— Some 15 years after trying to get to Cuba, Rick Wakeman has made it to Havana, launching a weeklong trip in which he plans to give three concerts in the Cuban capital.
Logistical challenges such as shipping music equipment to the communist-run island have consistently created barriers that complicated the trip, Wakeman, the keyboard player for Yes, told a news conference Monday.
“I tried for quite a few years ... but there was always some reason I couldn’t come,” the 55-year-old rocker said. “It really was an amazing feeling getting off the plane yesterday.”
Wakeman and the New English Rock Ensemble will perform Friday and Saturday nights at Havana’s Karl Marx theater, then Sunday night in an open-air venue next to the Malecon, the city’s famed seawall.
The British star said he plans to stick mainly to classic tunes from the 1970s.
Wakeman said he hopes this will be the first of many trips to Cuba. He envisions returning to the island to launch new projects and play integrated music alongside Cuban artists.
He also said his trip could prompt other groups to go through all the necessary red tape to get to Cuba.
“Cuba is known worldwide as one of the most musical countries in the world,” he said. “What musician wouldn’t want to come here?”