Cuba’s rich musical legacy has been one of the island’s most important national and international contributions for over 100 years. Its study has been divided into three distinct periods: pre-1959 Revolution, post-1959, and the Special Period (following the collapse of the Soviet Union, 1990-). Following the country’s détente with the US and the introduction of private ownership over the past few years, Cuba is at the dawn of a new period of social and economic transformation, and of a new phase in its musical history. My research examines the role of Cuban musicians at the forefront of socio-economic change. I investigate the social and economic restructuring of Havana’s popular music scenes, profession, performance spaces, and audiences (with a focus on different genres) as a result of the creation of private music venues in the capital since 2012, a striking departure from the country’s post-1959 model of state ownership. These new private clubs reflect a new modus operandi of Cuban society, one based primarily on economic wealth rather than racial or regional distinctions. Hence, within its new private music venues, Havana exists both in socialism and post-socialism (sociocapitalism), distorting the city’s temporality. Furthermore, this shift from ethnicity to economics is supplemented by Havana’s burgeoning status as an international music hub, re-drawing its social and economic geographies and distorting the capital’s old spacial stratification. Another aspect of my study is its twin-city focus, examining the emerging musical Havana-London axis, which entails exploration of changes in international travel and communications. Through analysis of Cuba’s national and international music scenes, traditional and new music circuits and genres, the project examines the new distorted temporalities and de-territorialised spacialities of Havana and London through music. 

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