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Havana entertainment activities

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© Lonely Planet Publications

Entertainment
Performing Arts

130

Classical Music & Opera 130
Dance 131
Theater 131

Drinking
Live Music

133
135

Cabaret 135
Folk, Salsa & Traditional 137
Jazz 138
Rumba 139
Rock, Rap & Reggae 139

Dance Clubs
Cinemas
Circuses

140
142
142

In Habana singing and dancing are a way of life – as natural to the average habanero (inhabitant of Habana) as walking or breathing. Take a stroll around the atmospheric streets
of Habana Vieja of an evening and you’ll hear music pouring seductively out of every
corner: the tap-tap-tap of a dancer’s heel from behind a closed door in Calle Mercaderes,
a piano melody drifting softly across dreamy Plaza Vieja, two guitarists slumped down
in Calle Obispo belting out a romantic ode to Che. Follow the soundtrack and take your
pick. Nearly every restaurant and bar in Habana’s engaging old town has a resident band
or roving salsa quintet, and listening privileges are almost always free.
But it’s not all trumpet-stabbing son (Cuba’s basic form of popular music) and starryeyed troubadours. An obligatory night out in Habana is a rip-roaring cabaret show, closely
followed by a stand-up comedy show or an evening at the opera. And the talent doesn’t
stop there. A central ethos of the Cuban revolution was that entertainment should be a right
of the masses; by slashing entry prices and setting up organizations to promote music and
theater, Castro and his cronies have been encouraging art and culture ever since.

Boasting at least one internationally recognized homegrown composer in the shape
of Amadeo Roldán, Habana’s classical musical legacy is stronger than many give it
credit for. The Teatro Amadeo Roldán is
the place to go for the best-quality performances, and the Iglesia de San Francisco de
Paula (p72) and the Basilica Menor de San
Francisco de Asís also host regular chamber

WHAT’S HAPPENING?
Plays, concerts, book launches, ballets, poetry readings, rap peñas (performances or get-togethers) – there’s always
something happening in Habana. The problem is finding out when and where. Here are some tips to get plugged in
to what’s on.
The TV program Hurón Azul is a select schedule of the week’s biggest cultural events, and is broadcast every
Thursday night at 10:25pm on Cubavisión (Channel 6).
Cartelera de la Habana has broader listings (in Spanish) of things happening all over town, and is published biweekly by the Ministry of Culture. This is one of your best resources; it’s sold at newspaper kios...
Entertainment
Performing Arts 130
Classical Music & Opera 130
Dance 131
Theater 131
Drinking 133
Live Music 135
Cabaret 135
Folk, Salsa & Traditional 137
Jazz 138
Rumba 139
Rock, Rap & Reggae 139
Dance Clubs 140
Cinemas 142
Circuses 142
© Lonely Planet Publications
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