Culture, Multiculture, Music, Our People

Jazz, salsa, urban music and timba meet in Varadero

This week, over four days, Josone Park in the beach resort town Varadero will host a music festival, where nearly 20 Cuban and foreign artists with excellent musical careers will coincide on stage.


Photo: Prensa Latina

Alain Valdés Sierra


The function will take place from 12th to 15th July and is called the “Festival Josone Varadero Jazz & Salsa”. It is its first edition and it looks to establish Cuba in the world circuit of events of this type, a specialty in which the island and Varadero have accumulated experience. That is what its creator, Cuban musician Isaac Delgado, tells Prensa Latina: “I always had the idea of doing this type of event in Varadero, specifically in Josone Park due to its conditions and location inside one of the most famous beach resort towns in the world, and that several artistic manifestations would come together there, with music at the centre, if possible on an annual basis and at a time of the year with ample public attendance.”

The variety of musical trends is the hallmark that distinguishes the event which features rumba, salsa, timba, jazz, Romantic and urban music, performed by headline artists among whom the Puerto Rican Gilberto Santa Rosa, the Dominican José Alberto “El Canario”, the American Nicholas Payton, and the Salvadoran Álvaro Torres stand out.

Photo: Pixabay

“There are many great artists from all over the world who want to come to Cuba, the island has been a musical influence and a source of inspiration for many of them,” explains Delgado, speaking of the choice of musicians.

The funny thing is that there are great figures who see Cuba as a pending destination, who have travelled the world with their music, but have never been here.

“The interest is general, from pop to salsa artists, and adding to this the characteristics of the Cuban public, a different and demanding audience that gives artists a special reward for their work, if what a musician does is good, it undoubtedly captures the Cuban’s hearts,” says Delgado.

“When I thought about the line-up for the festival, I decided to start with rumba as the musical root that influenced almost all the genres of Cuban popular music, of course rumba is a very broad spectrum but I consider it the soul of our popular music,” mentions Delgado.

In terms of drums, the participation of the legendary Muñequitos de Matanzas, Osain del Monte, Rumberos de Cuba and Rumbatá is confirmed.

Later, he (Delgado) managed the idea of including jazz in the festival, especially young Jazz players of extraordinary quality, who command themselves with incredible force on stages around the world, such as the pianists Alejandro Falcón, “Cucurucho” Valdés, and the saxophonist Michel Herrera.

Female presence is another important aspect of the “Festival Josone Varadero Jazz & Salsa”. The percussionist Yissi Garcia will lead a project that brings together other women, and the singer Dayne Arocen, the latter being – according to Delgado – the young Cuban artist with the greatest international projection at the moment.

Photo: Prensa Latina

In the case of urban music, the duo Gente de Zona will attend, as global leaders in the musical trend, that – Delgado specifies – “we would like to have more artists of this genre because of their prominence in the taste of adolescents and young people, and because they generally help to magnify the show”.

The pianist Ernán Lopez Nussa, the percussionist Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, the tresero (a musician who plays the Afro-Cuban instrument called the “tres”) Pancho Amat, and El Septeto Santiaguero will also be playing.

But undoubtedly the most striking feature of the line-up is the foreign presence: Gilberto Santa Rosa will present his show “40 y contando” (“40 and counting”), the focus of the world tour with which he celebrates the four decades of his artistic career. “El Canario” is famous in Cuba, above all for his two excellent albums with El Septeto Santiaguero but will attend the festival with his orchestra to play his own repertoire.

Nicholas Payton is a gifted jazz trumpeter, and will be accompanied by first-rate musicians. For his part, Álvaro Torres is an artist whose music has a profound impact on people’s emotions. (PL)

(Translated by Hannah Phelvin-Hartley – Email address:

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