RAVES & RANTS: CUBA: commercial free radio with the best music you will ever hear on your APPLE device

Have you ever wanted music without commercial interruptions? Go to CUBA and if you cannot go there, bring CUBAN Radio to your iPod, iPad or iTouch.

I will explain how you can put outstanding music on your APPLE device and it is completely commercial free.


First, go to the Apple store on your Apple device. Find, download and install the TUNEIN Radio app.

Next, open the app and in the search box type “CUBA.” The screen will be populated with a small number of radio stations that broadcast from CUBA. The one you want is the one which has “La Habana” in its title.

This radio station’s proper name is Radio Enciclopedia and it plays mostly instrumental, easy listening music 24/7. This station plays instrumental light jazz almost all day long. In the evening, it usually broadcasts with a  special theme for each show, maybe art, or literature, history or sculpture or some romantic writer. And there is no sociological or political bias. They “take” their music from every part of the world and revise it playing it the CUBAN way, with background rhythmic beats from bongo drums or conga sticks. Haunting, mesmerizing, magnetic melodies that will accompany you as you work or relax.

The announcer will punctuate the beginning or end of each lengthy series of songs with a very short Spanish commentary relating to the topic of that night’s show. The Spanish is so beautifully spoken it sounds nearly as good as the music and is nearly as captivating.

The melodies broadcast each night are easily recognized by any North American listener as they usually are well known pieces of music: show tunes, movie themes or well-known melodies played everywhere on commercial driven radio in Canada and the USA. Hits from Broadway shows: Cabaret, New York New York, Hair, Chicago, and other shows. Then easily recognized works composed by ABBA, the BEATLES, the STONES…teasers leading to other greats sounds as created by Santana, Hendrix and Coltrane. That should be enough but they bring in the Cuban jazz greats too: Tito Puente, Ignacio Cervantes, Jose Luis Cortes and Jose Miguel Castro. It simply is the finest listening radio I have ever heard.


Ever hear of Jane Bunnett, look her up. A Canadian musician who is the Queen of CUBAN jazz. Bunnett has been going to CUBA for years, working with the musicians there, developing their skills and supporting their outstanding talents. Bunnett takes youngsters and helps them polish their skills, sometimes even bringing them back to Canada to showcase them as she plays in some Canadian nightclub.

Radio Enciclopedia showcases what CUBAN musicians can do with well known music. They embellish it endlessly, make it sound better, add colour to it and make it more listenable. You won’t be able to turn it off once you get hooked.


Every night from 11 till midnight, Radio Enciclopedia broadcasts a special hour of music dedicated to a very narrow theme, the romance poetry of some English poet, the literary genius of Dante Alighieri or even a great American author such as Sinclair or Hemingway. The announcer’s flowing Spanish dialogues are a irresistible magnetic siren. She speaks in such a smooth, gently flowing way that her vocalization becomes a haunting melody itself. You will love her educational interruptions wishing they lasted longer. But she recognizes, the show is music and it plays on.

And always with no commercial interruptions!


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