Havana Blues Society

Cornbread, hog maw and chittlins

In our recent post Harping In Havana, we discovered the thrill of playing salsa music on the diatonic harmonica. We also said while Latin grooves feature strongly in rhythm and blues, the reverse is apparently not true in Cuba

Wherever you travel on the island, those infectious Cuban rhythms are omnipresent; even in the simplest peel of claves from a street vendor. Conversely, the only shuffle you’ll catch is from coveted chess boards in shady doorways.

But all this raises further questions. Do resident Cubans actually play or even like blues music? If so, where can it be found? Wouldn’t the style’s inextricable link with Americana have forced it deep underground, or else triggered its complete eradication under state censorship? And most importantly for the Harp Surgery, does the humble blues harmonica have a home in Cuba? We packed our bags and went in search of some answers.