The world famous Buena Vista Social Club (BVSC) is to embark on a worldwide farewell tour in 2015, but Songlines Music Travel is providing a unique chance for enthusiasts of the British conceived, Cuban project, to join a small group tour to the Caribbean island in the company of Phil Sweeney, author of the Rough Guide to Cuban Music. Part of the itinerary will be dedicated to the BVSC phenomenon, visiting the key places and meeting the people who created the brand prior to its last world outing.
In the words of Phil, the group’s expert tour leader: “We will look at the BVSC heritage, because a project of that scope doesn’t just disappear, and terrific second generation artistes such as the excellent group of the sons of Compay Segundo or the stunning young pianist Roberto Fonseca are still playing up a storm in Cuba.
“In keeping with all of Songlines’ highly original itineraries, the trip will also include a mix of the very latest and most varied music as well as the classics, with close personal contact with the artists, the technicians and the media who make up the rich world of Cuban music.”
Other highlights of the 16-day trip, departing 29 December will include:
Three full days exploring Havana, including a walk along the Malecón, the Necropolis and the Capitol Building, a visit to the rum museum and the Museo de la Revolución and a delve into the music of the capital to pick up on the mix of son, salsa, hip-hop and reggaeton that drives the city’s music scene
A flight to Santiago de Cuba with a city tour and evening visit to the Casa de la Trova which make the Calle Heredia a musical hotspot of Cuba
A journey to Manzanillo, rarely visited by tourists and home to three of the most important bands in eastern Cuba (who you may well meet), stopping en route in the provincial capital Bayamo
Exploring Manzanillo’s unique Moorish-influenced architecture and continuing the discovery of a music scene that the other musical tourists never make it to
The remarkably preserved town of Trinidad with a walking tour of the old town, and an exploration of the religious musics from Africa which are the basis of the Cuban cult of Santeria (and a special private reception by the Cabildo de Congos Reales)
Throughout the itinerary there will be visits to bars, restaurants and other places to listen to bands with opportunities to meet musicians thanks to Songlines’ extraordinary contacts.
Departing 29 December, the holiday costs from £1935 per person (two sharing) which includes 12 nights’ B&B (plus two nights’ HB in Trinidad), entry to selected music events, all sightseeing and transfers and the services of a Songlines Music Travel leader
For more information, visit songlinesmusictravel.com.
The Buena Vista Social Club, a British conceived project to re-create some of the classics of the Cuban music repertoire, was the biggest single Cuban musical phenomenon to hit the world in the last half century. The initial recording in 1997 was followed by a whole series of best-selling albums, a hugely successful film documentary by Wim Wenders and a succession of international live tours that took a changing cast of dozens of musicians around the top venues of the globe, from the Carnegie Hall to the Paris Zenith. Along the way, a series of fine old musicians were catapulted from impoverished retirement to world fame, and great old characters such as Compay Segundo and Ibrahim Ferrer ended their days unexpectedly as superstars. Now the current touring version of the BVSC has decided to call it a day, and the spring 2015 tour is billed as the BVSC Farewell Tour.
Songlines Music Travel is a joint venture between Songlines magazine, the leading World Music publication and The Tailor-Made Groups Company, one of the most experienced specialised operators in the business. The expert tour leaders on each trip are handpicked by Songlines Music Travel.