carpet for the Emcee Gata Misteriosa and her Portuguese power punchlines. The collective members members unveil African sounds reflecting their roots in the polyrhythm of Bass from Ghana, the Portuguese slang of Gata’s Mozambique and the incredible Djembe Power of Moussa Diallo from Senegal. Dive into their sound here.

Interactivo
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If you’ve been hanging out in the Havana music scene the last few years, it’s impossible to have missed Interactivo, who hosts one of the most well attended weekly parties, a live jam featuring a rotation of band members.

Interactivo is a music collective begun by Roberto Carcasses, Yusa, Francis de Rio, William Vicanco and Telmary Diaz. The bands Director, Roberto, prides himself on Interactivo’s free-form, experimental, and collaborative nature. The mix of Jazz, Funk, Salsa, Hip-Hop and general Cubaneo is swirled up into an audio feast.

Marinah
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Hailing from Spain, Marinah dons a flamenco skirt and head wrap representing Afro-Cuban spirit — think Flamenco Latin Jazz. She is the ex-singer of the Catalan band Ojos de Brujo for over a decade. In 2016, Marinah & Chicuelo launched the album “Sintonias” where, with his flamenco guitar, they infused sounds of rumba, flamenco, Afro-Cuban and Caribbean music. More here.

…And now for The New Cuba Travel package to attend festivities.

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Our weeks program will be held from March 21-26, with 3 of those days attending the Festival (22,23,24). The trip includes 5 nights & 6 days of sight-seeing, music, art, culture, and the best food spots in town. The advantage of our package is that we will schedule you to be at the right place at the right time every day this week.

Price: $2,200 per person. Payment must be complete 3 weeks prior to trip.

Price Includes:
_5 Nights stay in a Casa Particular
_VIP Access to Music Festival & After parties
_Full Time Guide/Concierge, English Speaking
_Curated activities for the week (please reach me for specific itinerary)
_Welcome Package
_Private Transfer to and from Havana International Airport with Guide
_Private Transportation for all activities of the week
_Pre-Trip Concierge (Additional pre-trip planning such as flight purchase assistance and pre-departure information)

Price does not include:
_Airfare & Visa  (we can assist/advise this process)
_Tips for Vendors – Driver, Waiters, Housekeeping, Guides, etc
_Rooming Incidentals – Minibar, etc.
_Meals/Drinks – Note: From past experience with seasoned travelers, I’ve noticed that NOT including dinner fees is a better offering for the traveler. It means the guests can avoid “cookie-cutter” price fixes, and order more luxuriously to their liking. We reserve you at the best restaurants, and you order as much or as little as you’d like.

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Special Deal:
For the first 8 people to confirm, I will offer a 15% discount, and personally guide the crew myself all week.

To assure proper attention for all visitors, anyone beyond the first 8 reservations will still be guided by an expert and cool local from our crew of “new Cuba” tour leaders. Groups are capped at 10 people to insure best attention. Keep in mind, all groups will be celebrating together anyways for opening cocktail event, as well as all Festival events & after parties.

Legalities:
Our itinerary and program is compliant with US Treasury Department regulations. This trip is permitted through the “people-to-people” general license category authorized by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Our program of activities offers meaningful interactions with the Cuban people under an authorized tour leader according to US regulations. For more details, visit US Treasury Gov.

Questions:
For any further questions, I’d be happy to get on the phone and discuss deeper. Please email jauretsi@gmail.com to open dialogue.

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(Eme Alfonso. Photo: May Reguera for Garbos Magazine)

“That’s it” in the words of Eme, “Music is the excuse. We are going to meet and we will have a great time.” About the musician herself, having been raised in a legendary family of recording artists, and part of the successful band Sintesis for two decades, Eme is formally breaking out on her own this month with a fresh solo album. To read about Eme’s vision and voice for music, download the latest issue of Garbos Magazine.

We look forward to celebrating the best of this new Cuba together.