I can say that I’m both very lucky and extremely proud to have had the pleasure of visiting Cuba as well as performing there in the past. Now, we have the opportunity to experience the music, arts, food and culture together.
From September 21 through September 25, I’ll be hosting Wainwright Libre, Rufus in Havana. We’ll be staying at the Melia Miramar hotel and get a fantastic opportunity to really dig into the culture of Cuba together – in addition I’ll be performing a couple of exciting shows for you!
I grew up in Montreal, Quebec, and there was a connection between the two places, as people visited Cuba frequently, even if it was primarily about enjoying those beautiful beaches. I remember Ry Cooder made Buena Vista Social Club with Wim Wenders in the nineties. That gave me a clearer lens into the country, even though it barely scratched the surface.
The first time I went to Cuba was in 2013, and it was amazing to see Havana. It feels more like New York than Miami. Simply put, the city is massive. The architecture is stunning, with an incredibly stately nature to it all; it’s all very seductive in a sense. The people are warm, welcoming, and eager-to-meet-you, and they’re very open right now. I’m excited to experience all of that again. I’ll be showing you around. I do know some secrets, but you’ll have to wait to see what they are once we’re there together!
I’ve performed in Cuba before, but we’re going to do something a little different this time. The first performance, just for you, will be a private, stripped-down, solo show. We’ll also be playing a public show, and I have some surprises in store for this one, but I will tell you that I’ll be playing alongside some of Cuba’s best musicians, some of the greatest musicians in the world.
It’s an honor to be asked to do something like this. The fact that you might build a little vacation around following me to an interesting destination is very humbling as a musician and something I could never have dreamed of. I can’t wait to explore this amazing culture with you. I think it’s important to remain open and proactive about sharing who we are as a society, engaging in cultural exchanges, learning about other people, and really enhancing America’s reputation as ambassadors.
I hope you walk away from the trip with new friends, memories, and a sense of the interesting realism of the place and the fantastical dream world that it can also engender. Cuba has an amazing mix of both elements. You see things that are very true while also very mysterious and ephemeral. It pivots between those two elements in a wonderful way. It’s really beautiful. The people are gorgeous, and the weather ain’t too bad!
I hope you love it as much as I do.