Past Trips

Reviews

That I am blown away by Havana with its rich culture and hold the highest admiration for Cubans we’ve met, is testament to the amazing itinerary and program, Morningside Music Tours and its partner, Havana Music School organized. I am a professional jazz musician (pianist/vocalist) that joined the Cuban music workshop so I could woodshed my montunos. The week-long trip was intense. Mornings comprised of ensemble and individual lessons (including a beach percussion class); the afternoons a variety of cultural activities—from a cigar experience, salsa class, horseback riding in a farm to city tours on foot and via classic car; the evenings almost always included phenomenal live music. For the final evening, the ensemble class performed a “concert” or more correctly, was a feature in a music jam. First of, a review is incomplete without a big kudos to the founders of both Morningside Music Tours in the US (Dan) and Havana Music School in Cuba (Miguel). Dan not only chose a great partner institution in Cuba, but also sent advance music material to work on in preparation for the music lessons. He also made every effort to accommodate requests of the group and organized a virtual meeting to prep participants on what to expect. Once in Cuba, Miguel, took over and was over and beyond helpful in negotiating our way around WIFi issues, money exchange and other details. What was great was that Miguel and his staff have a strong familial bond which is rare and beautiful to see in a business; and even more unusual is how they welcomed us into their family. The love is and was palpable. Any business that treats its members with respect and love will always get my vote, but here are other reasons I thought the trip exceptional and why you should book through MorningSide Music Tours: -Selection of restaurants and venues were excellent! I am also a culinary educator and was impressed by food quality in many of the restaurants we went to and wowed by the artsy and edgy ambience in most, which are among the best I’ve seen anywhere. -Havana is one giant cultural immersion. The level of musicianship is phenomenal since musicians are classically trained from when they are 7 years old. Be prepared for a visual and aural blast. We met (and jammed with) some really amazing cats! Great selection of live music in both intimate and concert-like settings. -good variety of cultural activities -pleasant accommodations and staff in casa particulares -there is no sugar coating the problems most Cubans face every day; the severe lack of basic supplies, the lack of income. Being able to engage more personally with Cubans helped me understand more the effects of geopolitics on the people, what it means in the every day sense, and also how we can help Cubans. People coming to Cuba, spending on activities and supporting local trade are good ways to get money directly into the hands of people especially through trusted outfitters like Monrningside Music Tours and Havana Music School. -Music school teachers, staff and guides are exceptional. Mila, Yaimara, Pompa, Ale, Olivia, Mauris. I am particularly happy with my individual lessons with Maestro Juan Pompa who helped me refine montuno playing. I am in deep admiration of the Cuban people, its artistry, resilience and openness, and am grateful to Dan, Miguel and those at Havana Music School for showing me the real Cuba. Muchas gracias! Ya los extraño.
By Maria Elenita D for Ultimate Havana Experience for Dancers, Musicians and Music Lovers on 13 Jun, 2022
Thanks for the review Marlene! I hope you can join us again at some point down the road.
By Morningside Music Tours on 13 Jun, 2022
MM
All in all this was a great trip and an outstanding opportunity to learn Afro-Cuban songs and rhythms. I really enjoyed traveling with and playing music with the people on the trip, and our Cuban instructors and tour guides were incredible. In the evening we saw some wonderful music at jazz clubs, restaurants, and at the Havana Jazz Festival. It seemed like everywhere we went, in restaurants and on the street, there was music playing, and it was a blast being able to get up and play along with them, The afternoon activities were great also, including the trip to Vinales, the tour of Old Havana, and car ride in the antique cars. And I can't say enough good things about the food. On this trip we stayed with Cuban families. I enjoyed talking with our hosts and learning about their lives. I would also say that I really enjoyed the city of Havana.
By Eric S for Havana Jazz Festival for Musicians and Music Lovers on 29 Jan, 2020
Thanks for the review and I'm glad you were satisfied with the trip, Eric. It was great to have you along and get to know you better.
By Morningside Music Tours on 29 Jan, 2020
MM
This was the emotional high point of any trip I’ve ever taken ~ built around music, with such warm, expressive, bright Cuban musicians leading our every move, and touring us around fabulous Cuba, dining on exquisite cuisine in lush, beautiful settings. I could never have imagined how fabulous Cuba could be, its beautiful, colorful architecture, magnificent flora everywhere, and so hope to return soon, especially with Dan, who has perfected this trip after five years of honing its details, and so well knowing how to handle the people aspects of a group traveling together. Our Casa particulares was lovely, my suite mates on the trip ideal and caring, and the women who cooked our breakfast and brought us every convenience ~ so thoughtful and responsive. Here’s to next year!
By Elsa S for Havana Jazz Festival for Musicians and Music Lovers on 27 Jan, 2020
Thank you Elsa, it was so great to meet you! You had such a positive attitude and you made sure you appreciated every moment. Thanks for the kind words and I hope you can make it next time as well.
By Morningside Music Tours on 27 Jan, 2020
MM