JitN’s Trip To Cuba
(Photo by Stephen Gerard. More to come!)
In January 2015, we made our maiden voyage to Cuba, on a custom people to people program we arranged in collaboration with Cross Cultural Journeys. A small group of 16 travelers including JITN staff spent 9 days exploring the island’s culture, history, and especially its music. Starting in Santiago, Cuba’s oldest and second largest city, we visited historic sites and saw and heard the musical and cultural roots of what eventually became Afro-Cuban jazz. From there we traveled to Havana, a place at once opulent ruin, abuzz with life and culture, and in the full ferment of rapid change. We enjoyed lectures by historians and musicologists, toured the National Fine Arts Museum, and took walks in Old Havana. Artists and musicians warmly welcomed us into their homes and studios where we were treated to private concerts, and our musicians were invited onto the bandstand to play together with our hosts.
This is just the beginning. We have been asked to come back next year, to coordinate a joint public jazz performance in Havana, teach clinics, and help to train young musicians. From the connections we made this time, many exciting things are growing.
This was the first of what we hope to make an on-going tradition. You can be a part of it too. Come explore Cuba with us next time we travel.