Walk down almost any street in Santiago de Cuba on any summer day, and you will encounter live music in some fashion. Whether it be a solo trumpeter performing in front of a park bench, or a full son cubano ensemble blaring out of a “casa de música,” in the summer months, Santiago D.C. is just teeming with live music. For clarity: “son,” like mambo, rumba or salsa, is a subgenre of Cuban music. Son, however, originates in the Oriente, and thus is most popular in the Santiago D.C.
Throughout Santiago D.C., there is a mixture of famous, marquee music halls, and smaller, lesser-known venues. Located in central Santiago, just a block from Parque Céspedes, Casa de la Trova (House of the Ballad), is one of the more popular music halls.
One evening, I ventured to Casa de la Trova, with a French friend and a Cuban friend. The band was enjoyable; however, as the Festival del Caribe had ended the night before, there was not much of a turn out, in terms of the crowd. That said, as a drummer, listening to Cuban rhythms is always an entertaining activity.
Below are some assorted pictures from Santiago D.C. My personal favorite is the graffiti “Soy un tambor” (“I am a drum”) that I saw in a park near La Gran Piedra (The Big Rock), a popular attraction on the outskirts of the city. More to come…