Cuban and Jamaican rhythms meet in Byron Bay

MIXED: Jake "Mista' Savona (right, wearing a hat standing next to the car) surrounded by musicians from Jamaica and Cuba in Havana. LARA MERRINGTON

HAVANA Meets Kingston is the project by Byron Shire producer Jake 'Mista' Savona.

The project brings two musical cultures together in a world-first fusion record and it will be released on November 3.

The release features some of Jamaica's greatest musicians, including Sly & Robbie, Prince Alla and Bongo Herman, alongside Buena Vista Social Club musicians Barbarito Torres and Rolando Luna, Cuba's most influential percussionist Changuito (Los Van Van) and more.

Mista Savona and Randy Valentine played shows together in Europe this Summer, promoting the project for the first time.

A successful fundraiser allowed the producer to fly some Jamaican artists to Cuba for ten days, and meet at the same space where Buena Vista Social Club recorded their iconic eponymous album.

"The music was incredible," he said.

"We recorded two albums worth of material and we have released three singles of that."

The upcoming Byron Shire show will include a live set with Jamaican reggae icon Randy Valantine and Cuban singer Solos, plus Mista Savona.


"This tour we are doing as a live sound system, so I'm Dj-ing but we have some live percussion as well, so I'll be dropping lots of beats from the record, with valantina and Solis performing live," he said.

"People can expect a high-energy show, and we want to make people dance."

Savona began playing piano at age six, and after finishing his music Uni studies in Melbourne and the UK, and describes himself as a keyboard player, composer and music producer.

As a DJ he plays regularly at the Bearch Hotel at reggae nights.

"But for the last two years pretty much my full focus has been this Havana Meets Kingston project," he said.

"I finished my degree in the UK, and there is a very big Jamaican population there but I have always loved reggae.

"I relelased two albums in Australia in 2000 and 2003, and then in 2004 I went to Jamaica for a month, doing some recordings, and that was the beasis for my 2004 album Melbourne and Kingston.

"I go back to Jamaica often, but in 2013 I realised Cuba and Jamaica are very close, so I booked my flight and a 10-day trip. They were playing folklore percussion music and I imagined those sounds mixed with reggae. A project like that had never been done before."

At the Bangalow A&I Hall, Bangalow, on Friday, October 27.

Topics:  cuban havana meets kingston jake savona jamaican mista savona music northern rivers entertainment whatson

Fatal crash case: Moves to overrule magistrate's decision

Steve and Michelle Underhill outside Lismore Court today.

Magistrate dropped serious charges against Casino babysitter

$20m food hub a 'great idea' but in 'wrong place': Franklin

Ben Franklin meeting with local residents John McIntosh, Linda Sparrow, Bill Hutton and Ean Jones at the site of a proposed food hub in Bangalow.

Controversy continues over plans for the Bangalow facility

WATCH: Close encounter with killer whales off Byron Bay

Screenshot from a video of orcas off Byron Bay.

Incredible footage of orcas just 1km off the Byron Bay coast

Local Partners

Most impressive looking game I’ve seen

FORZA 7 is definitely a candidate for game of the year and, in one area, it stands head and shoulders above the rest.

INXS slam 'unauthorised' Michael Hutchence documentary

Michael Hutchence.

Music producer disputes claim, says INXS has most to gain.

Lisa Wilkinson’s secret weapon

‘I’m better than OK,’ Wilkinson told reporters this morning in the wake of her shock exit, and move to Channel Ten.

Wilkinson and her agent decided staying with Today wasn’t worth it

Cooking confusion? Ask Donna Hay

Get in there ... ask Donna Hay what to do in the kitchen.

NEED some expert advice in the kitchen? Now’s your chance to get it

Karl and Lisa not worth the money

Karl Stefanovic

Is Karl Stefanovic overpaid? Is the pope a Catholic?

The Block’s big dummy spit: ‘This is dog s**t’

Tensions are at an all-time high on The Block.

Ronnie and Georgia earn perfect score for above-garage studio.

‘Network wars’: Was this Lisa’s Project warning?

Lisa Wilkinson appeared on The Project in September to discuss Rebel Wilson's defamation case.

LISA Wilkinson’s resignation has shocked viewers and colleagues.