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Cubadisco: The Cuban Grammys

Cubadisco: The Cuban Grammys

Cuba draws from an incredibly rich musical heritage. As anyone who has spent any time on the island knows, you are never far from the sound of live music. Toby Brocklehurst is only half joking when he explains that ‘There are 100,000 registered musicians in Cuba and everyone else plays the guitar.’ Cubadisco is not so much Cuba’s version of the Garmmy’s as its own musical celebration and appreciation of the strides, which Cuban musicians and the Cuban recoding industry have made over the years. There are 25 prize categories with the main awards being keenly sought. The festival includes concerts, recitals, symposia and exhibits, and undoubtedly represents Cuba’s most important musical awards lasting for a week in May each year.

About Cubadisco
Created in 1997 to provide a meeting place for the Cuban recording industry, it has grown to become a reference point for anyone interested in knowing about everything that is happening on the burgeoning and varied Cuban music scene and for going to the concerts, recitals, colloquiums and exhibitions that have sprung up as a result of the event. Today the Festival is considered to be the most important forum for Cuban music and its prizes are greatly coveted by record companies, performers and composers.

Every year Cubadisco is dedicated to a country and a musical genre and also pays tribute to artists and personalities with a distinguished creative work within Cuban music. Specialized lectures, expositions, colloquiums, concerts and CD launchings take place during the Fair, as well as a wide musical program at different theaters in Havana, with the participation of many Cuban and foreign groups and singers.

Around 1964, the existing record labels in Cuba were merged together under the name of Recordings and Musical Editions Enterprise (EGREM), which maintained a monopoly for almost 25 years in Cuban music. At the end of the 1980s, other recording labels were formed, including ARTEX S.A, RTV Comercial and the PM Records recording studio of Pablo Milanés and Ojalá of Silvio Rodríguez. A further three Cuban record labels were also established: Art Color, Caribe Productions and Magic Music.

2014 Cubadisco Program


KARL MARX THEATER MAY 14 / 9 pm Presentation of the Chambao flamenco group (Spain), with Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela as guest. MAY 18 / 5 pm Children’s Gala MAY 24 / 8:30 pm Me dicen Cuba Gala MAY 25 / 5 pm Children’s Activity


TEATRO NACIONAL DE CUBA, SALA COVARRUBIAS MAY 17 / 8:30 pm Gala Tambor a la brasa, with percussionists and other artists, tribute to percussion in Cuban popular music. Announcement of the major awards and awarding Gran Premio Cubadisco 2014 and Honorable, Special and international Awards. MAY 18 / 11 am Inaugural Gala with a performance by the National Sumphonc Orchestra in the first part, in a piece dedicated to symphonic percussion; and in the second part, Formell Sinfónico, with the National Symphonic Orchestra and musicians from Los Van Van band. Awarding Honorable and Special awards to outstanding music personalities. MAY 21 / 8:30 pm Gala dedicated to Cultural Diversity Day and in tribute to the Guest Country Trinidad and Tobago MAY 23 / 8:30 pm Gonzalo Rubalcaba and his Group MAY 25 / 11 am Closing Gala with Cuban symphonic and choir pieces dedicated to percussion


PABELLÓN CUBA MAY 16-18, 23-25 / 10 am – 8 pm Trade Fair with a large artistic program, especially for children and young people; presentation of records, books and audio-visuals; talks and jam sessions with popular artists. (10 am to 8 pm).


SALÓN BENNY MORÉ DE LA TROPICAL MAY 16-18, 23-25 / 8 pm Dances with the participation of the principal Cuban groups, award-winners at the different editions of Cubadisco.


Other Activities: Dance and percussion workshops, master classes, exhibitions and jam sessions at the Palacio de la Rumba; performances by Cuban artists and guests at the Delirio Habanero at the Teatro Nacional, peñas at the Avenida Theater, la Peña de la Gorda, La Utopía, the CFN home base, Callejón de Hamel y and the Mella Theater garden, encounters in arts schools, visits to community projects, tours dealing with la rumba cubana. May 2014 This article formed part of the may 2014 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.


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