June 2015


Festival: Música Cubana en Berlin

Saturday 27.06.2015 2:00 PM | Entire House

Admission: Day Pass: 20 / 15 / 10 €

Organizer: Werkstatt der Kulturen


Forced migration from Africa and voluntary migration from Europe led to the development of a plethora of music genres and dances in Cuba. The festival MÚSICA CUBANA EN BERLIN will be taking place from 25 - 27 June 2015 at the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN. With concerts, dance and percussion workshops, films, lectures, live music parties and an exhibition, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN provides a glimpse into the diversity of the Cuban music culture in Berlin.

Program: Day 3

In the 18th century, Guaracha came into existence, which is still today a popular type of dance song with often ambiguous, satirical or salacious texts;

In the middle of the 19th century, the unmistakable Son Cubano was developed; as were the improvised songs of Trova in the Eastern part of the country - a music which fuses Afro-Cuban percussion with guitar music of Spanish farmers. The Mambo, which originally meant "religious conversation" or prayer or a sacred rite, is a popular type of music and dance, which was developed in the 1930s in Cuba.

The Rumba is a popular Cuban partner dance, which has become a standard in social and tournament dancing in many industrialized countries since the 1960s and in 2013 was declared by the World Dance Council as 'Dance of the Year'. In the 19th century, 'Rumba' (as well as Milonga, Bachata and Timba) was used to describe social get togethers accompanied by music. As a mix of dance, vocals and percussion, Rumba emerged in the black neighborhoods of Havana and Matanzas, but was also practiced in the sugar cane plantations.

Cuban music has always been very popular and influential outside of Central and South America. In the 1980s, the music made its way to Berlin - with Son Cubano, the Nueva Trova and Salsa by the internationally-renown Cuban bands Irakere and Los Van Van, Cuban musicians continue to shape the music and dance culture of the capital.



Day Pass: 20 / 15 / 10 €


An event in cooperation with and within the framework of 48 Stunden Neukölln


Dancefloor Caballeros

2006 | D: Dirk Böll | Germany | 99 min | Spanish with German Subtitles


Michel, Joyvan, Lázaro and the 14 others never imagined it like this. In 23 hours, their first concert starts in Santiago de Cuba. Everything is ready for the departure: laptops, lighting and sound system; flyers, posters and turntables. 17 DJs, VJs and producers from Havana are finally ready to go. Only one thing is missing: The bus ... For the Dancefloor Caballeros road trip, there is more than just beats and bytes. It's about life in Cuba a few decades after the "glorious victory of the revolution." Completing a sponsorship deal for the tour. Socialism to the left, capitalism to the right, and in-between: 17 musicians who want only one thing - to bring their music to the Cuban people.

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Cubans at the Edge of the Berlin Wall

Land(e)scape of Opportunity

Director: Ricardo Bacallao | 45 min. | Producers: Ricardo Bacallao, Francesca Dziadek | Camera: Katja Altmann, Ricardo Bacallao, Jennifer Maria Matthiessen | Still Photography: Ricardo Moreno | Associate Producer: Lucio Fernández (a film work in progress)

When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, Teresa Villanueva and Ricardo Moreno, young Cuban students holding GDR student and work permits, find themselves catapulted by the winds of change and confronted with a brave new world of freedom, choice and opportunity.

They decide to stay in Berlin and Test the West.


Amir Valle, a well-known Cuban writer whose controversial analysis of prostitution in Cuba was censored by the authorities, was suddenly expelled during a trip to Spain. He found a haven in Germany but was never allowed back to his native Havana.

Teresa, Ricardo and Amir's decision to remain in Germany had consequences which still haunt and affect them.

As they look back to a time when they got caught up in one of the most epochal events of the 20th century, they reminisce about what it means to live sensing the perpetual yearning of disconnection. Ricardo's rawest wounds emerge as he recalls four years in a refugee asylum, before the UN recognised him political refugee status.

A popular Cuban musician today, he taught himself to play the guitar whiling away intermibable hours in refugee limbo in Mecklenburg Vorpommern.

What does it mean to live your life knowing you will probably never see your family again?
What did the three Cuban exiles gain by becoming Berliners?

Can they cope with letting go with what is lost forever?

Ricardo Bacallao's sensitive portrayal of a Cuban diaspora by the Berlin Wall reveals that although there may be no peace without the pieces, the future lies ahead, in Teresa, Amir's and Ricardo's emotional land(e)scape of opportunity.



One of the most versatile and prolific young filmmakers to emerge on the New York scene, Ricardo grew up in Havana, Cuba, near a cinema which soon became his backyard and graduated from the presitigious Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) and obtained a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) from NYU's Film program.
He came to Germany in 2003 to the Berlinale's first Talent Campus and completed two of his best known documentary films, "Short Radiography of Hip Hop in Cuba" (2004) and the "Maji-Maji Readings" (2006), shot in Berlin.
Amongst his most recent work, combining fiction and documentary genres, is "The Butterfly's Kiss" (2012) shot in Singapore, "Mondongo Cubano" (2014), a fictional Short set in the 1990's during Cuba's most devastating economic crisis since the Revolution and his latest feature film, a political thriller, titled "The Uncle's Request" (2015).

Back in Berlin, Bacallao is working on two documentary projects simoultaneously, "Cubans on the Edge of the Berlin Wall" and "A State of Change" a portrait of the refugee movement in Berlin.

"Diaspora for me is a big journey, physical, spiritual, cultural, a journey that never stops." - Ricardo Bacallao.  

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Pasaje Abierto & Niche Cubano

With his project Pasaje Abierto, the drummer Wiljoph Sunday Mounkassa Williams, also known as Bebito, plays Rumba, Timba, Cuban Jazz, Son and Salsa.



  • Wiljoph Sunday Mounkassa Williams (Timbales/Congas/Percussion)
  • Alejandro Marulanda (Piano)
  • Rafaele Gutierres Toca (Vocals)
  • Niche Cubano (Vocals)
  • Rafael „Felo“ Martinez (Vocals/Bass)
  • El Arma Secreta (Guiro)

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Raulyn Cuban y su Banda

   The musician and rapper Raul S. Perez, better known as Raulyn, was born in 1987 in Havana, Cuba.

Raulyn has opened for many well known singers and has shared the stage with many famous musicians from Central and South America, such as Gente de Zona (Cuba), Romeo Santos, Farruko, J. Alvarez (Puerto Rico) and more.

His songs are in Spanish and English and manages to create a perfect fusion of of Hip Hop, Salsa and Cubaton.

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Documentary with fictional elements (60 Min.)
Written and directed by: María del Carmen Ares Marrero
Camera and Editing: Diana Sepúlveda Bolaños
Technician: Alexander Feld
Cast: Joaquin La Habana Reyes (as the three Orishas Eleggua, Oshun, Obbatalá), Enrico Pérez,  Adonis Blumsfield, Jorge Espichicoque (Pichi)
Bailarines: Lorge Martínez, Danaysi Contino del Valle, and more.

The camera follows the lives of three Cubans who migrated to Berlin: The percussionist Adonis, Enrico and Pichi. All have a common denominator: they love music above everything else and hope, despite all the difficulties, to fulfill their dreams and make a name with their music.

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Cuba Ball

MC Pichy, the most experienced Cuban drummer in town, will be guiding the Cuba Ball party under the motto 'The Natural DJ'.


Be sure to put on your dancing shoes for this evening of live percussion!


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Caribbean Queer-of-Diaspora Hip Hop from Cuba

‘This is Nu Caribbean Feminism’

This lecture gives a brief overview of Hip Hop and social change in Cuba, placing special focus on the feminist and queer dimension of the Cuban Hip Hop movement.

This lecture takes a look at interviews, performances as well as lyrics of the queer-of-diaspora collective Las Krudas Cubensi. It examines how the artists use the genre and reclaim it as a musical space, from which they negotiate the interdependent discriminations that are in effect globally: racism, sexism, homophobia and the continuing influence of colonial power structures in regards to borders and citizenship. They trace these intersecting fields of discrimination back to their radical-political origins and relate them to the Caribbean, where the history of transnational exchange and exploitation is centuries old as is its resistive and decolonial knowledge and practices. In this respect, they assert Cuba and the Caribbean as a space for queer feminist and anti-racist interventions and knowledge production with wide-reaching effect internationally.

Julia Roth is a cultural scientist and author. She is working on the research project "The Americas as Space of Entanglement(s)“ at Bielefeld University, where she does research on gender and global inequalities with an emphasis on the Caribbean. She is the curator of various cultural-political events, most recently "Black Diaspora + Berlin. Decolonial Narratives" 2014 (with Alanna Lockward). 

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Carmen Bárbara
is a professional dancer from Cuba. Her dance styles include Danze, Modern, Afrocubano, Salsa, Cha cha chá, Mambo, Son, Danzón, Rumba, Merengue, Jazz, Afro-Jazz, Latin Jazz, Hip Hop, Cubatón and Reggaetón.

She is an instructor of Reggaetón, Salsa, Cubatón, Salsatón, Rumba, Son, Cha-cha-cha, Mambo, Afrocuban, Merengue, Bachata and other dance styles.

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Wiljoph Sunday Mounkassa Williams (Bebito) is a Cuban percussionist (Congas, Timbales, Drumset).


Back home, he has trained musicians and students on the conga, timbales, bongo, bata, Yembe, Cajón, Maracas, Guiro, Marinbula and drum set. 

He has been living in Berlin since 2009 and is the band leader of the Salsa band Pasaje Abierto as well as a Jazz Band Wiljoph Sunday Mounkassa Williams & The Latin Machine.


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Traditional and Contemporary African Deities of Cuba

A collaboration between multiple artists and Santeria priests based in Berlin:

  • Joaquín La Habana Reyes
  • Professorin Lisandra Cervantes
  • Alexis Barrero
  • Odalys Galves
  • Diana Hernandez
  • Dionel Laugarz
  • Angel Candeaux

Photo: Bernhard-Beutler 


This event provides an overview of the most important and popular Afro-Cuban deities.


The worship of the Orishas originates from the West African Yoruba tradition and was brought to by the displaced African slaves to the Americas. Despite slavery, this tradition managed to survive throughout the centuries and took on its own form in Cuba, which became known as Lucumi, Santeria or Regla de Ocha. In Cuba, a rich tradition and aesthetic has evolved: although one can trace back to traditions of Candomblé in Brazil and Vodun in Haiti, the practice differs significantly and is uniquely Cuban.

Today, the practice of this religion is no longer banned in Cuba and is experiencing a new revival, spreading all across the world. As a result, the religion and its cultural heritage are even practiced in Europe and Berlin. Orishas are considered both deities and archetypes, which are connected to the power of nature. This event will present some of those goddesses and gods and their respective dances. Dance is the traditional way of establishing contact and communicating with those deities.


Gestures and rhythmic movements are used to show the unique characteristics of the individual deities. With music and dance, a state of trance is sought after, through which the dancers engage in a direct physical and mental dialog with this universal cosmic energy.

In the presentation, complex symbols, attributes and altars as well as colors of individual Orishas will be shown. A live performance will accompany the projections and talk to demonstrate how the individual deities are interacted with through music, song, dance and costume. 

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