Our unforgettable trip to Havana, Cuba

The Trombone Shorty Foundation and Cuba Educational Travel partnered to present “Getting Funky in Havana,” a five-day cultural exchange trip with Academy students sponsored by the Gia Maione Prima Foundation. This once-in-a-life opportunity to experience the music and culture of Havana, Cuba took place January 14-18th, 2020. New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty, Tank and the Bangas, The Soul Rebels, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and Anders Osborne joined forces with Cuba’s musical tour-de-force, Cimafunk, to create an absolutely incredible experience that our group of 150+ will never forget. Check out these absolutely stunning photos by photographer Jafar M. Pierre of our journey.

WWL TV’s Eric Paulsen joined us on the trip, and they profiled the experience in a 2-part series featured on WWL TV! Watch each video below.

MORE PRESS FROM OUR TRIP: The Guardian / Cuba Television / NPR

Internationally celebrated Cuban funk artist unites Cuba and New Orleans

Through cultural exchange and musical development, this experience was built on the strong traditions of music that bridge the Cuba-Louisiana connection. The program included access to all Havana Jazz Festival acts including renowned Cuban funk artist Cimafunk’s headlining performance. The experience put our visitors behind-the-scenes, backstage, and into the homes and studios of the leaders of Havana’s music scene while exploring Cuba alongside famed New Orleans jazz bands. The trip featured a nightly concert series with a final, collective performance that brought together the music of New Orleans and Cuba in a powerful expression of the sound and soul these two special places share in common.

The Trip of a Lifetime… with support from our partners

“Getting Funky in Havana” was supported by the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, a foundation dedicated to fostering music and the arts at a youth and community level, as well as Horns to Havana, a New York based group that has been working with the music schools in Havana for the past 10 years. The long standing relationship and ongoing support from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation made this amazing program possible for Trombone Shorty Foundation Academy students. 

This experience was also made possible by Cuban Educational Travel (CET), a leader in cultural travel to Cuba, and took place as part of Jazz Plaza thanks to the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Institute of Popular Music and other generous partners in Cuba. More pictures from our trip… photos by Michael Weintrob.

Watch these videos from Terapia Productions highlighting each day of our trip! See below starting with Day 1…

The Gia Maione Prima Foundation, founded by Gia Prima, supports organizations and projects that foster and encourage an appreciation for American jazz, American popular music and jazz performance, as well as the fine arts.

Cuba Educational Travel (CET) is the leading organization in connecting the people of the U.S. and Cuba through travel. Founded by Collin Laverty, a leading expert on U.S.-Cuba relations, CET offers cultural, educational, event and incentive and luxury travel to Cuba, working with clients to develop unique, customized and heavily-curated experiences on the island. CET believes deeply in the value of bringing our two countries together and has worked hard to introduce important U.S. policymakers, companies, organizations and thought leaders to Cuba. CET has been on the front lines of cultural collaboration between the US and Cuba — from educational programs to concerts to dance performances, CET has connected its community in Cuba with tens of thousands of American travelers.

The Horns Project/ Horns to Havana is a New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to instrument  donation, repair and training and education and cultural  exchanges. In the improvisational and exploratory spirit of jazz, they strive to fulfill dreams of aspiring young musicians and work to strengthen the ties between countries using shared musical traditions.