Cuba’s International Salsa Music Festival returns

The sixth Cuba’s International Salsa Music Festival kicked off in the capital city of Havana this week after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to organizers, the festival has invited 27 Cuban music bands such as Los Van Van, Bamboleo and Havana D’Primera as well as foreign musicians.

Cuban musician Maykel Blanco, president of the salsa festival, said that the event will unite dancers from across the world.

“Cuba opens its music doors to those who want to dance with us. We share our joy and hearts with first-time and returning visitors,” he said.

Taking place in Havana’s district of El Vedado, the event features music concerts, salsa classes and DJ presentations, along with sales of CDs and magazines.

Salsa music artist Haila Maria Mompie said that the festival will be a good chance for Cubans and world musicians to interact with salsa fans.

“We will perform high-quality music for salsa music lovers. I am certain this fantastic festival will bring a positive outcome,” she said.

Running through Feb. 26, the festival is also attended by some 200 international dancers, largely from the United States, France, Colombia, Italy, Panama, Peru and Spain.

Among them is Paola Bianchi, a 26-year-old Italian who has been taking salsa classes in her home country for a couple of months.

“I will have a lot of fun while learning new salsa moves,” she told Xinhua. “This is a great opportunity to hone my skills as a salsa dancer.”

Mario Marin, who works as a salsa professor in central Havana, told Xinhua that music has the potential to attract thousands of foreign visitors to Cuba.

“Aside from our sandy beaches and protected areas, music is part of the identity of this country,” he said. “We can share with visitors what we know about salsa music.”

Cuba saw a remarkable year-on-year increase in the number of tourist arrivals in January. It estimates that some 3.5 million tourists will visit the Caribbean nation by the end of this year. ■

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