ARC Music Tour of Cuba

In conjunction with Cuba Music Week ARC is hosting a music tour of Cuba, May 17-24.  You can read our itinerary here.



Cubadisco is the Cuba’s leading music event and our partner in presenting Cuba Music Week. We’ll be there for the symposium and all the events. Soooo… at 10:59pm on May 13, day before the event, we finally got the music program! It was all wrong, but you can see it here.


Afropop Worldwide

Peabody Award-winning PRI Radio program Afropop has contributed 18 hours of their radio shows on Cuban music – historic material beginning in the 1990s and stories via their Hip-Deep series. Hip-Deep is an amazing collection of original, in-depth programs, and The Cuban Connection pieces are researched and produced by Ned Sublette. Cuban Connection page at Afropop


Photos by Richard Fleming

Richard is an old pal I first met in Cartagena and these are some wonderful music related pics he made while working on his book, which you should get, Walking to Guantanamo. see photos | authors’s website

Instrument book

Instruments Database

Cuba’s Museo Nacional de la Música donated their rare and important book of instruments in their collection. And a remarkable collection it is. Here’s a gallery of a few our favorites. visit museum | ARC’s instrument database



OYU ORO Afro Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble is a dance company based in New York City and Santiago de Cuba, committed to the preservation of Afro-Cuban culture through dance, song and music.

Lennon book

La Balada De John Y Yo

We found this handmade book in Havana recently, cut and pasted bits on the covers, featuring lyrics, poems, 31 pages and yet an index to help you navigate. A labor of love or manic obsession? see the whole book

Duo Sauce - Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to the Lobby

Sometimes what you do to make a living, and where you do it, belies your talent. Here’s the Duo Sauce playing Zep’s “Stairway To Heaven” – learned to give tourists something familiar – but played with heart and consummate skill. Filmed by Allan Bastos in the lobby of Parque Centrale Hotel when B’s camera ran out of juice!

Cuban fire cover

Cuban Fire excerpt

Isabele Leymarie had donated an excerpt from her excellent book, Cuban Fire: The Story Of Salsa And Latin Jazz. read an excerpt | see Isabele’s film, Latin Jazz In New York

Phil Ochs Cuban crisis

The view from ’63

Last year we scanned some materials for the Folk City exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. So I’m reminded of this, hung upon the walls, Phil Ochs’ 1963 Talking Cuban CrisisYou can hear the song here. Tool around a bit in Phil’s first album for another paean to incongruity, Ballad of William Worthy, about a man who can’t travel to Cuba because he lives in a free country…  Then come back here, OK?

Fernandez Cuban books

In the morning mail

Quite unexpectedly a generous gift arrived today from University of California Professor Raúl Fernández. We’ve entered his two books in our books database already, and will get them scanned soon.  Thanks – nice covers by the way – and looking forward to reading. more about Prof Fernández

last days

Cubadiscos schedule!

One day before the event and the schedule still hadn’t arrived! Undaunted, our people in Havana did a schedule-selfie.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.28.04 PM

Musical Timeline

When the Buena Vista Social Club became popular PBS did a featured site and created a pretty good musical timeline with attendant information. Only goes up to 1993, but still.

pescador sml

Rey Montalvo

Another handmade Cuban book about a musician – this by Elizabeth Valero, published by Esiciones Vigia in an edition of 150. The 3-D cover is made from scraps of paper, cutouts, watercolored bits and fabric. Rey is a young contemporary trovador and poet from Mantanzas, containing lyrics to three songs celebrating the contributions of local fishermen to the Revolution and conditions today.

Trump sml


Even here it’s hard to get away from current events. On the streets of Havana a man of the world has taught his dog to bare his teeth and snarl when he hears the word, ‘Trump.’

GRammy Tattoo sml copy


Jeff Friedman noticed this very nice Grammy tattoo on the arm of Muñequitos drummer, celebrating a 2001 award.

“Ay, no ha que llorar, que la vida es un carnaval! es mas bello vivir cantando.”
“Ay, there’s no need to cry, because life is a carnival! It’s more beautiful to live singing.”
from La Vida Es Un Carnaval by Victor Daniel


“It seems as though there is always bad news coming from Cuba. This year it was the revolution, and last year it was Cuban music.”
Life magazine, 1933

How They Did It

Myles Eastwood sent along this insight into the recording of the Buena Vista Social Club’s  Cienfuegos Tiene Su Guaguancó  Posted on his site.

Well, I’m pooped.  Time for a sit-down next to John at Parque Menocal, Vedado.