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In the warehouses of Matanzas, African slaves banged cod crates to create the percussion-driven sounds of rumba. Out of this entrepôt, the drums evolved from crates to barrels, and the spiritual language and ceremony of African religions resonated throughout the docks.
Today, Cuba’s rich musical heritage reflects its African, Spanish and native Indian roots that infuses the island’s culture. During your luxury Cuba holidays, explore the island’s elegant and energetic dance and its medley of musical melodies. Chart your way through a score of rumba or reggaeton with a Cuba music expert who will guide you through the history of Cuba’s music leaving you savvy about the country’s latest moves and grooves.
Jazz aficionados can meet with one of the country’s greatest musicians for a personal introduction to this musical language. Dance lovers can privately tour the Cuban National Ballet rehearsal rooms in Old Havana before being treated to a personal performance by the country’s world-renowned ballet school. In Santiago de Cuba, private son and salsa classes can be arranged with dance maestros Ballet Folklórico Cutumba before being treated to its stellar, mesmerising performance of Afro-Cuban dance.
Immerse yourself in Cuba’s architectural heritage — from its beautiful, lofty Spanish colonial buildings to its proud Communist monuments. Meet city historians in Old Havana and Camagüey to discover the inside track on the restoration of these Spanish colonial cities, now crowned UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Aboriginal Indians lived in Cuba prior to Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the 15th century. Evidence of their lives remains in Cuba’s verdant far east. Visit the Taíno tobacco idol in Havana (removed from Cuba’s most eastern point), before heading to the coconut and chocolate haven of Baracoa to meet with local historians who will relate the extraordinary tales and legends of the area before showing you pre-Columbian remains.
For spiritualists and lovers of mystery, hire a convertible classic American car and drive to the Havana barrio of Guanabacoa, to visit the town museum’s exhibits on the religion of Santería. Meet with a santero (priest) who will explain the history of this syncretic religion and perform a ceremony.