This week, there’s no need for music fans to stray too far from the cultural, working class heart of Miami, Little Havana. For decades, the area was just another one of the city's quirky neighborhoods that, along with so many of our boroughs, sported a rich and unique personality all its own. In this case it’s a very, very Cuban personality: boisterous, busy, and hankering for some dominoes and a cafecito before work, before school, or really, at any time.
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Recently, however, thanks to a massive real estate development boom, there’s been an artistic and nightlife renaissance in Little Havana rivaling that of Wynwood. No longer is the annual Calle Ocho festival the primary reason to venture to Southwest Eighth Street for a party. At the epicenter of it all is the historic Ball & Chain. The extensively renovated music venue boasts a lively atmosphere every single night of the week, and this coming weekend, it's hosting a quartet of topnotch artists in a variety of genres. On Thursday night, the popular Little Havana Under the Stars series features live salsa by Rich Port Sound (and free salsa classes for any left-footed Hispanics). Saturday night closes out a busy three-day music bender with Tito Puente, Jr., son of the late, great mambo king, proudly carrying on his father’s legacy with energy and style.
But Friday is not to be missed. Ball & Chain will host a pair of headliners in Kevin Mahogany, a smooth and silky jazz vocalist, and acclaimed local Latin rockers Suénalo, three-time Miami New Times Best Of award winners.
Kevin Mahogany. 6 p.m. Friday, July 15, at Ball & Chain, 1513 SW 8th St., Miami; 305-643-7820; ballandchainmiami.com. Admission is free; ages 21 and up.