Arabian Nights in Old Havana

Irina Echarry

Old Havana Cathedral

HAVANA TIMES,  April 28 – For those who want to discover something different in terms of music in the city’s historic center, Arab music is performed by the group Aisha al Hanan every Wednesday and Friday at 9:00 in the evening at the El Patio restaurant, where the show is presented in Havana’s Plaza de la Catedral.

In an improvised setting, the young woman of the group alternates dance with the playing of several musical instruments and singing.

One can hear everything from versions of Egyptian popular song, the vigorous reggae of Bob Marley, to Cuban son, as the group fuses Arab instruments with batá drums, maracas, the clarinet and claves.

Arabian Music on Wednesday and Friday nights.
Arabian Music in Old Havana

The public in attendance can be divided into two groups: passersby who stop to look and listen (foreigners and Cubans alike) and a smaller group —perhaps due to the high prices— who sit down to eat and drink at the restaurant’s tables (almost exclusively foreigners).  Those Cubans who listen almost always make themselves comfortable on the steps of the Cathedral.

In a relaxed atmosphere —sprinkled with an occasional tobacco vendor, flower seller or a card reader, people who make their living by moving among people and luchando (struggling) for a few coins— a colorful night unfolds. It’s a unique opportunity, since it’s the place only group presented in this space.

3 thoughts on “Arabian Nights in Old Havana

  • I think this could be one of enormous way outs to save Cuba from economic difficulties. It can encourage those who own entrepreneurship in theirself to develop their great potential of running business on food, handycraft, advertisement and so on.

  • Do people in Cuba play indian music as well? With sitars and tablas, etc.? That’d be something nice to hear and see.

  • This is good to know – I will definitely go in July.

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