It should. Santiago de Cuba (and Havana) were the architectural models for New Orleans.
New Orleans is far more Cuban in look than French. (Havana administered New Orleans when the Spanish controlled it during the important formative years between 1763 until 1803.)
In 1793, 30,000 French growers, refugees from the slave rebellion in Haiti, arrived in Cuba, mostly in Santiago de Cuba.
After a period of over 15 years in which they absorbed Cuban culture, these same people were expelled from Cuba between 1809 and 1810 by the Spanish after a political dispute between Spain and France. Most went to New Orleans where they had a huge impact on that city’s culture and music.
(Interestingly enough one of Cuba’s most beautiful and music cities, Cienfuegos, was founded by settlers from Bordeaux and Louisiana in 1819, so the influence flowed both ways.)
About La Familia Valera Miranda
La Familia Valera Miranda has been playing traditional Cuban son – the style popularized by Buena Vista Social Club – for generations. Music is a family affair for these famous musicians. Félix Valera Miranda, founder of the group, sings & plays guitar while his wife Carmen plays maracas. Their sons – Enrique, Raúl & Ernesto – play cuatro (an 8-string guitar tuned in pairs), bass & bongo respectively.
Since the 19th century, La Familia Valera Miranda has played a significant role in Cuban culture by collecting & preserving the deep-rooted traditions of the legendary Sierra Maestra mountain region. Original members of the family were subsistence farmers in the rural areas of the Oriente (eastern Cuba), primarily the Cauto River valley near the villages of Bayamo & Las Tunas. Later, they migrated to the areas around Santiago de Cuba & Guantánamo where they reside today.
The Valera & Miranda ancestors brought with them religious elements of Bantu origin alongside secular customs from the Canary Islands & Andalucía. These influences are found in their songs & the musical instruments they play.
You’ve got to hand it to Harvard. They’ve got money and in this case they knew how to spend it.
This short video is an excellent musical and visual survey of some of the best that the western part of Cuba has to offer music lovers.
Cuban saxophonist, percussionist and composer Yosvany Terry directs the jazz bands at Harvard where he is also a Visiting Senior Lecturer on Music.
He arranged to bring the school’s jazz band and other students to Cuba for a nine day tour.
They hit all the hot spots: Güines, the home of the birthplace of percussion genius Tata Güines; Mantanzas, where they heard the danzon group Orquesta Típica Miguel Failde and the rumba super group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas; and Havana where they met and played with Cuba jazz patriarch Bobby Carcassés, chekeré master Don Pancho Terry, trumpeter Julito Padrón, and bass player Gastón Joya.
They also visited three conservatories in Havana, Guillermo Tomás, Amadeo Roldán, and the National Schools for the Arts (La Ena), something casual tourists can’t do.
You can now watch this video – and all Spanish language videos – with English subtitles. It’s free!
I am not a lawyer. I am not pretending to be a lawyer. I am not selling, offering or giving away legal advice.
Check everything I say with your own research, common sense, and your own attorney.
Travel journalists and tour companies which charge $300 to $500+ a day for $100 worth of services (or less) aren’t going to do your research for you. They would like you to believe that you can’t visit Cuba legally without their “assistance.”
This audio explains the other side of the story
First, read the law. You might want to print it out and carry it with you.
3. The law requires that you engage in activities in support of the Cuban people on a full time basis (practically speaking six hours a day, five out of seven days a week) and specifically forbids things like laying around on the beach drinking daiquiris (unless it’s your “time off.”)
Here are two credible sources that attempt to define what this vague language means in practical terms:
4. The law requires that you keep records of your trip for five years in case some bureaucrat shows up at your door someday asking you why you went. Records would be a simple diary and receipts.
Based on my ability to read simple English – and to avoid being flimflammed – it appears to me that if I follow these guidelines I can travel to Cuba legally.
Does that mean that you or I can do this without hassles from U.S. government functionaries?
We may or may not avoid hassles coming back into our own country, but as you probably know there are U.S. government functionaries ready to hassle you about virtually everything – including coming home from countries like Canada, Mexico, the UK and Switzerland.
To defuse potential hassles coming back into the “Land of the Free” (the US):
1. Bring a copy of the law
2. Bring a copy of the forbidden entities to show you are aware of the law and to assure whoever that you avoided transactions with them
3. Bring a diary with receipts that records your daily activities
Listen to my audio. Read the resources I’ve linked to. Forewarned is forearmed.
If, after you’ve done your own research and thinking, you want to go to Cuba as an independent traveler, we can help.