Havana is celebrating its 500th birthday this year with a variety of festivities and a healthy collection of tribute songs including tracks from Yasser Ramos, El Noro, Christian y Rey, and Azúcar Negra. This latest one is from Pupy y Los Que Son Son.
Pupy y Los Que Son Son - La Habana, marcando la diferencia

Featured Move

Setenta por Abajo

Takes places over 6 iterations of 8-count including the dile que no that finishes it out. Start with the first 8-count of a typical setenta, then an enchufla with both hands held, the lead is then going to lift their right hand and the follows left hand up and over the leads head as the lead steps and turns around to stand of the folows right side, next the lead is going to bend down to back through the hole between the follows arm as in reverencia, the lead then does a double handled botala turn and then places the folows left hand around the front of their neck in a corona shape, this goes into a double-handed sacala, with the lead finishing up by placing the follows left hand over the heads hand to the leads shoulder and ending with a dile que no.
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DanceLiker demonstrate Setenta por de bajo

An incredible book by Benjamin Lapidus

Origins of Cuban Music and Dance: Changuï

 If you’re not familiar with changuï, may I suggest that you go immediately to Spotify and listen to Ahora Sí by the  Changuï de Guantánamo.

Tracing a line from contemporary timba and salsa one would eventually find a path back to afrocuban son, and before that to Cuba’s Oriente region – think Guantanamo and Yateras – where changuï  and its predecessors nengon, kiribá and regina where born. 

This intoxicating music is highly syncopated, and based around tres – the Cuban three-course stringed instrument, vocal back and forth, freely improvising bongo de monte, marímbula, and güiro. Also notable is that changuï lacks the clave that son would later pick up from rumba, making the syncopation that much more challenging to the rhythmically challenged ear.

Ben Lapidus is a tres player and ethnomusicologist from the United States who spent a good deal of time over the span of a number of years in Oriente getting to know a great deal about the extremely localized changui culture, which is more lifestyle than just music – consisting of parties, drink, pig roasts, dancing, music and competition - between interviewing players, playing, competing, attending festivals and conferences and what not. The lyrical content of the music also serves as an oral history of the area and of changuï itself – making frequent references to legendary parties and changuïseros. The time, effort and love for the music shows in this extraordinary book, which is  rich in information while also very readable and enjoyable.

The book covers every conceivable angle, from the history, to the ins and outs of the music, the lyrics, the key figures, influence on son, influence from Haiti, concerns of modernization and tourism, festivals, the future and so on.

An excellent read for fans of Cuban music, dancing and culture.


  • Aug 30-Sep 8 - Festival de Salsa, Bachata et Kizomba de Québec 2019 in Quebec City
  • Sep 6 Rueda Congress - Bergen Norway
  • Sep 13-16 - Calle de Timberos in Wroclaw, Poland – impressive looking event with a concert by Barbaro Fines y su Mayimbe and lots of great teachers and workshops
  • Nov 7-10 - Havana en Belgrado - in Belgrade, Serbia - short event but with an extremely impressive roster of teachers including Jennyselt Galata Calvo, FredyClan and other illustrious names in Cuban dance, as well as concerts by Maykel Blanco with Mayito Rivera and 2019 Cuba Disco winners El Niño y la Verdad. 
  • Nov 17-22 - Baile en Cuba – 6 days of workshops and concerts in Havana, with an unbelievable lineup of bands: Van Van, Septeto Santiaguero, Pupy, Adalberto Alvarez, Manolito Simonet, Haila, Maykel Blanco, Alan Daniel, Elito Revé, Havana D'Primera and Los 4. Includes 22 hours of classes at all levels with instructors from the top national schools of the arts ...
  • Mar 29-Apr 5 2020 - Havana Dance Experience 2020 - Group from Halifax, NS going to Cuba for classes and dancing
  • Apr 20-26 2020 Ritmo Cuba – includes 7 days of workshops and classes (30 hours of classes I believe, with four tracks to choose from), tours, a pool party, a beach party, as well as admission every night to the best clubs in the city with top bands in Cuba
  • May 29-31 2020Rueda Fest - in Brighton UK - has some intriguing workshops on rueda in all kinds of funky formations and more
Some intriguing events in Cuba  this summer
  • The First International Timba Festival August 2-4 in Havana featuring a stellar lineup including Azucar Negra, El Nino y la Verdad, Bamboleo, Pachito Alonso y sus Kini Kini, Klimax, Havana de Primera, Adalberto Alvarez, Issac Delgado, Pupy y Los que son son, NG La Banda, Manolito Simonent, Maykel Blanco, Van Van and more
  • The second Varadero Josone Jazz & Son Festival is coming to Varadero from August 22-25 featuring big names like Van Van, Adalberto Alvarez, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Paul FG, Manolito Simonent, Havana de Primera, Alain Perez, Halia, Buena Fe, El Chacal, and more
A few Montreal concerts for fans of Cuban music
  • Aug 3 - Telmary –  is headlining the Cubaneando festival in Ahuntsic
  • Aug 13 - Alain Pérez is playing La Tulipe in Montreal - also dates in Chicoutimi and Gaspé
  • Aug 16 - Los 4 @ Rosewood Salle De Reception, Montreal
Of interest to our Halifax readers
  • Wed July 31 - Free To Move on the Waterfront – free class 6pm-7pm, dancing 7-9pm (kizomba after 9) - cubaton intro class this week, the best and only social in the city for Cuban timba, also features merengue, bachata, etc
  • Thu Aug 1 - Haliente - salsa/bachata/etc social at the waterfront, 8-10:30pm
  • Wed Aug 7 - Son Latino - their monthly Obladee engagement
  • Mon Aug 12 - SalsaBot at GoodRobot - fundraising event for the East Coast Salsa team
  • Fri Aug 16 - Black and White Bachata Night - at Haliente 
  • Sat Aug 17 - Salsa On Argyle - Haliente is putting on another street party
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!
Copyright © 2019 Gordon B. Isnor, All rights reserved.

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