July in Havana sees the thermometer rise and the pace of life slow down. Those poor unfortunates who come from overseas dressed up in their finest Hugo Boss suits soon appreciate the futility of keeping up appearances as the humidity envelops the capital in its warm and sticky embrace. You can’t run and hide from the heat so we recommend that you go the other way—embrace it, make it your friend, your companion, your energy source.
Where better to do this than Santiago de Cuba? Nearly 800km to the east, Cuba’s second city makes Havana seem cool by comparison. July sees this city of music and dance come to life first with the Festival del Caribe, Fiesta del Fuego, July 3-9 and then with Cuba’s best carnival, July 21-29. This is the cradle of the Revolution, which is celebrated on July 26 for the anniversary of the attack on Moncada.
In keeping with Santiago’s musical heritage, we have included articles on Manolito Simonet and José Luis Cortés, “ElTosco.” Both born in the middle of the country, Camagüey and Santa Clara, respectively, neither needs an introduction being amongst the most well-known and popular Cuban musicians. Rounding out this section, we also feature Gilles Peterson, a renowned British DJ who has maintained a love affair with Cuban music for many years and is currently helping a new wave of Cuban musicians.
Thanks to Conner Gorry for her take on what she likes about the new Havana and if you haven’t yet do check out Legendarios del Guajirito, a superb Buena Vista-style show in the heart of Old Havana. Our Havana Listings is chock-full of art, dance, music and theatre. Don’t miss the Ballet Nacional de Cuba performing with guest dancers from the National Ballet of China, June 24-26 and Retazos’s Posible imposible July 11-12.
Do check out our expanded Havana Guide, which is growing to accommodate the new bars, restaurants and casas particulares that continue to spring forth adding vitality and energy to Havana’s entertainment and hospitality scene.
Jul 2014 Highlights (Havana, unless stated)
- Festival del Caribe, Fiesta del Fuego, July 3-9
- Santiago de Cuba Carnival, July 21-29
- July 26: Anniversary of the attack on Moncada
- Festival Nacional del Humor Aquelarre, July 6-13
Thanks to all of our contributors, sponsors, partners and readers. Do please keep providing us with your feedback, comments and suggestions. All enquiries should be directed to Sophia Beckman at CubaAbsolutely@gmail.com. All the best. Viva Cuba!