Major Lazer will be the first major U.S. act to perform in Cuba since the island nation and America began restoring diplomatic ties, Billboard reports.
Diplo’s genre-bending DJ group will play a free concert hosted by the Musicabana Foundation in Havana on March 6th at Tribuna José Martí. The plaza — officially dubbed the “José Martí Anti-Imperialist Platform” — sits in front of the recently rechristened U.S. embassy and hosted an outdoor concert by Audioslave in 2005.
The Major Lazer gig preempts the American and Cuban-produced Musicabana festival, which will run May 5th through 8th in Havana. The lineup boasts an array of Cuban musicians, as well as performers from around the globe including Jamaica’s Sean Paul, Brazil’s Carlinhos Brown and French-Cuban duo Ibeyi.
Major Lazer will also meet with Cuban music students and aspiring DJs, who will take the stage with the group as well. In a statement, Diplo — who confirmed the performance on his Twitter — spoke about how Cuban culture has influenced his own musical development.
“Cuba has such a powerful cultural impact all over the world and for me, especially growing up in Florida, it became one of the biggest cultural centers for music to evolve from,” he said. “I was lucky enough to visit Cuba a few years back with my friends Calle 13 and during my four days there my mind was blown by the people, depth of culture and their way of life.”
President Barack Obama announced an easing of the strict Kennedy-era embargo on Cuba in December 2014, allowing citizens to freely travel and, eventually, trade with those in the country. While Major Lazer’s upcoming performance marks a major milestone in this new era of cultural exchange between the two nations, it follows an opening salvo fired by Conan O’Brien, who took his late-night show to Cuba last spring.