Like so many foreigners before her, Beyoncé was seduced by Cuban music in Havana during her recent three-day trip with Jay-Z, who apparently enjoyed the flavor of a real Cuban cigar. In this video posted on YouTube, Beyoncé dances during a private performance for the couple by singer Haila Mompié, whose voice has often been compared to that of Celia Cruz. According to the Cuban press, Beyoncé broke into a smile at a concert for the couple by the children's theater group La Colmenita, when the children performed "Single Ladies" arranged to Cuban dance rhythms.
"I never imagined that I would be the one to sing for the great international American stars: Beyoncé and Jay-Z," Haila Mompié said on Facebook. "You can't imagine the emotion I felt being able to give my humble voice to those two greats. It was like a dream…" The singer, a former vocalist of the group Bamboleo who has toured the U.S., wrote on Facebook that several weeks ago she had been booked for a "private reception," but was told only that her audience would be "A married couple coming from the United States to celebrate their anniversary."
Juana Bacallao, a legendary cabaret singer, once a star of the pre-revolutionary Club Tropicana, also performed for the couple. Beyoncé kissed the hand of the famously Cuban diva, who is in her 90s.
According to sources in Havana, a private show at the club in the Melia Cohiba hotel featured La Charanga Habanera, a popular dance band in the aggressive polyrhythmic timba style, known for provocative lyrics and nasty dance moves that in the past had them suspended from Cuban venues and censored from state television.
The Carters also took in a performance by the Danza Contemporánea de Cuba dance company.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z, of course, were the entertainment for Havana residents last week. The were constantly followed by crowds of people as they walked through Old Havana from the Hotel Saratoga.
The trip has since come under fire from U.S. lawmakers. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republicans of South Florida, have demanded to know whether the Treasury Department gave the Carters clearance to make the visit to the Communist nation. A long-term embargo effectively bans American tourists from visiting Cuba without special government permission. The couple have so far not commented on the uproar.