Cimafunk plays Tipitina’s, Academy students open the show

When Erik “Cimafunk” Rodriguez, the Bruno Mars of Cuba, headlined a sold-out show at Tipitina’s in April, local musicians introduced him to the greater New Orleans music community.

As Rodriguez and his namesake Afro-Cuban funk band return to Tipitina’s on Thursday, he’s also gearing up to return the favor.

In January, Rodriguez will host a delegation from New Orleans for “Getting Funky in Havana,” a five-day cultural exchange trip to Cuba during the Havana Jazz Festival. The Soul Rebels, Tank & the Bangas and 10 students from the Trombone Shorty Academy are slated to travel to Cuba from Jan. 14-18.

They’ll participate in jam sessions with Cuban musicians, star in a nightly concert series during the festival, visit Cuban schools and otherwise explore the musical and cultural connections between Rodriquez’s home and their own.

“Our visit to New Orleans was one of the highlights of my musical career,” Rodriguez said in a news release. “I can’t wait to return the favor and show my American brothers and sisters the richness of my country’s culture.”

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