A Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba
Hundreds of Cubans
Philip Blackburn
Philip Blackburn
Hundreds of Cubans
Catalog Number: 

Havana, Cuba

Release Date: 
Jan 8, 2004
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Habanera: A Soundwalk Through Old Havana, CubaiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: The Canon from the Fort Across the Bay Goes Off Each Evening At 9 P.m. As It Has for Hundreds of Years to Prevent Cuba's Citizens from Experiencing Trouble With Foreigners…04:38$0.99
2.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: Fidel Speaks, and Speaks, and Speaks (on Three TV Stations). Today's Show Covers Slavery Since the Time of Pericles the Kyoto Protocol, and Terrorism In Random Order (Wasn't Terrorism How He Rose To…03:12$0.99
3.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: Old Havana Is In Need of Restoration - the Tile-saws Are a Sign of Progress - Another Tourist Restaurant, Another Flamenco Artist In Search of a Dollar…06:33$0.99
4.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: Armed Police Are Everywhere - Walkie Talkies Keep You Safe and In Line - Mani Seller Trying to Move Some Tubes of Roasted Peanuts (not Money)…04:16$0.99
5.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: The Mardi Gras Carnaval Procession Has Been Turned Into a Daily Fiesta So Tourists Don't Miss It… - African Chanting In the Park Is As Much for the Participants As for the Tourists Who …07:26$0.99
6.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: What Could Inspire More Admiration for the USA Than a Badly Dubbed TV War Movie?02:34$0.99
7.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: Night Time Spreads the Sounds Around from Homes and Bars06:32$0.99
8.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: There Is Little Running Water In Old Havana, a Truck Must Come and Fill Up Each Building's Tank Every Day: Hoses On the Cobbles, Pumps, Filling Cisterns04:11$0.99
9.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: Children, In the Absence of Playstations, Play Circle Games and Join In the Fun At the Boomy Museum Kinderconcerts03:46$0.99
10.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: Electroacoustic Music Has Been Made In Cuba Since 1964, Here By Pioneers Juan Blanco and Juan Pinera - Back On the TV You Can Learn Spanish Grammar Using Examples from Socialist…04:06$0.99
11.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: The Flamenco Steps Could Substitute for the Canon Shots If Need Be01:50$0.99
12.Habanera: a Soundwalk Through Old Havana, Cuba: As the Water Tank Fills One Last Time, George Riveron Pupo, a Gay Poet Muses On the Beauties of Life, Even Amidst Such Tough Conditions.03:56$0.99
One Sheet: 

What’s a “Soundwalk?” It’s where your ears rule your feet. 

Why Havana? Because there are more musicians per square foot than just about anywhere else and it’s good to get out a bit when it’s so hot, hot, hot. 

What better way to get to know the intimate details of a culture than through your ears and your shoes? 

Environmental sound artist Philip Blackburn, known for his sounding sculptures and work on Harry Partch, ambled through Old Havana recently. The city is full of sounds; you can compose your city according to the path you take. Blackburn’s path takes us past alleys, buildings and streets where you can hear Fidel waffling on and on, cigar black-marketers, flamenco dancers, kids playing, Santeria and Catholic chanting, and the nightly canon fire. 

Wear headphones (for the full binaural effect), turn out the lights (the CD cover glows in the dark) and swizzle your mojito.


Described as "a soundwalk through Old Havana, Cuba", Habanera is Innova Records' head honcho Philip Blackburn's second mic-in-hand aural documentary, after his trip to Vietnam, Stilling Time (Innova 112). (After Vietnam and Cuba, we await forthcoming instalments from Nicaragua, Afghanistan and Iraq..) It's a veritable treasure trove of wonderful sounds, from the 9pm nightly boom of the canons across the harbour to the flush of toilets, the blare of radios, the interminable speeches of the Lider Maximo (where would Cuba be without Castro?), the roar of traffic, the chatter and bustle of street vendors and above all the indigenous music, from the sweaty mambos and cod flamenco of the cheap tourist restaurants and bars to an authentic blast of Cuban musique concrète courtesy Juan Blanco and Juan Pinera. Blackburn's montage is as clear, skilful and beautifully executed as his recordings, and the package is as elegant and glitzy as its silver and gold packaging. A worthy companion to the Sun City Girls' South East Asian and Middle Eastern sound documentaries, not to mention Robert Millis' spectacular recordings from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand released on Anomalous last year.

- Dan Warburton, ParisTransatlantic

A street-level view of old Havana, mixes of santaria with catholicism, club music with conversations and factory work with street noise. The recordings preserve a visitors perspective rarely focusing in on one source. The wandering focus leaves one a sonic panorama of impressions. Nothing is too mundane for inspection, it is everyday life being recorded. The bouncing ricochet of music and chatter mixes itself as you walk through an acoustic chamber of structures and alleys.

- KFJC, Outlier