Centro Cultural El Gran Palenque

CA4
Style of place: Cultural institute
Cover: CUC 5
Style of music: Rumba
Ambience
Popularity
Entertainment
Service
Best for: Mesmerizing show of Afro-Cuban religious and secular dance and drumming for three hours in an atmospheric setting
Worst for: Strong, loyal crowd of Cuban regulars, hustlers included can be off-putting for the uninitiated
Calle 4, entre 5ta y Calzada (7ma), Vedado
(+53)7836 - 9075
Performances 3-6pm Sat
  • El Gran Palenque is home to the world-renowned dance troupe Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba. Opened in 1997, it has its origins in the Patio de la Rumba, founded in 1982 by folklorist Rogelio Martínez Furé. Performances come from members of the Conjunto and invited guests, and take place in the large outdoor patio.

    Every Saturday afternoon the troupe hosts the Sábado de la Rumba, a mesmerizing show of Afro-Cuban religious and secular dance and drumming at El Gran Palenque in Vedado. Unless you are 100% “patón” (literally having large feet, but really meaning stiff), you can expect the three hours of rumba, guaguancó and yambú to get you moving. In fact it is virtually impossible to stop your body from beginning to sway and your feet moving to the rhythm of the congas. Although on the tourist map this remains refreshingly a-lo-Cubano.

    It’s three full hours of rumba (not the ballroom dance, mind you!) guaguancó and yambú. Quickly, the atmosphere is energized and you feel your blood rushing through your veins and your heart racing. Inadvertently, your body begins to sway and your feet move to the rhythm of the congas. There’s no age limit here and the dance floor is open to all. Visitors, whether from the island or from overseas, who are introduced for the first time to Afro-Cuban rhythms are guided by members of the dance company. Passersby can’t avoid the noise coming from inside and, out of curiosity, come into El Palenque, unaware that they will probably stay until the end and most likely come back for more! The mixed bill changes regularly and the atmosphere is almost always hot. Expect a strong, loyal crowd of Cuban regulars, hustlers included. Guests have included Yoruba Andabo, Clave and Guaguancó, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, and other groups that revive old rumbas from colonial days, yambú, columbia and the popular guaguancó, which only needs a bottle, a drawer and a spoon to make music and a Cuban to shed the daily routine of life dancing in any patio, street or park.

    The crowd is mixed with everyone from German tourists to Cuban babalawaos & santeros (Santeria adherants), grandmothers, kids and the local neighbours as well as the odd know it all students.

    
  • Il Divino

    Il Divino  LH 5

    Il Divino gets our vote as the absolutely best place to eat in Havana with the family at the weekend. 6 stars out of 5. Simply brilliant, superlatives trip off the tongue. The place is huge with plent …

    Café Jazz Miramar

    Café Jazz Miramar  LH 5-

    This new jazz club has quickly established itself as one of the very best places to hear some of Cuba’s best musicians jamming. Forget about smoke filled lounges, this is clean, bright – take the fags …

    Factoria Plaza Vieja

    Factoria Plaza Vieja  LH 5-

    This is a great place to drink beer, which is lucky given that this Austrian joint venture microbrewery does not serve any other alcoholic drinks. It is located in the wonderfully renovated Plaza Viej …

    La Campana

    La Campana  LH 4+

    Chill out bar and grill, La Campana seems at first glance more an upmarket homestead finca (farm) than anything else. This is an upmarket ranchón beside a nice pool. The tables are comfortable and wel …

    La Bodeguita del Medio

    La Bodeguita del Medio  LH 4+

    Back 1942, this well-known restaurant was a small grocery store. Its owner, Ángel Martínez, began to sell food as the number of customers increased. One day, journalist Leandro Garcia, a regular costu …

    Café Cantante Mi Habana

    Café Cantante Mi Habana  LH 4

    What Café Cantante lacks in comfort and service (especially from the doormen) it more than makes up for in the quality of the artists which play there and the busy atmosphere. Afternoon shows feature …

    Melia Habana Sports Bar

    Melia Habana Sports Bar  LH 4+

    Opened early in 2013 this represents a creative leap of thought by the management of the Melia Hotel. Out with the Brazilian outdoor restaurant and in with the uber modern sports bar with big screen T …

    El Floridita

    El Floridita  LH 5

    While the Floridita has its detractors, it is probably worth stopping in for a daiquiri just because it is there. It has certainly been around the block since it first opened its doors over 200 years …

    Las Piedras Bar

    Las Piedras Bar  LH 4

    Las Piedras definitely has a niche as the after party venue of choice. This would though be limiting its appeal since although yes it does have great musicians (last week Francis del Rio) who start to …

    Oratorio de San Felipe Neri

    Oratorio de San Felipe Neri  LH 4+

    The opening of this concert hall is a result of the architectural work being carried out in La Habana Vieja. Originally a church built in 1693; it was acquired two centuries later by a bank and remain …

    « 3 of 9 pages »