Havana Cultura: ¡Súbelo, Cuba!


Welcome to my next  'all new' Cuban adventure for 2018... Havana Cultura: ¡Súbelo, Cuba!

I was looking for some genuine music from the Island to drop in my DJ sets this year and encouraged by a release on Mañana records and the developing relationship that Cuba has with electronics and afrobeats, the search was on for a next wave of voices and sounds...

DJ Jigüe was the answer! DJ Jigüe and his Guampara collective have been creating a new Cuban sound for a few years now; a self-contained unit of rappers, musicians and singers aided and abetted by a DJ producer with a focus and studio space..

Reminding me a little of the old 4Hero Reinforced Dollis Hill HQ - but in Cuba - no mean feat. It’s a space where musicians and creatives can congregate… With parties arranged in old factories mixing art, music and fashion resulting in a truly new Havana that is breaking down the walls - but gently.

I was blown away by what I found this year -  I’ve been coming here for almost 10 years now and finally I felt a movement that was neither restricted by politics (hip hop), tradition (jazz) or eastern European techno (yawn). It felt vibrant and confident like at no other time. Going to a place like Fabrica de Arte makes you realise how Cuba can now home an independent platform that celebrates its unique creativity with music, art, fashion and photography…. this is a landmark venue open for all - not just the tourists.

 I have a lot of people to thank for opening up this truly unique place to me. Roberto Fonseca, of course. His open attitude to my ideas allowed us to begin the journey in such a stylish way. Recording with Danay Suarez on the first album was a career highlight, and performing at the Barbican is still fresh in my memory…

Touring with Roberto Carcasses was essential too… He was an important backbone of the second album I made in Cuba; ’The Search Continues…’ Roberto Carcasses is a key player and son of the legendary Bobby - and he still hosts his band Interactivo - an essential stop off in Havana every Wednesday at Bertolt Brecht 

I never thought I’d be almost 10 albums in but with time comes change and in Havana Cultura: ¡Súbelo, Cuba!, I have an album that naturally follows the Mala Cuba album from 2012. I’ll never forget the night Mala played a DJ set for the first time in Cuba… The focus and attention on him was intense.. I feel that that night signified a small change in the scene here… some seeds were planted…

My recent recordings with Dayme were special…. have you checked her Cubafonia yet? She recently toured the US - and blew everyone’s mind!

So, this collection is a combination of Will LV and DJ Jigüe working on beats and grooves with a new collection of singers, rappers and players. This album was all recorded at the beginning of 2018 in Habana Vieja. I also wanted the whole process to be overviewed by a filmmaker who really impressed me with her work with Dayme Arocena. Savanah Leaf has made a selection of mini films documenting all the artists and crew.

Hope you enjoy

The album comes out 15th June.. We’ll be touring in September…. One to watch for sure…

- Gilles

Raj Sidhu