Organized by a nonprofit group led by young Cuban singer and composer Eme Alfonso, the 1st Havana World Music Festival (February 7-8, 2014) sought to open a window from Cuba onto the world and from the world onto Cuba. At the time, Eme said that “the focus of HWM is to give the Cuban people the chance to become acquainted with the musical diversity of Cuba and the world, as well as to encourage exchanges among international and Cuban bands. This can be very beneficial to the musicians, producers and musical promoters in our country.”
The festival revolved on different genres and styles that work from the roots but aim to reach a wide audience. Therefore, alternative music, which merges popular genres like rock, reggae, salsa or electronic music, was predominant in Havana World Music. The HWM program was rounded off by folk groups that participated in Eme Alfonso’s Para Mestizar Project, a documentary music video that shows the cultural heritage of Cuba.
Fuel Fandango (Spain)
Electronic pop-rock with vocal flamenco elements.
La Mákina del Karibe (Colombia)
A fresh and lighthearted outlook on music with roots in Colombian popular music
DJ Auntie Flo (UK)
Known for his Äfro-futurist sound. Accompanied by the live percussion of the South African musician and DJ Esa Williams.
Thea Hjelmeland (Norway)
With Cuban musicians Jorge Luis Lagarza, Abel González Gómez and Barbarito Torres Delgado which gave a Cuban sonority to her characteristic music.
Los Van Van
Recently received the WOMEX (World Music EXpo) award in 2013 for their achievement in the international music industry.
Going strong for 35 straight years. Received both national and international acclaim for their fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with other styles, mainly rock.
Son of Síntesis band leaders Carlos Alfonso and Ele Valdés, whose music has always revolved around roots and exploration.
(X Alfonso’sister) whose music stands out for its sophisticated mix of Cuban rhythms with soul and jazz
Evolving from his funkier tunes to a music that is more rhythmic and traditional in the style of his native town, Santiago de Cuba
Fusion of reggae with other musical styles.
DJ Yoyván Guerra, Djoy de Cuba and Pauza
The Cuban electronic scene