HAVANA BEHIND THE SCENES THRU MUSIC, BASEBALL & MORE

ERIC NADEL, RUTHIE FOSTER & SETH WALKER – HAVANA 2019

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ABOUT THE TRIP

In conjunction with Texas Rangers Announcer and longtime Cuba Watcher Eric Nadel, Cuba Educational Travel (CET) has teamed up with musicians Ruthie Foster and Seth Walker, who will perform for the first time for Cuban crowds, to put together a behind-the-scenes look at Cuba and the Cuban people. Rich with concerts, jam sessions and private performances with top Cuban musicians, travelers will have the chance to enjoy Cuba alongside Foster and Walker, who will each perform at Havana’s hottest nightspot, the Fabrica de Arte Cubano.

ABOUT CUBA EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL

Cuba Educational Travel (CET) is a leader in cultural travel to Cuba. CET unlocks the best of Cuba by providing access to the country’s top artists, academics, tastemakers, and cultural figures. CET’s tailor-made programs enable clients to experience Cuba’s vibrant culture and gain a deeper understanding of the island, while ensuring full compliance with all U.S. regulations.  

CET has been on the frontlines of cultural collaboration, helping to bring Cubans to the U.S. and Americans to Cuba. From Yoga retreats to concerts to dance performances, CET has wide-ranging experience and contacts. Recent highlights include organizing the Diplo Major Lazer concert in Havana, which drew a crowd of over 500,000 people and bringing Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba, the country’s top dance group, to perform at the Latin Grammys.

ITINERARY

Wednesday, Feb 6

TBD                    Arrive to Havana. (pending flight information)

TBD                    Settle in to the historic Hotel Capri, which was one of the first hotel casinos built                                   by the American mafia in Cuba. Owned by mobster Santo Trafficante, and run by                                     George Raft, the hotel was at a time one of the largest casinos in Havana. Located                                   blocks from the University of Havana, Coppelia ice cream, and the Havana seawall,                                 the recent remodeling provides first class amenities, while leaving the history and                                   original charm of “The Capri.”

6 pm                   Spend the early evening at Café Madrigal with Frank Delgado, renowned singer                                 and songwriter, for a discussion about the nueva trova movement in Cuba, followed                                 by a musical performance. Café Madrigal, owned and run by film director Rafael                                     Rosales, is housed in a beautiful colonial mansion with the walls lined with captivating                             artwork. Enjoy tasty tapas and cocktails.

8 pm                  Welcome Dinner at La Terraza, a lovely restaurant on a terrace overlooking the                                      famous Pardo Promenade of Old Havana.

10 pm                 Enjoy Old and Central Havana under the stars; take a stroll along Prado Boulevard,                              hang in Central Park, and take in the hustle and bustle of Obispo Street.

Thursday, Feb 7

9:30 am              Visit a centuries-old mansion in Vedado neighborhood. Step inside this stately                                     residence to discover what lies behind the crumbling facades of Havana’s impressive                             mansions. Josie, who has lived in the house for over 60 years, will show us around                                 and explain its rich history.

10:30 am           Walking tour of Old Havana’s Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since                              1982. Wander through the Plaza de Armas, a scenic tree-lined plaza formerly at the                                center of influence in Cuba. It is surrounded by many of the most historic structures in                              Havana as well as important monuments. See the Plaza de San Francisco, a cobbled                              plaza surrounded by buildings dating from the 18th century, dominated by the                                          baroque Iglesia and Convento de San Francisco dating from 1719. Visit the Plaza                                      Vieja, surrounded by sumptuous houses of the Havana aristocracy from the 18th and                              19th centuries. Visit Plaza de la Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana.

1 pm                  Lunch at Doña Eutimia paladar. Famous for its ropa vieja and frozen mojitos, this                                   cozy paladar made Newsweek Magazine’s top 100 restaurants in the world in 2012.                                 The restaurant’s location in the beautiful cathedral square is unbeatable.

3:30 pm            Enjoy a private performance by Banda Ancha, a jazz band led by Yissy Garcia, an                                 amazingly talented young percussionist. Banda Ancha calls its style “high-speed                                     Cuban jazz,” a mixture of different rhythms like funk, reggae and samba, with Afro-                                   Cuban influences.

7:30 pm            Cocktails at Oficios, a magazine dedicates to Cuban art and literature that focuses                                 much of its work on emerging artists. Discuss the project with the Oficios team and                                 check out the Oficio Art Gallery.

9 pm                 Dinner Reservation at Tierra, Havana’s newest international dinning spot. Located                                 inside a container in the Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the restaurant mirrors the eclectic                                 crowd, serving dishes from around the world. Calle 26, between Calle 11 and 13,                                       Vedado (not included – to be paid on the ground)

11 pm                Performance by Ruthie Foster mixing a wide palette of American song forms, from                                gospel and blues to jazz, folk and soul, at Fabrica de Arte. The brainchild of Afro-                                  Cuban fusion musician X-Alfonso, it has become the country’s most successful art and                            music venue and a meeting spot for a young, eclectic crowd of Cubans and foreigners.

Friday, Feb 8

11 am                 Enjoy a performance by Habana Compás Dance, which encompasses the rich                                       rhythm and flow of the island, performing traditional and modern dances born from                                 their Spanish, Cuban and Afro-Cuban heritage.

1 pm                  Lunch at Mediterraneo Havana, to witness the farm-to-table experience in a                                           modern, family run paladar in the Vedado neighborhood. This cozy paladar produces                             much of what it serves at a nearby farm in Guanabacoa Cuba, including the                                             vegetables and dairy products.

3 pm                 Discussion with La Reyna y Real, a female hip hop/jazz duo. The group’s music                                     focuses on breaking down stereotypes in Cuban society, including machismo,                                         healthy relationships, gender relations and race. They will share info about their                                       interesting musical journey and insight into the challenges and opportunities young                                 Cubans face.

4:30 pm            Visit to a local baseball field and meet with Lázaro de la Torre, former pitcher for                                 the Havana Industriales, and a little-league team. Opportunity to interact with young                                 baseball players and offer donations.

8 pm                 Dinner Reservation at El Cocinero. This lovely restaurant is housed in a former                                       factory. Home to Havana’s hip, you might think you are in Soho or Madrid. (not                                         included – to be paid on the ground)

10:30 pm          Performance by Seth Walker who has had a remarkably prolific career as a prime                                   exponent of the blues and other variations of a rustic roots sound, at Fabrica de Arte                             Cubano.

Saturday, Feb 9

9 pm                 Depart to Matanzas, referred to as “the Athens of Cuba.” Between 1817 and 1827,                                   after the introduction of large sugar mills, the region flourished and attracted a large                               number of artists, writers, musicians, and intellectuals. 

10:30 am           Arrive to Matanzas.

11 am                 Enjoy a performance by the local Matanzas Choir in the beautiful seminary.

1 pm                  Enjoy Lunch at Paladar Mallorca, Tripadvisor’s selection as one of the best                                             restaurants of the city, it offers Cuban, Chinese, Italian and Spanish cuisine.

2:30 pm            Visit the Palmar de Junco Baseball field, the “Oldest active baseball stadium in                                  the world.” It held the first baseball game 147 years ago. There, you will find the                                      Baseball Hall of Fame Museum of Matanzas, visited by thousands of Cuban and                                      foreign tourists. This baseball field contributes to the development of our young                                      talents that are part of the Provincial Academy of the well-known national sport.

Free Evening

Sunday, Feb 10

10 am                Discussion with Sigfredo Barros, sports reporter for the Granma and top expert on                               baseball in Cuba.

12:30 pm           Visit to the Vista Hermosa Farm in Guanabacoa and enjoy lunch. Excursion                                          includes horseback riding, discussion about sustainable agriculture and food                                            sampling.

2 pm                  Behind the scenes art tour: Visit different homes and neighborhoods to tour the                                    studios and galleries of established and up-and-coming Cuban artists.

3:30 pm             Tour of agricultural market and food ration store to better understand purchasing                                power and consumption.

7:30 pm             Head out to The Matinee at Casa de la Música, for live music and dancing with                                  locals. A necessary destination for those who come in search of good musical offers,                              because right there they will be waiting for the best exponents of popular music.

9:15 pm             Dinner Reservation at Paladar Atelier. This restaurant is equally known for its                                         atmosphere and exquisite cuisine. The lighting and textures of the house, which was                               home to a pre-revolutionary senator, coupled with walls adorned in modern art,                                       create a cozy, but modern setting. (not included – to be paid on the ground)

Monday, Feb 11

9:30 am             Discussion with Carlos Alzugaray, former Cuban diplomat and expert on U.S.-Cuba                              relations, to learn about the bilateral relationship and Cuban foreign policy.

11 am                  Behind the scenes Mafia tour of Havana. Visit the places owned and frequented by                              mob bosses in the 40s and 50s, uncovering the city's pre-revolution Mob haunts.                                    Visits include: Hotel Nacional & Cabaret Parisien, home to the great meeting of the                                American Mafia, convened and chaired by Lucky Luciano in 1946.

1 pm                   Enjoy a traditional Cuban meal overlooking the Straits of Florida at the Hotel                                      Nacional. Tasty Cuban food served family style with a great view of the Havana sea                                wall and the old Spanish fortress. The setting brings many back to the 1950s, when                                  the mafia held its annual meetings at this historic hotel.

Free Afternoon

6:30 pm            Sunset Cocktails at La Guarida paladar rooftop, famous not only for its delectable                                dining, but also as the location for the film Strawberry and Chocolate. It is housed on                              the third floor of a large, old town house carrying the charming ambience of the early                              1900s.

8 pm                 Farewell dinner at Paladar San Cristobal. Located in the heart of Central Havana,                                 this paladar has a reputation of excellence in both atmosphere and local cuisine.                                     Enjoy great food while the local takes you back to the 1940s and 50s.

10 pm                Rooftop Party and Jam Session with Cuban Musicians in Old Havana, including live                             performance by star musician Adrian Berazain.

Tuesday, Feb 12

TBD                  Check-out and depart for airport. (pending flight information)

  RUTHIE FOSTER   Ruthie Foster was born in the small rural town of Gause, TX. Raised in a family of gospel singers, Ruthie first learned to sing during worship services at her community church. With a chapel-bred bravado trained on the works of powerful women such as Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin, her sound grew into an inspired blend of blues, folk and gospel.  Seeking to define her own path, Ruthie left her hometown to serve in the Navy. She discovered her love for performing while singing pop and funk tunes as the frontwoman of Pride, a band that performed at Navy recruitment drives nationwide. Ruthie’s time with Pride provided a window into varying American cultures coast to coast, and after her service she moved to New York City to pursue a career as a professional musician.  Ruthie moved back to Texas and settled in Austin. Her debut, Full Circle, was released in 1997 and was followed by Crossover in 1999. The two albums secured Ruthie as an up-and-coming singer/songwriter in the Austin scene and caught the attention of Texas independent label Blue Corn Music.  Ruthie’s studio album releases on Blue Corn Music include Runaway Soul in 2002, The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster in 2007, The Truth According to Ruthie oster in 2009, Let It Burn in 2012 and Promise of a Brand New Day in 2014. The latter three were all nominated for Grammy Awards in the category of Best Blues Album. She has also released two live albums, Stages in 2004 and Live At Antone’s, a CD and DVD release, in 2011.  Ruthie’s career also reaches beyond her own releases and performances. She has collaborated on stage with artists ranging from Bonnie Raitt to The Allman Brothers to Susan Tedeschi, and has recorded tracks with Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, and The Blind Boys of Alabama, among others. Ruthie has also recently been featured both as an actress, with a guest appearance on NBC’s television series Revolution, and as a classical vocalist, with Austin’s prestigious vocal ensemble Conspirare.

RUTHIE FOSTER

Ruthie Foster was born in the small rural town of Gause, TX. Raised in a family of gospel singers, Ruthie first learned to sing during worship services at her community church. With a chapel-bred bravado trained on the works of powerful women such as Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin, her sound grew into an inspired blend of blues, folk and gospel.

Seeking to define her own path, Ruthie left her hometown to serve in the Navy. She discovered her love for performing while singing pop and funk tunes as the frontwoman of Pride, a band that performed at Navy recruitment drives nationwide. Ruthie’s time with Pride provided a window into varying American cultures coast to coast, and after her service she moved to New York City to pursue a career as a professional musician.

Ruthie moved back to Texas and settled in Austin. Her debut, Full Circle, was released in 1997 and was followed by Crossover in 1999. The two albums secured Ruthie as an up-and-coming singer/songwriter in the Austin scene and caught the attention of Texas independent label Blue Corn Music.

Ruthie’s studio album releases on Blue Corn Music include Runaway Soul in 2002, The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster in 2007, The Truth According to Ruthie oster in 2009, Let It Burn in 2012 and Promise of a Brand New Day in 2014. The latter three were all nominated for Grammy Awards in the category of Best Blues Album. She has also released two live albums, Stages in 2004 and Live At Antone’s, a CD and DVD release, in 2011.

Ruthie’s career also reaches beyond her own releases and performances. She has collaborated on stage with artists ranging from Bonnie Raitt to The Allman Brothers to Susan Tedeschi, and has recorded tracks with Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, and The Blind Boys of Alabama, among others. Ruthie has also recently been featured both as an actress, with a guest appearance on NBC’s television series Revolution, and as a classical vocalist, with Austin’s prestigious vocal ensemble Conspirare.

  SETH WALKER   Over the past 10 years, Seth Walker has become recognized as one of the most revered modern roots artists in the United States; a three-dimensional talent comprised by a gift for combining melody and lyric alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true blue knack for getting around on the guitar. His latest studio album,  Gotta Get Back , produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers, is yet another masterwork that further expands upon this reputation.  Growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina, the son of classically trained musicians, Seth Walker played cello long before discovering the six-string in his 20s. When his introduction to the blues came via his Uncle Landon Walker, who was both a musician and disc jockey, his fate was forever sealed. Instantaneously, Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin, and B.B. King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. The rest is history. He's released seven albums between 1997 and 2015; breaking into the Top 20 of the Americana charts and receiving praise from  NPR, American Songwriter, No Depression  and  Blues Revue , among others.  In addition to extensive recording and songwriting pursuits, Seth is consistently touring and performing at venues and festivals around the world. Along with headline shows, he's been invited to open for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.

SETH WALKER

Over the past 10 years, Seth Walker has become recognized as one of the most revered modern roots artists in the United States; a three-dimensional talent comprised by a gift for combining melody and lyric alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true blue knack for getting around on the guitar. His latest studio album, Gotta Get Back, produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers, is yet another masterwork that further expands upon this reputation.

Growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina, the son of classically trained musicians, Seth Walker played cello long before discovering the six-string in his 20s. When his introduction to the blues came via his Uncle Landon Walker, who was both a musician and disc jockey, his fate was forever sealed. Instantaneously, Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin, and B.B. King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. The rest is history. He's released seven albums between 1997 and 2015; breaking into the Top 20 of the Americana charts and receiving praise from NPR, American Songwriter, No Depression and Blues Revue, among others.

In addition to extensive recording and songwriting pursuits, Seth is consistently touring and performing at venues and festivals around the world. Along with headline shows, he's been invited to open for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.

  ERIC NADEL   Eric Nadel is an experienced Cuba watcher and has traveled to the island on multiple occasions for Baseball and to guide visitors who want an in depth understanding of the reality on the island. He is the winner of the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, has been broadcasting Texas Rangers baseball for 37 years. He has learned Spanish to better communicate with Latin American players and has traveled widely in Latin America, taking part in baseball broadcasts in Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Eric is a seven-time recipient of the Texas Sportscaster of the Year Award and a member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Political Science.  An avid music aficionado, Nadel hosts an annual birthday benefit concert in Dallas. He has served as the Music Director of Vagabond, booking the musical talent for the Greenville Avenue club.

ERIC NADEL

Eric Nadel is an experienced Cuba watcher and has traveled to the island on multiple occasions for Baseball and to guide visitors who want an in depth understanding of the reality on the island. He is the winner of the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, has been broadcasting Texas Rangers baseball for 37 years. He has learned Spanish to better communicate with Latin American players and has traveled widely in Latin America, taking part in baseball broadcasts in Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Eric is a seven-time recipient of the Texas Sportscaster of the Year Award and a member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Political Science.

An avid music aficionado, Nadel hosts an annual birthday benefit concert in Dallas. He has served as the Music Director of Vagabond, booking the musical talent for the Greenville Avenue club.