Havana Meets Kingston – An Introduction

Australia’s leading reggae and dancehall producer and accomplished pianist, Mista Savona (aka Jake Savona), has gathered some of Cuba and Jamaica’s most influential musicians in the one recording studio to create a world first album.

Despite their huge respective global appeal and geographical proximity, there has never been a full length album that unites the unique sounds of both Jamaican and Cuban music – till now. This is a truly groundbreaking record and project that honours both islands’ incredible musical foundations and legacies while inspiring and creating something entirely new. Drawing from the styles the islands are best known for – roots reggae, dub and dancehall on one hand and son, salsa, rumba and Afro-Cuban on the other – ‘Havana Meets Kingston’ sees an incredible team of musicians come together to bend and twist genres effortlessly, and the results are exceptional.

Savona’s main intention is to bring Jamaican soundsystem and bass culture together with Cuba’s electrifying and virtuosic Afro-Cuban and jazz traditions, and this is where the album excels and is unique in musical history. Energetic and passionate vocals in Spanish, English and Jamaican patois twist and turn over the distinctly Cuban rhythms and melodies, while the deep basslines that Jamaica is best known for pulse underneath, unifying the music of both cultures and creating something fresh, bold and exciting.

‘Havana Meets Kingston’ brings together established and emerging Cuban and Jamaican musicians in an album of mostly original songs, as well as covers of classic Cuban material. The main recording sessions took place over 10 days in June 2015 at the famous Egrem Studio in Havana, Cuba. Savona personally flew seven Jamaicans into Havana for these sessions, including Sly & Robbie and Bongo Herman among other greats. Since this time he has travelled to Jamaica, Cuba and the UK numerous times to complete the recordings. The calibre of artists on this two part album project speaks volumes.

The full album is due for release in April 2017.

To add to this already grand project, acclaimed filmmakers Rick Mereki (of MOVE, EAT, LEARN fame), producer Lauren Rosa Beck and photographer Lara Merrington travelled to Cuba and Jamaica to capture every moment on film. They will be providing an independent documentary which will celebrate the music and stories of the artists involved against the backdrop of three diverse nations. EPK by Lauren Beck.

This is the first single from the ‘Havana Meets Kingston’ album.

MUSICIANS: Sly & Robbie – drums & bass, Winston ‘Bopee’ Bowen – guitar, Bongo Herman – Jamaican Percussion, Changuito, Yaroldy Abreu, Oliver Valdes – Cuban Percussion, Rolando Luna – Piano, Jake Savona – Piano & Hammond, Julito Padron – trumpet.

HAVANA MEETS KINGSTON is a world first album due for release in mid 2017. The project began in 2015 when Australian producer Mista Savona teamed up with Sly & Robbie, Bongo Herman, ‘Bopee’ Anderson and other legendary Jamaican musicians and personally flew them to Havana to work with members of the Buena Vista Social Club, Los Van Van, Havana Cultura & more. Alongside these highly experienced musicians Savona also scouted for young & up-and-coming artists from both countries, and it’s this fusion of age, experience, culture and musical styles that makes this project so exceptional.

The joy in the studio and the sheer skill of the musicians involved has resulted in something truly unique and extraordinary. Recorded at the famous Egrem Studios in Havana, the project is called HAVANA MEETS KINGSTON and will be released in two parts – album #1 in 2017, with album #2 and a feature documentary following in 2018. Our first introductory video has already gone viral

The first single to be unleashed from this amazing project is ‘Carnival’, featuring Jamaican born vocalist Randy Valentine and Cuban singer Solis. It is a triumphant anthem and a song that speaks of the transformative power of music & dance. With its hypnotic rolling basslines, deep roots reggae feel and strong Afro-Cuban influence ‘Carnival’ is a song that may well open a new chapter in the history of Caribbean music. Sung in both English and Spanish, it switches effortlessly between the sounds and languages of the two islands and yet somehow feels completely natural and catchy – despite the very different rhythms and traditions of Cuban and Jamaican music.

‘Carnival’ is bursting with energy and originality and offers a great insight into the full length album – in which the magic of cross cultural collaboration can be clearly heard, felt & seen.

LYRICS (English & Spanish)

Welcome to Havana town
Cuba and Jamaica link up people gather around
Mr DJ turn up the sound
Yo Solis tell me how it sound!

Quiero bailar, reir gozar
en la orilla del mar (x2)
Hacer un carnaval
La tristeza borrar
Volver a comenzar
Bajo las estrellas
Un nuevo dia

I want to dance , laugh & enjoy
on the seashore.
Make a carnival
Clear the sadness
Begin again
Under the stars
A brand new day]


Oh Lord! Eyes closed picture this:
Kingston meets Havana
Solis, Randy Valentine and Jake Savona
I take you pon a journey mixing music like the drink them call Cubana,
Mixing Cuban percussions and thoughts from Ghana
Free up yourself, do what you wanna
Roll it up, light it up, smoke your marijuana
When you there pon the corner
Nobody will bring no kind of drama
Today you need no ammo or no armour
I got to walk straight on this rocky road
Positive attitude whenever I’m on the move
Mi no want to tell you what to do
But them say if you show love then it comes back to you
So let the reggae music play on the beach tonight
Give me a signal if you feel the vibe
Give me a light, look alive
Reggae music in Havana everything is nice


Eyes closed I can feel the vibrations
Many think that I’m asleep
But when I speak let my lyrics take you to the highest peak
And when you reach, don’t you dare take a seat
Just take the love that you receive and put it on repeat
And we can all gather at the sea
Like one big family, let’s make some memories
And if I want to break away
I go to Santiago yes that is the sweetest place
Me and a Havana girl have a discussion
She’s telling me she love percussions
And I say “what’s your name?” she says “Sahida”
I say “Sahida link me for the fire I am the supplier”
And I’ll be right there when you need me
If you can hear me my lady
Give me a light, come alive
Reggae music reach Havana everything is nice!