I recently returned from the most incredible travel experience in Cuba organized by Postmambo, and led by well-known Cuban music historian, Ned Sublette. I say “experience” because this was not your typical tour riding around Old Havana in a 1950’s Oldsmobile. The entire trip was structured around rumba music – a tangible way in which to feel Cuba’s rich history, culture and worldwide influence. We saw no fewer than two live music and dance performances EACH day, in venues ranging from a converted factory art space packed with Havana hipsters, to a countryside farm miles away, to a block party in more urban Matanzas, to THE Copa Room at the Hotel Riviera.
More Video Clips & Pics Below!
Wherever we went, it was all about the drums. This is a major oversimplification…but unlike most of America, African slaves brought to Cuba were allowed to practice their African dance and music traditions (during slavery until 1886), which heavily influenced music in Cuba, America, and around the world. For in depth reading, Ned’s book Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo is a thick but very accessible and fascinating read. It’s difficult to convey the Postmambo experience in words, so please check out pics and vids below for just a *taste* of what we saw and heard.
A Few Music/Dance Highlights
Los Muñequitos de Matanzas: Very famous traditional Cuban rumba group started in 1956, now educating the next generation of rumberos through their school La Rumba Soy Yo.
Asociación de Rumberas de Matanzas: Urban community organization started and led by amazing women who saw a need for a space for seniors and children to gather. Supporting drum and dance traditions through education and performances in a small open air plaza.
Grupo Tambor Yuka: Rural community keeping tambor drumming traditions alive. African slaves working 16+ hour days needed their owners’ permission to dance the tambor at the end of a grueling week. Drums made from hollowed avoacodo trunks and animal skins were heated with bonfires while a crowd gathered around a dancing couple.
Telmary: Super cool female hip-hop artist incorporating traditional Cuban beats and references.
Issac Delgado: World famous salsa and timba performer who PACKS the house at the Copa Room in Havana.
↓Check out Upcoming Postmambo Tours In 2018/2019
Postmambo is kind of a secret organization (shhhh) that acquires travelers mostly via word of mouth. I’m an avid traveler and rarely repeat trips, but once you’ve Postmambo’d you’re #PostmamboForLife and I can honestly say I’ll be going back.
For more info, please visit: http://postmambo.com/
A very special thanks to the Postmambo Team:
Ned Sublette, Leader and Walking Rumba Encyclopedia
Caridad Diez, Tour Producer and all around #LadyBoss
Jesús García, Cuban Guide Extraordinaire
Arián Sabatés, Driver and Guardian Angel