Cuba’s MANANA festival: where Afro-Cuban folkloric sounds will mix with electronic sounds

Photo by me!
Photo by me!

By now, you should all know about MANANA, the music festival happening in Santiago de Cuba in May 2016, right? No! Well, head to Sounds and Colours to learn more.

Basically, it’s a non-profit festival connecting Afro-Cuban Folkloric music with the pioneers of the International Electronic music community. Its organizers are crowdfunding for the three-day event (May 4, 5, 6 2016) via Kickstarter.

If you’re thinking, oh no, the embargo getting lifted means a bunch of molly-popping, daisy crown-wearing millennials overdosing and passing out, fear not. While no one can prevent from those fitting that stereotype from attending if they buy a flight and ticket, that’s not what this festival is aiming to be.

Consider this rumba track by Manenaje Al Benni, which the folks behind Manana shared via their Kickstarter page. I went to Cuba in 2013 and can tell you talented musicians are ALL over that island, playing on the streets, in cafes, and restaurants. (Watch this short clip I shot there.) I am so excited for artists like the ones I saw to perform on a big stage, reach new audiences, and make connections from the electronic dance world for future collaborations.

The following artists have already agreed to play if this Kickstarter is a success. 

  • Dubstep pioneer, Mala (Read an interview with Red Bull here)
  • Puerto Rican electronic rumba act, Grupo ÌFÉ
  • Tropical DJ’s, Sofrito
  • “Godfather” of Cuban drumming, Galis
  • Santiago rumba masters, Obba Tuke
  • The legendary Compañía Ballet Folclórico de Oriente

By the way, I asked for clarification on travel permissions for those traveling from the United States, as the embargo isn’t fully lifted yet. The good news is a tourist card allows you to travel legally from the U.S. The cost of the visa/tourist card is £20 per person and the courier charges by DHL would be around £70. More info on that here.

So, please contribute to the Kickstarter if you can. Every little bit helps. And, if you’re able, make travel plans to attend! Cuba was one of the best places I’ve ever been to so far. The people are lovely and the architecture is beautiful. And the food is delicious.

There is so much culture, dance, music, and film, not to mention the country’s world class education. Don’t miss MANANA!

Photo by me from El Bodeguito del Medio, where I drank wonderful mojitos.
Photo by me from El Bodeguito del Medio, where I drank wonderful mojitos.
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