With the end of the US embargo in sight, these are exciting but fragile times on the island. Manana is an inclusive and collaborative festival built on the deep love and mutual respect we all have for rhythm.
The concept for the festival has been developed in partnership with Cuba's most influential cultural institutions and musicians, and has been approved by the Cuban Government. It will take place in Cuba's second largest city, Santiago de Cuba, widely regarded as the musical heart of the Caribbean, in the incredible Heredia Complex.
What began as a musical dialogue between three friends - Alain, Harry and Jenner - in the barrios of Santiago de Cuba can now count on the support of an incredible network of acclaimed partners, including legendary British Production company No Nation, Mexican record label Cobra Voyage, Scottish ethical travel partners Caledonia Worldwide, US Latino mouthpiece Conrazón, Tropical DJ collective & Vinyl mastering plant Sofrito and The Carvery, underground party organisers Black Atlantic, and acclaimed record labels Soundway & Tru Thoughts.
MEET THE FOUNDERS
Manana grew out of a collaboration and close friendship between Londoners Harry Follett, Jenner del Vecchio and renowned Cuban Hip Hop artist, Alain Garcia Artola [TNT Rezistencia]. Harry met Alain when he moved to Santiago to study percussion, and together they built a temporary open doors studio where they recorded influential folkloric musicians, and experimented with the local sound. They quickly realised that there was huge creative potential in the combination of these two cultures, and with the help of our third founder and project manager, Jenner, Manana was born.
HARRY & ALAIN's Temporary STudio
TRAVEL TO SANTIAGO
The focus of this project is on the musical heartland of Santiago de Cuba in the east of the island; a city deeply rooted in its West African, Jamaican, Haitian and Hispanic heritage. All of Cuba’s social, political and cultural revolutions originated here - music is part of people’s souls. Like the heydays of Berlin, Detroit and Manchester, Santiago de Cuba is an industrial city alive with a young, expressive and vocal artistic community who are hungry to engage with the wider world, but also share their city's incredible cultural heritage.
We have partnered with Caledonia Worldwide, an ethical travel company with over 17 years of experience organising trips to Cuba. They are specialists in the East of the island and can book international flights and accommodation, organise tourist cards, and create whole travel packages. For transport and accommodation info visit our Travel Page.
We have spent the last year securing a line up of some of the most respected Afro-Cuban artists in the country, as well as a strong contingent of International electronic acts. Our hope is that by creating an environment of free expression and cultural exchange, Manana will keep growing through the new music, conversations and collaborations that grow out of the festival.
Below is a small selection of our Cuban acts, but to view the full list, including acts like NICOLAS JAAR, A GUY CALLED GERALD, GIFTED & BLESSED, MADAM X, JEREMY SOLE, NICKODEMUS, ADRIAN SHERWOOD and QUANTIC.
The festival will be held at the Teatro Heredia directly in front of the world renowned, Plaza de la Revolución, designed by Manana ambassador Alberto Lescay. Heredia is a massive complex and we'll be using three stages as well as a selection of relaxation areas and bars.
COLLABORATIONS AT MANANA
The festival will feature several unique collaborations between Cuban artists and our international lineup - we are unbelievably lucky to have secured the incredible Museo de La Musica (see images below) for the 10 days leading up to the festival, and will be turning it into an artistic hub with fully equipped rehearsal rooms, translators and relaxation spaces. These collaborations will feature some of the most incredible local musicians alongside a selection of our international headliners like Plaid, Quantic and Gifted & Blessed, with an aim to premier their output at the festival.
WHY IS MANANA IMPORTANT FOR SANTIAGO?
We believe that an international electronic music audience will find inspiration in Afro-Cuban folkloric music, and that Cuba’s powerful blend of rhythm, flow and feeling will enrich the development of electronic music and its community. In return, Manana 2016 will be an opportunity for Cubans to share their incredible cultural heritage, collaborate, and use technology to take their musical development in new directions.
Alongside the performances, we are working with technology partners and educational platforms like NYU's Music + Social Change Lab to set up workshops and lectures that will run throughout the event, and we hope to use these partnerships to equip the local musicians and studios, like the EGREM Studios and Estudio Aquiles (see photos below), with the right tools to take their musical development into their own hands.
Manana (Ma’na’na) is a word that is deeply rooted in Cuban music. Put simply, it is the flow of an artist and the spiritual connection that opens between them and their audience. Below are a couple of videos explaining the origins of the word and what it means to Cuban musicians.