Cuban people are a great representation of their surroundings. Everyone is bright, and there are lots of colourful personalities. It was easy to feel at home in Havana, the hospitality in the Caribbean is lovely.
Stepping onto the tarmac in Havana was like a total timewarp. We were met with balmy air, and a nice breeze, but something was very different here. As we grabbed our luggage and left the airport we experienced first hand what it might have been like driving around right here in the 1950’s. Classic cars rule the road in Cuba, this was due to a strained relationship with their neighbours to the north some years ago.
The cityscape is a little different that it was 20-30 years ago at the end of the period of tension. The architecture has withheld the test of time, thanks to great maintenance and restoration efforts, that is. However the city is home to a blend of the old and the new buildings. You can still find the brightly coloured buildings and palm lined streets, but Cuba is also home to some modern buildings as well.
We spent two beautiful days exploring the city, fun alleyways, busy streets, beaches and parks, and Gillian took a ride is one COOL car! After two days getting our bearings in the Caribbean we were ready to dive into interviews!
Our first interview for this trip was with the ever-talented Horacio Hernandas. Horacio employs four way independence when smashing his drum set. We were floored! He is like a single-man Cuban Orchestra. It was an extremely unique experience for our team! Horacio holds an honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. His work as a percussionist, arranger, composer, author and educator is largely unsurpassed in the Afro-Cuban Drum world.
Wow. That sums things up pretty well. Brenda Navarrete is the female authority on the Bata Drums, a traditionally male-dominated instrument. She has made the drums an extension of herself, her stories are told through her Spanish songs and the rhythm and beat of her drums. Brenda’s positive energy resonates through her surroundings, it would be impossible not to enjoy her company. What can we say, we loved every moment with Brenda!
That’s a wrap for Cuba! Our interview team is currently in Jamaic. You can expect an update on the last leg of this trip next week! We also have another crew member in Amsterdam so we’ll be excitedly sharing photos from the Netherlands as well.