Wednesday, October 8, 2008


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…


Songlines Cuban Music Tours said...

Hi Jesse

Have you heard that Songlines World Music Magazine has just launched a guided music tour of Cuba.

The group meets in Havana, whizzes off to Baracoa, then slowly travels back to Havana stopping off at key cuban music locations including Santiago de Cuba, and Case Del La Trova. The guide for the tour is Philip Sweeney aclaimed author of 'The Rough Guide to Cuban Music', so you will be getting an inside guide to the music of Cuba.

If you want to find out more see Songlines Music Travel Cuban Music Tours. The tour covers travel expenses in Cuba only, so you need to arrange your own transportation to Havana and back.

Hope this is of interest to you.

Timjim (for Songlines)

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