Havana, Havana!

About the Program

Havana, Havana!
was featured in the 2012 PBS Arts Summer Festival.

Premiere Date: July 27, 2012

Tap your toes to the beat of this music documentary, which vibrates with the soul and energy of African-Cuban drummers, guajira guitarists and the pulsing melodies of celebrated Cuban musician Raul Paz, who brings together fellow musical stars Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa and David Torrens for a concert in Havana. Each of them chose to leave Cuba and make his musical career abroad, and each decided to return home with the goal of reinvigorating the musical life of the country they left behind. Today, they are making music in Cuba again (together and separately), bringing to their songs the sounds and rhythms of other cultures — jazz, electro, hip-hop, soul — and injecting a new spirit into the traditional Cuban music of their childhoods.

The film shows Paz, Bueno, Ochoa and Torrens during rehearsal, sharing musical ideas and blending their distinctive styles. Throughout, the musicians’ interviews are intercut with scenes of concert preparations and visits to places where they grew up and first learned to love music. Woven together, their stories create a fugue: each of the musicians was nourished by traditional Cuban music; each was fascinated by music from other cultures; and each left Cuba to find himself as an artist. The film captures the poignancy of their homecoming and the triumph of their concert in Havana, where they play together for the first time for the Cuban people.

Mirroring Cuba’s growing relationship with the world, Havana, Havana! highlights the evolution of the country’s musical expression in the 21st century.


Havana, Havana! was produced by
David Grubin Productions and Coloma Productions.

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PBS Arts made possible with funding from: Anne Ray Charitable Trust | National Endowment for the Arts