The Musicabana Foundation announces international superstars Major Lazer – the collaborative project of Diplo, Walshy Fire and Jillionaire – will perform in Havana on Sunday, March 6, 2016.
Major Lazer will be one of the first major American musical acts to perform in Havana since diplomatic ties were restored between the United States and Cuba just over one year ago. The Major Lazer concert, which will take place at La Tribuna José Martí on Havana’s iconic waterfront, will serve as a prelude to Musicabana, the first international music festival produced by American and Cuban partners in more than 30 years.
Taking place in Havana, May 5 – 8, 2016, Musicabana will offer a multi-genre bill boasting over 25 artists, bands and global DJs. The festival will also mark the largest gathering of Cuban artists in a generation, featuring performances by music legends and some of today’s hottest acts, including Pablo Milanés, Carlos Varela, Los Van Van, Orquesta Aragón, Habana d’Primera, Ibeyi, Pedrito Martinez, Yoruba Andabo, Juana Bacallao & Tiembla Tierra, Interactivo, Kelvis Ochoa, and Adonis & Osain del Monte, among others. International superstars Sean Paul and Carlinhos Brown will also perform.
Musicabana will be free to the Cuban public, and special travel packages and VIP tickets will be available for international visitors. Regular announcements will be made in the weeks and months ahead as more talent is confirmed.
Produced by the Musicabana Foundation, the Major Lazer concert, the biggest EDM act to ever play on the island, will also be free and open to the Cuban people. Consistent with Musicabana’s intercultural spirit, the artists will meet with Cuban music students and young, up-and-coming DJs who will also share the stage with the famous band.
“Cuba’s music scene is bursting with the same raw talent and energy of decades past,” said Fabien Pisani, founder and festival director of Musicabana. “We are excited and proud to partner with Major Lazer and bring one of America’s top musical talents to Havana this March, helping us launch the Musicabana festival in May. We will make history and build an unprecedented cultural bridge between Cuba, the United States and the rest of the world through the power of music.”
“For as long as I can remember, Cuba has played an influential role in my love of music—Cuba has such a powerful cultural impact all over the world, and for me, especially growing up in Florida, it became one of the biggest cultural centers for music to evolve from,” explained Diplo. “I was lucky enough to visit Cuba a few years back with my friends Calle 13, and during my four days there, my mind was blown by the people, depth of culture and their way of life. Going back to perform in 2016 and to be a part of the culture once again is a huge blessing, and I couldn’t be more honored to bring the Major Lazer project there.”
Three generations of Cuban musical stardom have joined forces to bring Musicabana to life. The four-day, three-venue, first-of-its-kind festival was inspired by Cuban musical legends Pablo Milanés, Chucho Valdés and Juan Formell (to whom the festival is dedicated). Musicabana is being produced by Milanés’ Cuban-born, Brooklyn, New York-based son Fabien Pisani, in collaboration with Cuba’s National Institute of Music (ICM), the official local agency in charge of the development and promotion of the Cuban music heritage. Acclaimed New York events producer Chris Wangro, who has produced Presidential & UN summits, Papal visits, cultural festivals and spectacles around the world, will be acting as Lead Producer of Musicabana.
Ibeyi, the French-Cuban duo that has taken the music world by storm over the past year, will be the ambassadors of the festival, signaling Musicabana’s commitment to connecting Cuba’s musical past with its promising future.
Pisani, who grew up in Cuba, says the idea is to promote Havana’s rightful place among the world’s major music capitals and to bring Cuba back to the center of the Caribbean, one of the most diverse and culturally rich regions in the world.
According to Pisani, he and his New York-based co-producer David Kirchner have been working on the festival for over two years, but a big catalyst was the recent move towards normalization between the two countries. After consulting a top legal team to determine the legalities of hosting the festival, the Musicabana Foundation learned that Americans will be able to attend the festival and be part of history, provided that they qualify for one of 12 U.S. travel license categories. Musicabana is also offering sponsorship opportunities to companies interested in underwriting what the organizers believe will become the biggest annual music and cultural festival in the Caribbean.
Musicabana will light up the stages at three major venues around Havana: Plaza San Francisco de Asis, Salon Rosado of la Tropical, and La Piragua. Together, these premier venues can host up to 250,000 concertgoers per day.
When pressed on who, besides Major Lazer, had signed on to perform, Pisani smiled and said, “Mick Jagger, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Usher and many other global stars have all recently visited Havana. Whoever hits the stage will significantly relate to our festival’s cultural mission and long term vision. Who wouldn’t want to make history by performing in front of millions of young Cuban fans wanting to reconnect with the world?”
The Musicabana Advisory Board includes: Pablo Milanés, Chucho Valdés, Carlinhos Brown, Joaquin Sabina, Michael Lang, Ashley Capps, Ned Sublette and Chris Wangro.
The Musicabana Foundation is the nonprofit organization leading the development of year-round cultural events jointly produced by partners in Cuba and the United States, aimed at creating a lasting and significant cultural bridge between Cuba, the U.S. and the rest of the world.