Last December, marked the beginning of a what could possibly be a new era for the United States and Cuba. The announcement, made by Presidents Obama + Raúl Castro, to strengthen the diplomatic, economic, and travel ties between the two countries came after years of tense relationships and a 50+ year US embargo on the island. The embargo restricted Cuba’s access to the rest of the world, and shielded the island nation from others. However, the increased access to the island nation will expose its wealth of rich culture, food, and music.

A UK-based, Cuban nonprofit organization is hoping to share the musical and cultural heritage of the island through efforts in Cuba and abroad. MANANA CUBA is working to bring an inaugural electronic + folkloric music festival to Cuba. MANANA is committed to connecting traditional styles of Afro-Cuban music with modern electronic sounds. Scheduled to take place May 4-6, 2016 in Santiago de Cuba, the festival will be a celebration of community and collaboration as it explores the musical barrios of Santiago de Cuba.

MANANA is the result of a partnership between Cuban music legend, Alain Garcia Artola, + Harry Follett. The pair collaborated last year to experiment with electronic sounds and record prominent folkloric musicians. Artola + Follett’s collaboration also includes a partnership with Caledonia Worldwide, “ethical travel company,” which will provide a tour of Cuba’s diverse landscape.

Festival organizers have secured Santiago rumba group – Oba Tuke; UK-based tropical group – Sofrito; Puerto Rico’s Grupo IFE; dubstep legend – Mala; and UK promoter – Hydra. MANANA CUBA is currently seeking crowdfunding via Kickstarter, which will ultimately be used to secure a lineup of Cuban + international musicians.

Photo Courtesy of MANANA Cuba

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