"The show starts at 10," Claudio told us the night we arrived in the remote beachfront town of Gibara in northeastern Cuba. We were on the hunt for Cuban music, and for a week, we'd been told a show would start at a certain time, only to spend hours idling in empty venues, watching the sound guys set up and waiting for the band to arrive. So I asked Claudio if 10 meant 10, or if it actually meant midnight. Claudio, a good friend of the band we'd come to see, hesitated and smiled: "Let's say 11."

The clock on

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