Pianist Joachim Horsley performing with the NuDeco Ensemble Nucleus conducted by Nu Deco Ensemble co-founder and co-artistic director Jacomo Bairos at The Light Box, Miami.

The second of three nights of Global Cuba Fest 2019, presented by Miami Light Project and Fundarte at The Light Box in Miami, delivered an entertaining evening of classical-pops takes on Cuban music.

Impeccably anchored by the slimmed-down, Nucleus version of Miami’s chamber group NuDeco Ensemble, the concert featured Cuban multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Yusa, and German pianist, composer and arranger Joachim Horsley in a program that included music by Ernesto Lecuona, original songs; a rumba version of  “Close to You;” Danzas Cubanas 2.0, a sort of Cuban music sampler by Nu Deco Ensemble co-founder and co-artistic director Sam Hyken; and several of Horsley’s What-if Mozart/Beethoven/Saint-Saens had-been-born-in-Havana? confections.

Will classical music lovers in attendance last night be intrigued now into finding out more about Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Arsenio Rodríguez or Los Van Van? Will hardcore Cuban music fans want now to hear a full-bodied reading of Mozart’s “Lacrimosa”? Who knows? It’s hard to tell what’s the ultimate impact of these hybrids, but in the meantime, a good number of music enthusiasts in Miami kicked back last night, put preconceptions in their bags and back pockets, enjoyed themselves, and rewarded players and presenters with a standing ovation.

Purists beware, you might have a good time.


Global Cuba Fest 2019 continues tonight. For more information and tickets check here.