I love browsing the Internet, I know it can be distracting and you can head off in so many different, disparate directions and forget what the original intention you were exploring was, but it allows you to explore with serendipity as an outcome.
And this is how I arrived at Havana 1957. I was in a tour operator booking system and followed a random link which resulted in this video which I love just for it’s atmospheric content. It was only after a while I realised it was promoting a chain of restaurants which serve Cuban cuisine in that Cuban-Latin spirit which I discovered whilst visiting Havana a few years ago.
But first, the music. the song is Te Qeudaras and it is performed by Benny More who regarded as the greatest singer in Cuban music history by critics and musicians. But Benny, like many Cubans, had a difficult life. He left Cuba in the 1940’s and toured Mexico where he settled. He became a huge star in Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Colombia and Puerto Rico but was virtually unknown in his own country. He returned to Cuba in 1952 and despite the Revolution he remained in the country for the remainder of his life which was a short one; he descended into alcoholism and died in 1963 at the age of just 43 as a result of cirrhosis of the liver, his funeral was attended by tens of thousands of people.
Now you see what has happened? I’ve left the topic of Havana 1957 and done what I was always do online. So back to Havana 1957, you watch the video and it’s actually a promotional video for a small chain of Cuban restaurants in Miami!
And so I then followed my nose and visited Havana 1957 website and looked at their locations in Miami; they have the five 5 restaurants at South Beach, Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road, Espanola Way and Pembroke Pines. Their menu highlights their signature dish which is a roast Chicken Cuban style topped with Cuban gravy, white rice, black beans, plaintain and roast potatoes. But their is a great choice of seafood, latin influenced dishes such as empanadas, salads, and everything avocado including guacamole.
Havana 1957 are fun restaurants and great for celebratory events and to join in with great calendar events such as hallloween, New Year etc.
So back to the original point of this post – Havana, the capital city of Cuba.
I was drawn to the video on You Tube when I saw it was Havana related. I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Havana as part of a wider visit to Cuba and the city blew me away.
The old city of Havana (La Habana Vieja) is full of architectural gems which have been around for hundreds of years. Havana’s buildings are full of colour but worn by age and retain the history of this city which has seen so much history but not changed much since 1957! As you meander through the streets of old Havana you will meet some fantastic characters, beautiful people who are genuinely friendly and will pose for photos (be prepared to make a donation here).
But one of my favourite memories of Havana is music. You will hear music on the streets as you walk around, and often enjoy watching people dancing to the vibes. But in the bars is where you will really be hit by the music of Havana. As you enjoy a drink you will often find a band appears and begins to play the rhythmic latin beats with a zest and enthusiasm which is contagious.
And now I have come full circle and returned to the point of this article; Cuban music. There are many reasons to visit Cuba, it’s still unspoilt and not as heavily influenced by the 21st century as many other destinations, it’s people are friendly and highly educated (despite being, poor education and medical provision are of a high standard), it has a rich history (think Che Guevara, Fidel Castro), amazing architecture, beautiful countryside, stunning talcum like beaches, and some of the exciting musicians in the world.