Grammy Award-winning New Orleans-born artist Trombone Shorty is leading a group of Crescent City musicians on a cultural exchange trip to Cuba with bands Cimafunk and Galactic from January 12-15 in 2023.
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Known as “the Havana funk Expedition,” the trip, which is the second event put on by the artist, is being billed as a “once in a lifetime” and “intimate” New Orleans and Cuba musical celebration. It’s meant to highlight the “longstanding cultural connections between the two places,” reads the press statement.
The five-day exchange trip is being put together by the Trombone Shorty Foundation.
“The heartbeat of New Orleans culture is a mix of food, community, and music and it’s the same thing in Cuba which makes it feel like a familiar place to me,” said Trombone Shorty, born Troy Andrews. “I first went to Cuba in 1998 with my brother James Andrews for a cultural exchange between the musicians of Cuba and New Orleans. Same thing we’re doing today. I never forgot the musical impact it had on me and I hope I can have that impact on the young musicians who are part of my foundation.”
“The ‘Havana Funk Expedition’ will feature school visits, recording sessions, and behind-the-scenes art, dance, music, and culinary experiences with a focus on Cuba’s African roots and longstanding connection with New Orleans and black culture, according to the release. “This is the second trip that Troy will lead to Cuba. Troy and his Foundation previously led a similar trip to Cuba in 2019 with Cimafunk and Tank and the Bangas, which was featured on NPR.”
“We want to see the next generation of New Orleans musicians ready for the world,” said Bill Taylor, director of the Trombone Shorty Foundation. “This ‘expedition’ allows these students the opportunity to experience another culture so closely tied to their own, historically and musically, which in turn gives them a better understanding of why New Orleans music is so special–the roots run deep. Once a young New Orleans musician taps into that cultural heritage and understands that it’s their responsibility to play it forward, the future of our music remains strong.”
Added Cimafunk, “I feel so at home when I’m in New Orleans. The food, the music, the FUNK, the energy, the way people communicate with each other, there are some really deep roots there. We’re going to celebrate those roots with legends Galactic and Trombone Shorty and learn with the youngsters, who show us the future and the past.”
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Photo Credit: Justen Williams / ShoreFire