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The band will play a gig on December 20 but they will also visit a music school, a children’s hospital, and dance to the best of Cuban music.

No, this is not about those nice stories written by colleague Ciro Bianchi about mobs and thugs from the ‘50s in Havana. This time I am talking about a cultural gang, a good one, the one who has played the best funk, rhythm & blues, soul and disco music in the world.

In the last few weeks I have been hearing that US band Kool & the Gang have included Havana in their current tour.
The news has been very much welcomed by those of us who are over forty and have enjoyed the superb music by one of the most popular bands from the late ‘70s and mid ‘80s.

I don’t know anyone who has resisted to tracks such as Celebration, Ladies’ Night and  Get Down On It. Kool & the Gang, with their great talent and stage charisma, have been able to give us the best of their  music with conviction even in the most hard-core rock circles with a “must” repertoire in our parties and even on the local radio.

Well, I couldn’t resist the temptation to check it out by myself, so I paid a visit to the Cuban Institute of Music. Their president, Abelito Acosta, and their deputy president for their Foreign Affairs department were more than happy to answer my questions.

“Yes, it is true. Kool & the Gang are going to play at the Anti-imperialist Tribunal on Sunday 20 December at 3 pm,” said  
Acosta. “Write this down. This is going to be a hell of a concert.”

In his office, Alejandro Guma gave me more details of the plans by the American band during their stay in Havana. “For the  last few months, Kool & the Gang have told us that they are interested in visiting the country and playing a free concert for the Cuban people. Now that the news has been confirmed they have told us they are anxious to get acquainted with our cultural reality.”

According to Guma, the band are interested in visiting a music school, a children’s hospital, walking in the city, and dancing to Cuban music.

“This is going to be a great concert,” said the Cuban official. “Kool & the Gang are an exceptional band with a very high  artistic standard and a brilliant career. They are very popular in Cuba, even within the youngest generations.”

I asked him how many people they think would turn up at the gig, and he said: “I don’t want to tell you a figure, but I can guarantee that I am talking about several tens of thousands. One thing is for sure. This is going to be an excellent old year  farewell.”

I know for sure that some of my old buddies are taking their old shirts out of their closets, adding extra bits to the legs of their jeans and talking to their next door shoemaker to make their shoes look “kool” again as in the old days.

Well, that’s not my case. One thing is for sure. I will turn up at the venue as early as possible to be as close to the stage as I can with a request to play Celebration and celebrate with Kool’s gang a good old year farewell.


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