Trombone Shorty Leads Group of New Orleans Musicians On Cultural Exchange Trip To Cuba With Cimafunk & Galactic January 12 – 16, 2023  | Shore Fire Media

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8 December, 2022Print

Trombone Shorty Leads Group of New Orleans Musicians On Cultural Exchange Trip To Cuba With Cimafunk & Galactic January 12 – 16, 2023 

In Partnership With Trombone Shorty Foundation 

“The Havana Funk Expedition” Is An Intimate New Orleans – Cuba Musical Celebration


NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - Trombone Shorty is leading a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the music and culture of New Orleans and Cuba, and celebrate the longstanding cultural connections between the two places. In partnership with his Trombone Shorty Foundation, Trombone Shorty, aka Troy Andrews, and Cuba Educational Travel will present “The Havana Funk Expedition,” a five-day cultural exchange trip from January 12 - 16, 2023 featuring CimafunkGalactic and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

Troy, who visited Cuba as a young man and was impacted by the music and culture as well as the experience to travel abroad, returns to the island accompanied by a dozen young New Orleans musicians that are part of his Trombone Shorty Foundation. Troy will be leading a funky, musical exploration of New Orleans and Cuba through leading jam sessions, workshops, and intimate performances and collaborating with young Cuban music students, music schools and community programs. The “Havana Funk Expedition” will feature school visits, recording sessions and behind-the-scenes art, dance, music, and culinary experiences with a focus on Cuba’s African roots and longstanding connection with New Orleans and black culture. This is the second trip that Troy will lead to Cuba.  Troy and his Foundation previously led a similar trip to Cuba in 2019 with Cimafunk and Tank and the Bangas, which was featured on NPR

The idea of leading a trip to Cuba came to Troy as a way to bring together the music of New Orleans and Cuba in a powerful expression of the sound and soul these two special places share. The program provides an immersive experience into Cuban culture for young New Orleans musicians from the Trombone Shorty Foundation, the majority of whom will be experiencing the country for the first time. GRAMMY-nominated Cuban Rockstar, Cimafunk, who is known for blending AfroCuban music with soul, hip hop and funk, will serve as the Cuban host, working with Troy to curate a high-impact, deeply immersive experience. All of the participating musicians, both from Cuba and New Orleans, come from deeply rooted traditions dating back hundreds of years. The “Havana Funk Expedition” will celebrate and honor that heritage, while also looking to the future by embedding their music with fresh perspectives.

“The heartbeat of New Orleans culture is a mix of food, community and music and it’s the same thing in Cuba which makes it feel like a familiar place to me,” says Troy Andrews.  “I first went to Cuba in 1998 with my brother James Andrews for a cultural exchange between the musicians of Cuba and New Orleans. Same thing we're doing today. I never forgot the musical impact it had on me and I hope I can have that impact on the young musicians who are part of my foundation.”

“We want to see the next generation of New Orleans musicians ready for the world. This ‘expedition’ allows these students the opportunity to experience another culture so closely tied to their own, historically and musically, which in turn gives them a better understanding of why New Orleans music is so special--the roots run deep,” says Bill Taylor, director of the Trombone Shorty Foundation. “Once a young New Orleans musician taps into that cultural heritage and understands that it's their responsibility to play it forward, the future of our music remains strong.”

“I feel so at home when I’m in New Orleans. The food, the music, the FUNK, the energy, the way people communicate with each other, there are some really deep roots there,” says Cimafunk. “We’re going to celebrate those roots with legends Galactic and Trombone Shorty and learn with the youngsters, who show us the future and the past.” 

The “Havana Funk Expedition” is supported by the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, a foundation dedicated to fostering music and the arts at a youth and community level, as well as Horns to Havana, a New York-based group that has been working with the music schools in Havana for the past 10 years.

For more information please go HERE



If anybody knows their way around a festival, it’s Grammy-winning artist Trombone Shorty. Born Troy Andrews, he got his start (and nickname) earlier than most: at four, he made his first appearance at Jazz Fest performing with Bo Diddley; at six, he was leading his own brass band; and by his teenage years, he was hired by Lenny Kravitz to join the band he assembled for his Electric Church World Tour. Shorty’s proven he’s more than just a horn player, though. Catch a gig, open the pages of the New York Times or Vanity Fair, flip on any late-night TV show and you’ll see an undeniable star with utterly magnetic charisma, a natural born showman who can command an audience with the best of them. Since 2010, he’s released four chart topping studio albums; toured with everyone from Jeff Beck to the Red Hot Chili Peppers; collaborated across genres with Pharrell, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Foo Fighters, ZHU, Zac Brown, Normani, Ringo Starr, and countless more; played Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Newport Folk, Newport Jazz, and nearly every other major festival; performed four times at the GRAMMY Awards, five times at the White House, on dozens of TV shows, and at the star-studded Sesame Street Gala, where he was honored with his own Muppet; launched the Trombone Shorty Foundation to support youth music education; and received the prestigious Caldecott Honor for his first children’s book. Meanwhile in New Orleans, Shorty now leads his own Mardi Gras parade atop a giant float crafted in his likeness, hosts the annual Voodoo Threauxdown shows that have drawn guests including Usher, Nick Jonas, Dierks Bentley, Andra Day, and Leon Bridges to sit in with his band, and has taken over the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s hallowed final set, which has seen him closing out the internationally renowned gathering after performances by the likes of Neil Young, the Black Keys, and Kings of Leon.



Cimafunk is GRAMMY-nominated Afro-Cuban Rockstar. His name refers to his heritage as a ‘cimarrón,’ Cubans of African descent who resisted and escaped slavery, as well as to the essence of his music that aims to subvert conventional sounds with rhythmic innovation. By bringing out the best in Cuban rhythms and traditions and infusing sounds and styles from Africa and the U.S., Cimafunk is redefining contemporary Cuban music as well as Afro-Latin identity and the fusion of black cultures. Cimafunk has made a name for himself as one of today’s great showman, performing an electric live show with his 9-person band from Havana. As innovative funk forefather George Clinton (Parliament-Funkadelic) says: “Cimafunk takes it back there while keeping it in the now. It’s what we do, always reinventing the Funk to keep it fresh.” 

Cimafunk’s monumental second album El Alimento was released in October 2021, receiving overwhelming praise and 2023 GRAMMY-nomination for Best Latin Alternative or Rock Album. Rolling Stone ranked it #3 of the Best Spanish-Language and Bilingual Albums of 2021 and #23 of the 50 Best Albums of 2021. El Alimento was also among NPR’s Best Latin Music of 2021 and #1 of Le Monde’s Latin Music favorites. Singles also made their way through 2021 lists: Rómpelo ft. Lupe Fiasco was among NPR Alt.Latino’s best singles of 2021 and Funk Aspirin ft. George Clinton in Remezcla’s 10 Best Indie Pop, Rock, & Chill Songs of 2021.

Cimafunk has engaged in collaborations across generations with Cuban music Icons such as Chucho Valdés, Omara Portuondo, Juana Bacallao, Los Papines, La Orquesta Aragon, and in building bridges across segments of black music: celebrating New Orleans – Cuba connections with Trombone Shorty, Tank & The Bangas and The Soul Rebels, and Soul, Funk, Hip Hop and R&B with George Clinton, Ceelo Green, Lupe Fiasco.



History doesn’t stand still. It impacts, influences, and inspires the ebb and flow of the future by informing the present. Galactic draw on 25 years together in order to progress with each performance and subsequent record. After 10 albums, over 2,000 gigs, and tens of millions of streams, the proud New Orleans, LA quintet—Ben Ellman [saxophone, harmonica], Robert Mercurio [bass], Stanton Moore [drums, percussion], Jeffrey Raines [guitar], and Richard Vogal [keyboards]—have kept the torch burning through five U.S. presidential regimes, the turn-of-the-century, Hurricane Katrina, a Global Pandemic, and a much-anticipated recovery. They’re the rare collective who can support Juvenile on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, contribute music to a blockbuster soundtrack such as Now You See Me, and light up the stages of Coachella, Bonnaroo, and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (a staggering 22 times). Joined by vocal powerhouse Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, they continue to forge ahead with touring and more new music.

They laid the groundwork for this future upon coming together in 1994. Two years later, the guys dropped their full-length debut, Coolin’ Off, and hopped in a Ford Econoline van (with trailer in tow) for their very first official tour. Along the way, they released seminal albums such as 2007’s From the Corner to the Block, boasting collabs with the likes of Chali 2na, Juvenile, Trombone Shorty, DJ Z-Trip, and Boots Riley. During 2015, Into The Deep marked their first debut in the Top 25 of the Billboard Top 200 and second straight #1 bow on the Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart. Not to mention, it boasted the title track “Into The Deep” [feat. Macy Gray], racking up nearly 20 million streams and counting. Along the way, they performed alongside the likes of Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, Jack Johnson, Talib Kweli, the Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic, B.B. King, Counting Crows, James Brown, and many more.  They’ve also recorded and performed with the likes of Allen Toussaint [“Bacchus”] and Big Freedia “Double It”]. Most recently, 2019’s Already Ready Already garnered acclaim from New York TimesNPR Weekend EditionExclaim!, and many more, while they’ve appeared on the covers of Downbeat and Relix Magazine.

As they continue writing, recording, and performing, Galactic always keep New Orleans close to their hearts at all times. In 2018, the band purchased and took over one of the city’s most hallowed venues—Tipitina’s Nightclub. Their history with the venue even predated the band as Ben’s first job was as a cook in the old kitchen, while they’ve graced its stage more than 100 times over the years.




The Trombone Shorty Foundation’s mission is to inspire the next generation of talented opportunity youth through music education, instruction, mentorship, and performance. By honoring the New Orleans tradition of “playing it forward” from the earliest jazz legends onward, the foundation seeks to preserve and perpetuate the musical heritage of a city where music is everything. Experienced and professional teachers, tutors, and mentors support every student in the pursuit of a well-rounded understanding of New Orleans’ musical traditions, experience in music performance, reading, writing, and now, even business, and the social and academic skills they need to make noise wherever they go – in music and in life.