MANANA//Cuba is a groundbreaking festival, events production company and record label that connects the electronic music community to masters of Afro-Cuban folkloric tradition.
The project is built around the belief that Cuba’s powerful blend of rhythm and culture will enrich the electronic music community, while giving local musicians a platform to connect with international audiences, incorporate technology and take their musical development in new directions. MANANA (Ma’na’na) is a Cuban word that is deeply rooted in local Rumba culture. Put simply, it is the flow of an artist and the spiritual connection with their audience.
WHO ARE WE?
MANANA was founded by three friends - Cuban Hip Hop star, Alain Garcia Artola and two Englishmen, Harry Follett and Jenner del Vecchio - in a makeshift temporary studio that they set up to record and collaborate with local musicians in the barrios of Santiago de Cuba. To us MANANA is about hunger for knowledge and cultural development. It is based around community and friendship. But most importantly it’s about making music.
The 2016 edition of MANANA//Festival was the first international music festival to take place in Cuba. It was held in the the Eastern province of Santiago de Cuba and featured 20 electronic music pioneers - including Nicolas Jaar, Adrian Sherwood, A Guy Called Gerald, Quantic and Plaid - in collaboration with local Afro-Cuban masters. The team also worked with Ableton and New York University to deliver a program of workshops, helping to prepare the local musical community for their impending connection to the US.
On the one year anniversary of the festival we partnered with No-Nation to bring the highlights from the festival back to London's prestigious Barbican Centre for a one-off showcase. The performance featured original collaborations between Santiago's rumba pioneers, Obbatuké, and seminal Warp Records duo Plaid, DJ Tennis, Soundspecies and Ariwo. This year we have announced a partnership with Oval Space to curate a series of bespoke Sunday events, and second Barbican show has been confirmed for February 2019.
In February 2017 MANANA celebrated the launch of MANANA//Records, part of the !K7 Collective and inspired by the collaborations that took place at the Festival. The first release by Obbatuké, an 8-piece rumba collective from the barrios of Santiago, acted as a gateway for the electronic music community into rumba’s main sub-genres, like Guaguancó and Yambú. It was followed by two critically acclaimed eponymous albums by Cuban/Iranian breakthrough act Ariwo and Soundspecies + Ache Meyi, focussing more on combining traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms with live electronics. 2018 will see the release of Ariwo's second album and a Soundspecies + Ache Meyi remix EP featuring Ron Trent, IG Culture and Hello Skinny.