Transformation Artist with wide vocal range –
Shaman from Santéria: Roots of Yoruba Tribe, WestAfrica
Latin-Funk Caribbean Pop-Jazz Electro

CD “My Own Free Way” by 9/2015

  1. Transformations
    Mix of Cabarett, Latin-Disco, Oper, own compositions

    Line-up: Michael Ritter: Gitarre, Backvoc, MusicDirector; Justo Perez: Flute, Backvoc + Ricardo Moreno: Percussion, Backvoc; Oliver Lepinat: Piano

  2. Caravan of Gods – Fertility Gods
    African Roots Performance with poetry, flute, guitar,diverse ritual percussion instruments:
    Line-up: Micha Ritter, Miguel Lagos, Damian Blanco, Ricardo Moreno, Angel Condeaux, Justo Perez

  3. Canto Negro
    Afro-Blues, Jazz, Electro, Funk
    Art Songs, AfroLatino Folkore, Pregones, Ritual Chants:
    Line-up: Micha Ritter/guit, Miguel Lagos/drums, electro/,
    Damian Blanco/backvoc, perc., Ricardo Moreno/perc.
  4. Pa’Égùn
    Hommage to the Ancestors – Performance original
    compositions, reflecting the African Diaspora, classical, Afro-Cuban Ritual Music, Chants, Electro-Beatz
  5. Mezcla Tropical
    Latino-Show from Spain, Cuba and Brazil, Standard Animation Tunes, Latin Pop Rock, Funk, Disco Beatz :
    Line-Up: Micha Ritter, Alejandro Marulanda Gomez, Miguel Lagos, Damian Blanco, Justo Perez Dance: Odalys Galvez, Sally Wismer
  6. Tropical Mix
    Erotic Cabaret, Latin Disco, Entertainment Show with Travestie and dancers
  7. Rhapsodia Pa’ Égùn – Celebration of Life
    World Music Opera Projekt (w.i.p.) Electronic Urban Sounds, Pop Rock, Jazz, Classical + Traditional Ritual Music. A transatlantic family journey with libretto and music from Bernhard P. Beutler + Joaquin la Habana, based on Poems from Sugar de Santo.
  8. Duo: Joaquín La Habana & Michael Ritter /guit
    Afrocuban Chanting & Dance, Blues, Rock, spanish + latinamerican songs + own compositions

His artistic creations stand for the synthesis of tradition and avantgard. An important part of his presentation is to challenge the boundaries that have been established and encourages a flexibility and fluidity between categories that we construct as a society. To do this, JOAQUíN LA HABANA uses his extensive experience of education in contemporary dance, ballet, theatre and song, merging with the centuries long tradition of Santería-Shamanism, whose culture forms the spiritual basis for him.

Original West African traditions are linked with spiritual rituals and Cuban theatre, connecting the dualities of the sexes with the gods’ androgynous characteristics. From the metamorphoses of the cosmic powers arise the four elements that constitute the components of his modern performance art.
Spirituality and rationality, archaic and postmodern, soul and matter, life and afterlife, they all unfold and unify. The sensuousness of expression opens new ways for the audience to percieve reality.

In the visual arts he presents a vivacious spectrum of dance, ballet, opera, operetta, musical, theatre, Cuban folklore and religious rituals. Simultaneously, Joaquín depicts and performs the different arts and roles through song and dance, he quickly changes gender roles by changing voice timbre from baritone to mezzo-soprano, and mixes ritual music of archaic cultures with classical church music like Händel or Bach with Latin, jazz, funk and rock. Every performance act is an aspect of Joaquín’s artistic facets, not determined by boundaries, with an open heart and mind. This way of performing makes every act different, every show unique, special and tailored for his audience and is spontaneously adjusted according to the reaction of the audience..

With his artistic range of performances, costumes and voices, Joaquín depicts certain truths, but on the other hand, he pushes the boundaries, creates new ones, and implants images and inspirations to awaken new ideas.
Joaquín’s presentation of spirituality is not depicted solely as a strict religious majesty of monotheistic priests, but instead her uses religious elements that facilitate an act of liberation which the artist conveys through interaction with the audience. Every spiritual and esoteric element emphasises duality and androgenity, resulting in the creation and exploration of an undefinable inner-god.

In this sense, the theatre is turned into a place where rituals are performed, now taken out from its original context and put in a modern situation, for an immediacy with the audience. In this theatre are represented different continents, religions and cultures brought together and unified. The spectator is led on a journey to the inner self through modern entertainment and its rationalized world to the irrational metaphysical realization of the present moment.

The costumes have an important role in performances, the painted African bushmen, the apparel of priests and the wooden masks often appear in his shows. The different patterns, forms and colours, is a metaphor of the world over time and space, the body’s movements, mirrors the journey through these different dimensions.

The diverse costumes represent certain deities. Some costumes cover the whole body, giving him a more abstract, sexless character. This emphasis on colours and shapes is also an attempt to reach a neutral body, connecting the patriarchal and matriarchal structure of the archaic religions abolishing their contrasts.

JOAQUíN LA HABANA’s current project is the opera Rhapsodia Pa’ Ègún – Hommage to the Ancestors. Thematically it is based on the poem “Schwarze Erinnerungen” (“Black Memories”) from Mark Bauch and sensualizes the Tribute to the ancestors. The Iroko – called Baobab in West Africa – is in the middle of the stage a tree where the death meets. The main aspect in this one-man-opera is to overlap the older religions’ time and space with that of the modern. The connection is being effected by bringing electronic music as well as classical, jazz, hip-hop and reggae- ton-beats, also incorporating the specific religions traditional music instruments such as drums, marimba (from Zimbabwe), cello, flute, and Tibetan gong.

In his workshops, Joaquín takes us on a “spiritual trip” of exploration and self-creation. He shows us to what extent a person can understand his or her human character by connecting the emotions and rational dimensions with a reflection of the spiritual.  The four-element-system or the ancient mythologies. The different energies of active-passive, male-female and how they join in one organism. Every single element is depicted and felt separately through certain. The leading questions are for example; “What is water and how do I sense it in my body?” “How does it depict itself for me as an individual and what does this feeling mean to me?”. Another question developed from this is what element is more attractive to what personality.
The dance is lead by the percussion which is enriched and generated from electric sound-effects. The union of sound, rhythm and movements generates new experiences with emotions, making you feel as apart of the objects, the communication and the world, intensifying the experience of being.

A further part of the workshop is the play with masks and costumes that serves the free roll-switching and the creative self-staging. The goal is to break old traditional barriers, to experience new “I-boundaries”, mirror your inner self for observation and exploration.  Joaquín puts a great emphasis on the free and experimental development of every participant: Every person should find out after his/her age and temperament an individual personality nuances and goals and act out them out. Whether the result is inner calm or a fiery and explorative urge, the choice is in every individual to take.


JOAQUíN LA HABANA REYES was born in Cuba in August 1952, into a musical family. Joaquín’s aunt is singer OLGA RIVERO and his cousin is the percussionist “PATATO VALDES”, and through their international recordings became famous beyond the borders of Cuba. Following a competition in Cuba age 12 , he got a scholarship for the public art school San Alejandro, Havana, to study painting, sculpting and ceramics. In 1966 Joaquín settled in USA where he graduated from high school. Three years later, in 1969, he studies music, dance and avant-garde theatre at the conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He was the guest choreographer of the experimental Cambridge-Dance-Theatre in Loeb Drama Center at Harvard University, USA.
Joaquín has also worked with different chamber opera ensembles at renowned universities such as Harvard University, Radcliffe, New England School of Art, North-Eastern University and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Between the years 1967-1971 he studied modern dance, Afro-hindu dance, Afro-Haiti dance in the Dance Circle of Boston and in the Elmer Lewis Afro-American Dance Centre with renowned teachers such as James Truitti, Geoffrey Holder, Talley Batty, Charles Moore and Eugene Compson.

After the move to New York in autumn 1971, La Habana specialized in multimedia performance. The teachers of this new theatre direction are pioneers of this field – MERCE CUNNINGHAM and ALWIN NIKOLAIS. His got his training in modern dance and jazz dance at studios of teachers like JOSÉ LIMON, PHIL BLACK, LUIGI. Under ALVIN AILEY he studied the technique of Horton and Cath Serine Dunham. As well as dance, he studied singing in New York by the famous teacher of art songs LYDIA DE RIVIERA and he became familiar with a wide repertoire of Cuban art songs and operetta-vocals as well as Spanish Zarzuela.
Religiously Joaquín La Habana originates from the Yoruba-community. He is initiated in the Santero (Oshun-Priests) and was instrumental in the direction of Folklore and contemporary dance in the mid 80s in Havana, Cuba, with the ENA (National Art School), the “Conjunto Folclórico Nacional” and “Cuba Danza”.

In the years between 1971 and 1981 Joaquín La Habana performed in many bilingual productions (Spanish-English). Among that he was in different “Off Broadway” theatres: La Mama ETC, WPA THR, Actor’s Studio. Finally he made a jump to BROADWAY where he performed with IRENE CARA in “Gotta go Disco”.
Joaquín has appeared in films, such as “THE BRONX” (with Paul Newman) and the musical “HAIR” and “THE WIZ” (with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross). During this time he had also a role in the dance-ensemble Le Clique Fantasie Follies” in the TOM JONES SHOW at Cesars Palace, Las Vegas.

In 1981 Joaquín moved to Berlin and began a series of shows in the Carribean, Canada and all over Europe, where he performs art songs and Cuban Folklore. These were to be heard on theatre stages, in radio, TV and in movies. Since this time, he made numerous of co operations with Rosa von Praunheim, for example “Stadt der verlorenen Seelen”, 1981.
In 1986 Joaquín organized the first “FESTIVAL KUBANISCHER KULTUR” (Festival of Cuban Culture) at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. This festival was a start of an intensive co-operation with ELENA GARCÍA (soloist of the “Conjunto Folklórico), whom he invited as a choreographer and solodancer and later co-founded the group IROKO (contemporary Afro-Cuban dance theatre) in Miami, Florida. With this production they went on a tour to Argentina, Germany, Spain and USA. Parallel to his work in the theatre and in film, he studied the African culture and its artistic expressions by masters in this field: KOFFI KOKO (Rep. Benin) and GERMAINE ACOGNY (Senegal). Joaquín made collaborations with MAYMONA SUMBÚ (Guinea Bissau), PARANA BOMFIM (Brazil), MURAH SOARES (Brazil) and ELISE PINTO (Brazil).

  • 1986 ‘Fest der Freundschaft’, co-production in exchange of the Technische Universität (TU) Berlin, Germany and Alicante University, Spain. Choreographer and headliner.
  • 1987 ‘Caravan of Gods’ (Afro-cuban Ritual Images). The Helsinki Academy of Visual Arts, Helsinki, Finland. By and with Joaquin La Habana.
  • 1988 ‘Kuopio Tanssii Ja Soi’ (International music- and dance festival, Finland). Choreography: ‘Karawane der Götter’
  • 1989 Multi-media performances together with the painter Sanna Karisson
  • 1989 his production “Caravan of Gods” was performed first in the Cinema-Helsinki-Theatre.
  • 1990 Muury Avant Gard Center, Helsinki, finnland Choreographie: ‘The tree of Life’ (‘Der Lebensbaum’)
  • 1990 he worked together with the Nigerian culture situated in Berlin – and performance theatre in Berlin and Nigeria.,
  • 1990 his play ‘Caravan of the Gods’ was performed on the International Modern-Dance-Festival
    ‘Cuba Danza’ in the Teatro Nacional in Havana, Cuba.
  • 1991 ‘Oshon Festival’ in Oshogbo, Nigeria
  • 1991 he created a transformation show for the Sommertheater Stuttgart which was unique, live and sung with various voices.
  • 1992 he attended a further training in the “Escuela Nacional de Arte” in Cuba.
  • 1993 Statthaus Böcklerpark, Berlin /Germany, guest of the Yoruba dance and theatre group ‘Ojiji Aparo’, ‘Cuba Danza’, Laboratorio International de Taller Coreográfico with Ramiro Guerra, La Habana, Cuba choreography: ‘Caravane de Dioses’
  • 1993 he founded his own dance theatre “IROKO” in Miami Florida together with Elena Garcia.
    After that he had some shows in Argentina and was seen in several TV shows.
  • 1994 he played the guest star roles of ‘Chantal’ and of ‘Mr Renaud’ in the Dick Price production by ‘Cage aux folles’ at the Landestheater Linz in Austria.
  • 1995 he worked for dance ensembles and for folkloric groups for the ’Werkstatt der Kulturen’ (workshop of cultures) and for the ‘Haus der Kulturen der Welt’ (house of the world`s cultures), Berlin.
  • 1996 he produced his maxi-single CD ‘Bésame mucho’ (in the distribution of AIRAM-Records-Germany) with the music band ‘Latin Spektrum’ , and appeared with the group at the Latin music days in the ‘Werkstatt der Kulturen’ and ‘UFA-Fabrik’ in Berlin. He also performed with the group ‘Sontrobon’ on the festival ‘Música Vitale’ in the ‘Werkstatt der Kulturen’ in Berlin.
  • Since 1996 he has been taking part with his own production and choreography for the “JOAQUIN LA HABANA’s CARNIVAL ENSEMBLE” with around 60 participants in the “Karneval der Kulturen” in Berlin.
  • 1996 to 2001 Joaquin La Habana is engaged as headliner and presenter in three different productions in the revue theatre ‘La vie en Rose’, Berlin.
  • 1996-1998 he appeared on the ‘Fest der Farben’, congress hall, Berlin, Alexanderplatz, with the program ‘Fantasia Cubana’ with HAVANA DANCE GIRLS & TROPIGALA DANCERS managed by Joaquin La Habana. He took part at the Latin Music Days in Berlin with the group “Latin Spektrum” and at “Musica Vitale”, Wekstatt der Kulturen, Berlin with the group “Son Trombón”.
  • May 1998 he took part in the ‘FEST DER NATIONEN’ in Berlin with the program ‘Fantasia Cubana’.
  • April 1999 La Habana performed in’riesa efau’, Dresden with his play ‘Cubanische Rhapsodie’, a scenic concert with dance, singing and play.
  • July 1999 La Habana appeared with “Cubanische Rhapsodie” in Theatre of Meissen with stories, chansons and dances from Cuba.
  • Dec. 1999 religious installing for the holy Barbara – canticles for Changó and performance with the Cubanic music theatre group ‘Raices’ in the Naturkundevölkermuseum Dahlem, Berlin on the ‘Markt der Kontinente’, Afro-America exhibition as well as guest performer of the group ‘Egungun/Adeika’, mask dances, from Nigeria on the Markt der Kontinente (market of the continents).
  • Dec 1999 configuration of the ‘Fiesta Cubana’, new years party, at the ‘Haus der Kulturen der Welt’, Berlin and performance with the ‘Tropicana Show’.
  • June 2000 ‘Ritual-Performances’ on the festival ‘Sommernachtstraum’ on castle Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt (a play for the forefathers with African, North-indian and Indian elements).
  • June 2000 ‘Hommage an Tropicana’, one-man revue music theatre on the ‘Elbhang Fest’, artist house – court Cuban night, Dresden.
  • Sept. 2000 guest singer of the group ‘Phoenix’ at the music night for human rights in ‘Kultursaal Petersburg’ Erfurt.
  • Oct. 2000 EXPO 2000, La Habana took part in the international good-bye-parade through the organisation of the ‘Karneval der Kulturen’, Berlin.
  • Dec. 2000 guest singer in SHARIFA`s ensemble ‘The High Priestess of Jazz’ in the Volkspark Theatre, Halle.
  • June, July 2001 he was an assistant director and decoration for the episode’Havanna Dream’ from the ZDF
    TV series ‘Stubbe – Von Fall zu Fall’.
  • Aug. 2001 he did a solo performance in the Afro-Caribbean program “Goldenes Ritual für die Orishas Götter” within the exhibition “Religiöser Synkretismus aus der Karibik und aus Brasilien” of the artists. Mayanín Villamediana in the ICBRA (Brazilian Culture Institute in Germany), Berlin.
  • Oct. 2001 „Serenata Cubana“ , a musical trip through Cubas saloons and theatres of the XIX. and XX. centuries, Bellevue, Berlin
  • Dec. 2001 AFRO CUBAN NIGHT, Religious dance-performances in MoKATO, Berlin
  • Jan, 2002 „Fertility Gods“, ritual dance-theatre , Kulturbrauerei, Kesselhaus Berlin
  • Mar. 2002 „Passage“, Ritual music-poetry dance-theatre (West Africa, East Europa to India, North America (Indianer) Project of the “europäische Kulturbundes”
  • Mai 2002 Collaboration as choreograph + dancer/singer in Glogow, Wroclaw, Polen
    Lorenzkirche Erfurt, Germany.
  • Jul. 2002 „Festival Latino Americano“ in Kulturzentrum Kesselberg, e.V., Berlin
  • Musictheatre „Serenata Cubana“ and „Dioses de la Fertilidad“ („Fruchtbarkeitsgötter“), Dance- drum Performance
  • Sept. 2002 „Serenata Cubana“, Teehaus in Englischen Garten, Berlin
  • Oct. 2003 „Serenata Cubana“ Casa de la Cultura de San Miguel del Padrón, La Habana
  • Jan. 2003 „Dioses de la fertilidad“, Casa de la Cultura de San Miguel del Padrón
    La Habana/Kuba Choreography and staging „Panorama kubanischer Kultur“ fort he Cuban embassy, Berlin, at the Iberoamerikanischen Institute, Berlin for the 150. Geburtstages of José Martí
  • Apr./ 2003 Gueastsinger and –dancer at „Son Caribe“ for „Karibischen Kulturtagen“, Rathaus Köpenick, Berlin
  • Aug./ 2003 Creative director, Choreographiy, dancer singer at the „Cuba-Party“, Märkisches Zentrum, Berlin
    Springtime Fitness & Dance Studio. Dance workshop in the set ‚Living Legends‘ for Contemporary Ritual Dance Theatre und Gastdozent for ICAT
  • Mai/ 2004 Participant with “Joaquín Carneval Ensemble“ (60 Pers.) Karneval der Kulturen, Berlin
    Involvement in the Firma Henn Promotion–Music Events as dancer and singer.
  • June 2004 Participant with his own show and traditional dance cultures „Bewegte Welten“, Neukölln, Berlin
  • July 2004 Participant at the Galashow fort the opening of the renovated Olympia-Stadions in Berlin with his own Cuban dance ensemble, with whom he performs since 1997 at Karneval der Kulturen (Berlin)
    Participant at ZDF Garten Show with Roberto Blanco, Captain Jack, Carmen Zapata.
  • Aug. 2004 Fest der Kontinente‘, Märkisches Zentrum Berlin, Participant with own Show, big Ensemble 70 Persons
  • Oct. 2004 Solo at the gala celebration of 10 year of Werkstatt der Kulturen, Berlin Kulturhaus Kammerspiel Kleinmachnow, „Serenata Cubana“
  • Dec. 2004 Sylvestershow at the big stage on Brandenburger Tor, Berlin
  • March 2005 Kulturforum Hellersdorf „Serenata Cubana“
  • Mai 2005 Participant with “Joaquín Carneval Ensemble“ (60 Pers.) at the Karneval der Kulturen, Berlin
  • June 2005 Participant with his own Show and Ensemble at the party for modern and traditional dance cultures „Bewegte Welten“, Neukölln, Berlin
    Participant with own Show b. OBERBAUM BRÜCKENFEST, Berlin
  • Aug. 2005 IFA Berlin, Sommergarten, Show International Summerhits“ with Henn-Promotion‚ Fest der Kontinente‘, Märkisches Zentrum (Berlin), Participant with his own Ensemble (15 Persons) Teehaus in Englischen Garten, Berlin, cooperation (song and dance) with cuban-german. Music-Ensemble Son-Trombón
  • Dec. 2005 Sylvestershows at Brandenburger Tor and Hilton Hotel, Berlin
    March- May Engagement in Revuetheater „La Vie en Rose“ and Hotel Mercure, Berlin Tegel, with his own Show „Varieté Tropicana – Cubanísimo Show“
  • April 2006 Baumblütenfest in Werder/Havel, with the World Music Company with Henn-Promotion, Berlin artistic concept, direction and performance for the Cuba-Libre Party in the legendary Postbahnhof at Ostbahnhof, Berlin, for Piranha-Event GmbH
  • Mai 2006 Karneval der Kulturen‘, Participant with cooperation with Jugendzentrum
    Neukölln, Berlin, with own Ensemble of 20 person-performance, Cubanísimo on the Straßenfest der Karneval d. Kulturen, Barrio Latino Bühne, Concept for experimental, ritual dance theatre, own Vocal-Dance Performance „Der Flug der Bronze –schwarze Erinnerung“ in collaboration with Mark Bauch, german poet, and Alberto Lescay, Maler and Cuba, in Kulturzentrum Adlershof –Galerie Alte Schule, Berlin in cooperation with the Cuban embassy.
  • June 2006 Participant with own Show and Ensemble at the Fest of modern and traditional dance-cultures „Bewegte Welten“, Neukölln, Berlin
  • July 2006 Different performances at the World Cup at the Fanmeile Berlin, Brandenburger Tor with World Music Company, Henn-Promotion Soloshow ‚Christopher Street Day‘ and Tropical-Show with two dancers, Nollendorfplatz Berlin
  • Aug. 2006 Bürgerhaus Grünau b. Berlin „Serenata Cubana“, promoted through the Bezirksamt Treptow-Köpenick, Berlin, in the frames of the event cultures of foreign people and countries, Cubanísimo Show in the Kulturboulevard „Das Schloss, Steglitz, Berlin IFA, Berlin, Sommergarten, participant at Music World Company and participant at the Show „Star-Treff“
  • Oct. 2006 Tag der Deutschen Einheit, Show at Brandenburger Tor with the World Music Company
  • Feb. 2008 Berlinale Filmpremiere „Tote Schwule und lebende Lesben“ and in connection with the performance at the Premierengala von Rosa v. Praunheim, Berlin.
  • Dec. 2008 Finale at the Coca-Cola Christmas-Tour: Event at the Siegessäule in Berlin among others with the „Söhnen Mannheims“, Opening Act, Singer, and dancer.
    50 Jahre Revolution in Kuba: Silvesterparty Freundschaftsgesellschaft Berlin–Kuba: Tempodrom, Haupt-Act with own Revue-Tanz-Ensemble.
  • Sept. 2009 Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin: The Spirit of the House
  • May 2010 Opening of Carneval of Cultures – Karneval der Kulturen – Berlin, Farafina-stage
  • 2011 Sharq Taronalari, UNESCO-Festival in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
  • 2012 Jazzsommer Berlin, Bergmann-Festival
    GAY – NOT GREY, Berliner Schwulenberatung
    MIRIAM MAKEBA MEM, opener with his new song and performance MAMA AFRICA
  • 2013 “JOAQUÍN LA HABANA – LivingBetweenWorlds”, film by Bernhard P.Beutler,
    AHOI at BabelmedMusic, expo in Marseille, France
    Re-opening of “Schwules Museum” with the Mayor of Berlin: Klaus Wowereit


  • 1987 dance institute ‚Transsivinti’, Helsinki, Finland
  • 1986-88 guest lecturer in ‚Die Etage’, Berlin, Germany
  • 1987 HDK, High School of Art, theatre faculty, Berlin
  • 1990 University von Ibadan, Theatre Faculty, Nigeria, Africa
  • 1993 dance workshops together with Elena García
    and the group IROKO, Rosario, Argentina und Miami, USA
  • 2013 with Murah Soares in FORUM BRASIL, Berlin